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First-Year Resources

Exploring the Evidence: Reporting Research on Peer Education Programs
An Online Archive of Campus-Based Research Reports

View Collection of Cases
Call for Contributions
Submission Guidelines

Introduction
While educators and researchers typically agree that peers are a valuable source of social and academic support for new college students, little published research exists to substantiate this claim. The work that has been done in this area tends to focus on the impact of peer educators on the students served rather than the peers themselves.

Several years ago, the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition set out to fill this gap in the literature by soliciting and collecting research-based descriptions of peer educator programs. We received few responses to our call, suggesting that much more work needs to be done in this area.

However, we are happy to be able to present five cases from a range of different educational institutions using peer educators in a variety of different settings-first-year seminars, diversity education, orientation, support programs for at-risk students, and Supplemental Instruction. We hope that this collection will provide a valuable resource for educators designing and managing peer programs. More importantly, we hope that it will inspire educators to design research and assessment studies of peer programs that will provide insight into how peers shape the college experience for new students and how their work with new students shapes their own educational experiences, learning, and development.

Special thanks to Nina L. Glisson, Assistant Director for Conferences and Continuing Education, who collected and edited this initial set of contributions.

Collection of Cases

Initiative Institution Date Posted Download PDF
Freshman Seminar and Peer Leaders Appalachian State University April 2009
Student Diversity Advocates Bryant University April 2009
Panther Camp Florida International University April 2009
The Supplemental Instruction Program University of South Carolina April 2009
The Texas Interdisciplinary Plan Mentor Academy The University of Texas at Austin April 2009
University Ambassador Program University of South Carolina June 2012

Call for Contributions
We invite you to help us expand the available resources on peer educators by including a description of your initiative in this online collection. If your institution has an assessed peer educator program that has a history of two years or more, we encourage you to submit a description of your program for consideration. Because we are interested in identifying a wide range of uses for peer educators, programs may include those connected to enrollment, orientation, advising, residence life, academic support, health and wellness, service-learning or community service, first-year seminars or other undergraduate courses, minority student support services, or campus activities. This list is not exhaustive, and we welcome descriptions of assessed peer educator programs that fall outside those areas listed above. We are interested in the objectives and structure of the program, how it has been assessed, what was learned, and how the assessment results have been used to improve the service provided to new students.

Submissions are accepted twice each year: December 1 and June 1. Submissions received by December 1 and accepted for publication will be posted to the web by April 15, and those received by June 1 and accepted for publication will be posted to the web by October 15. Click here to download submission guidelines.

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