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Peer Leader Program Overview

Statement of Purpose:  The purpose of the University 101 Peer Leader Program is to aid in the successful transition of new students to the University of South Carolina by connecting them with upper-division and graduate students who serve as a role model, mentor, and resource, and to optimize the engagement, satisfaction, and leadership development of peer leaders. 

Learning Outcomes 
As a result of having a peer leader in the University 101 classroom, students will:

  • Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience. 
  • Develop a connection with the Carolina community and establish a sense of belonging.
  • Participate in the Spring Orientation and half-day training workshop prior to service in the fall.
  • Articulate and apply appropriate behaviors inside and outside the classroom.
  • Have a valuable University 101 experience. 
  • Make a successful transition to the University of South Carolina.

As a result of serving as a University 101 Peer Leader, students will:

  • Develop and articulate transferrable skills appropriate to their personal and professional goals.
  • Enhance their communication and facilitation skills.
  • Identify personal leadership styles and strengths.
  • Establish positive relationships with students, staff, and faculty.

A University 101 Peer Leader is:

  • An active and involved member of the Carolina community
  • Confident in their ability to lead others
  • Dedicated to helping others succeed
  • Appropriately assertive
  • Able to think on their feet
  • Able to speak in front of a classroom of peers
  • Comfortable leading difficult conversations
  • Prideful in the University of South Carolina
  • A model of the Carolinian Creed

Mentor/ Role Model
Peer leaders model appropriate behavior both inside and outside the classroom and help new students’ transition to the university.  Peer leaders fulfill these roles by:

  • Being approachable and available to students
  • Upholding the tenets of the Carolinian Creed
  • Modeling an appropriate balance between academics and involvement
  • Helping students engage in healthy and responsible decision making
  • Creating and maintaining an appropriate professional relationship with students
  • Demonstrating empathy toward students’ needs and problems
  • Setting an example of what a successful student looks like (having a positive attitude, regularly attending class, actively participating in class activities and discussion)

Resource
Peer leaders serve as a resource to their instructor, students, and peers by:

  • Connecting students to resources on campus
  • Providing the peer perspective on what it means to be a Carolinian
  • Promoting the relationship between students and instructor (provide feedback/ input on assignments and lessons/ be the eyes and ears for the instructor on what’s going on with your students)
  • Supporting other peer leaders through their experience (sharing ideas, working through problems, actively participating in EDLP) 

Facilitator for learning
Peer leaders supplement and enhance the instruction of the course by:

  • Contributing to the design of the course syllabus by providing suggestions for topics, presentations, sequencing and course assignments
  • Building community within the classroom
  • Facilitating class discussions (topics: healthy decision making (alcohol & drugs), Carolina history and traditions)
  • Encouraging reflection and growth (journals)
  • Leading meaningful and engaging class activities (implementing active learning strategies, scheduling presentations/ guest speakers, planning out of class activities/ trips)

Requirements
All University 101 Peer Leaders must:

  • Attend all University 101 classes
  • Be open and accessible to regular meetings and communication with their co-instructor beginning the spring prior to service and extending throughout the semester of service
  • Complete a half-day spring orientation and a half-day fall training workshop prior to service
  • Attend one Syllabus Preparation & Team-Building Workshop with their co-instructor
  • Attend the First-Year Reading Experience and co-facilitate an intellectual conversation highlighting the key themes of the required summer reading with their UNIV 101 class
  • Enroll in a three-credit Educational Leadership and Policies course, EDLP 520: The Teacher as Manager, the fall during which they serve

EDLP 520 is a unique class designed to provide a forum for the evaluation, reflection and processing of the University 101 Peer Leader experience. Discussion will revolve around such topics as teaching techniques, classroom management strategies, student development theories, lesson plan development, and other related issues. It might be useful to consider the approximately 40 contact hours in the University 101 class as a lab or practicum, with the meetings of EDLP 520 as a discussion/seminar class.