Information for Faculty
Tutors at Peer Connections guide students to understand course concepts and develop the strategies and skills they need to be successful in their courses and academic pursuits. Students may schedule appointments with tutors or come in for same-day appointments. (Note that same-day appointments are not available for all subjects at all times. Students can check the Peer Connections tutor schedule in order to determine the best times to come in for tutoring.)
Mentors at Peer Connections serve as guides to the university experience, supporting and empowering all SJSU students during their academic and social adjustment to SJSU. They can assist students with challenges ranging from study strategies to roommate difficulties - students can talk to a Peer Mentor about any challenge they may be facing. Peer Mentors are trained to refer students to other campus resources if needed.
How can I verify that a student has met with a peer educator?
To protect the privacy and confidentiality of student records, peer educators and Peer Connections staff do not discuss the services that individual students receive at the Center. If you would like proof that your students have met with a peer educator, ask your students to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request an electronic attendance report, which they can then submit to you.
What are Class Announcements and how can I schedule one?
Peer Educators are available to make class announcements during the first six weeks of the semester. These short presentations will inform you and your students about Peer Connections and our services. If you would like to request a class announcement, contact email@example.com with your name, the course and section number, class meeting times and days.
What are Peer Connections Workshops?
Peer Connections offers workshops on academic and life skills that help improve students' college careers. In our workshops, we engage students in learning and personal development. These workshops can be presented to your class upon request. View our available workshops and request a workshop!
Feel free to use the information below! We have two formats to choose from.
Peer Connections’ free tutoring, mentoring, supplemental instruction, and learning assistant programs are designed to assist you in the development of your full academic potential and to inspire you to become independent learners. Peer Connections tutors are trained to provide content-based tutoring in many lower division courses (some upper division) as well as writing and study skills assistance. Small group and individual tutoring are available. Peer Connections mentors are trained to provide support and resources in navigating the college experience. This support includes assistance in learning strategies and techniques on how to be a successful student. In addition, Peer Connections supplemental instruction (SI) leaders assist professors in select courses by running study groups and review sessions. Peer Connections learning assistants support faculty in the classroom by engaging students directly in various activities. Peer Connections also has a study space, desktop computers, and success workshops on a wide variety of topics. All services are virtually offered at this time. When it is safe to return, we will do so while continuing to offer the option for students to participate online or in-person. For more information on services, hours, locations, or a list of current workshops, please visit Peer Connections' website at http://peerconnections.sjsu.edu for more information.
Accessible and Brief Format:
Peer Connections is your campus-wide resource for mentoring (time management, note taking, study skills, getting involved, etc.), tutoring (undergraduate writing, lower division Math, Science, History, Humanities, etc.), supplemental instruction (review and study sessions for select courses), and learning assistants (support for interactive classrooms). Peer Connections also has a study space, desktop computers, and success workshops on a wide variety of topics. For more information on services, hours, locations, or a list of current workshops, please visit the website at http://peerconnections.sjsu.edu for more information.
Each semester, a group of faculty members are selected to work with assigned Peer Educators. There are three types of Peer Educators who can assist in the classroom: Peer Mentors, Embedded Tutors, and Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders.
Peer Mentors are trained student leaders who provide guidance and resources for first-year students to navigate the college experience personally and academically. The Peer Mentors partner with the Faculty Mentors in order to promote college success within and beyond the classroom environment.
Responsibilities of a Classroom Peer Mentor
- attend the assigned class weekly
- meet with the Faculty Mentor at least once per month
- meet with students in individual sessions for study strategies, personal support, or campus referrals
- facilitate in-class activities, icebreakers, or discussions
- facilitate educational workshops
Embedded tutors are tutors who attend assigned classes on a regular basis. In doing so, they get a full understanding of the content and the expectations of the instructors. The embedded tutor then holds “office hours” where students from the assigned classes can make tutoring appointments and get assistance from a peer who knows them and they know has a good grasp on the material.
Responsibilities of an Embedded Tutor
- attend the assigned class regularly
- hold at least 4 hours of office hours for 1:1 or small group tutoring
- if agreed upon between the Embedded Tutor and the faculty member, the Embedded Tutor may assist with activities during the class time
Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders
Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders support students who are enrolled in 'bottleneck' courses - subjects that are required but that also have a higher failure rate, such that a student who receives a failing grade may have delayed progress in their major. SI Leaders facilitate workshops and study sessions outside of the regularly scheduled class time. These sessions are focused on active student involvement and incorporate both content and learning strategies.
Responsibilities of an SI Leader
- attend the assigned lecture weekly
- facilitate at least two study sessions per week which focus on the potentially challenging aspects of the course lectures
- host additional review sessions before midterms and finals
- if agreed upon between the SI Leader and the faculty member, SI Leaders may assist with activities during the class time
Learning Assistants (LAs)
Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who are able to work closely with faculty and staff to provide feedback to them about the course and how students feel about the course materials. LAs work in a small teaching team with faculty members who are invested in implementing ‘hands on,’ application-based learning in and outside the classroom. From an LA’s perspective, that might include facilitating group discussion, guiding student groups through problem sets, or meeting with students outside of class to discuss key concepts. Learning Assistants do not grade, hold office hours, or lecture.
Responsibilities of a Learning Assistant:
- Join and facilitate group discussions to help elicit student active thinking and shared group understanding.
- Meet with their course instructor at least once a week to prepare for future class sessions and discuss student interaction with the course itself.
- Use various educational research strategies such as eliciting student
ideas, active listening, and facilitating group discussions.
- LAs help enhance student active learning in the moment.
Faculty Criteria & Requirements
Depending on the number of available Peer Educators each semester, Peer Connections cannot guarantee or provide every faculty applicant with an assigned Peer Educator. Based on experience and feedback, Classroom Peer Mentors work best with Faculty Partners who agree to meet the Faculty Partner Requirements (.pdf) [pdf] and who fulfill the following criteria:
- demonstrate familiarity or previous experience with the Peer Mentor role
- teach classes that enroll predominantly first-year students
- promote the first-year experience in the course (i.e. campus resources, study strategies for college success, personal development, etc.)
- teach classes that facilitate student interaction and discussion
Faculty wishing to work with an SI Leader must teach a 'bottleneck' course to be eligible. Additionally, faculty working with an SI Leader must meet the Faculty Requirements for Supplemental Instruction (.pdf) [pdf] and are strongly encouraged to use our Best Practices (.pdf) [pdf].
Faculty working with Embedded Tutors and Learning Assistants utilize many of the same best practices and requirements as faculty who work with mentors and SI leaders.
If you have questions about working with a Peer Educator, please contact Deanna Peck at Deanna.Peck@sjsu.edu.