Undergraduate Peer Mentor Program Implemented

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: January 11, 2010

To contribute to the success of its students, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture (TLAC) implemented the Undergraduate Peer Mentor (UPM) program to provide aid for undergraduate students struggling in writing-intensive (W) courses. Through this program, students who excelled in their W courses are given the chance to serve as mentors to their undergraduate peers who are taking W courses.

Following a pilot semester this past spring, the fall semester marked the official opening and implementation of the UPM program. The mentors - 16 in all - provided services for 18 sections of W courses. The program was created after Dennie Smith, TLAC department head, suggested the idea to faculty members. Patricia Wiese, clinical assistant professor and program coordinator of UPM, worked closely with TLAC administrators and W course instructors to perfect the program. "All in all, we believe the program is a ‘win, win, win' program that recognizes outstanding TLAC students as mentors and provides them meaningful opportunities for professional development," Wiese says. "The program helps all undergraduates with the challenges of their W courses and provides truly excellent course support to W instructors."

The mentors worked with individual W instructors to help with a variety of specific projects including evaluating online assignments and counseling peers on various assignment guidelines. "Since this fall semester was the first semester for the full UPM project, the mentors have been instrumental in establishing the program for future semesters," Wiese says. In order to strengthen the program, the mentors participated in a workshop on peer tutoring at the University Writing Center. They also met regularly as a group to brainstorm ways to improve the program and their teamwork skills. In December, the mentors attended a reflective workshop and a celebratory luncheon to recognize their accomplishments during the semester. Plans to continue the program include replacing the graduating mentors with students who are recognized in their W courses for exceptional work and conducting research to evaluate the program results. - See more at: http://education.tamu.edu/news-archive/2010/01/undergraduate-peer-mentor...