Our Students are the Village: A Peer Coaching program Creation Story
PeersEngaging asEnergizingResources Our Students are the Village: A Peer Coaching ProgramCenter-based & Creation Story0nline Presented by Dr. Lisa D’Adamo-Weinstein, Director of Academic SupportAcademic SUNY Empire State College - Northeast CenterCollaborative National College Learning Center Association 27th Annual ConferenceHelpers Reno, NV October 6, 2012EnhancingSuccess
Agenda• Overview & Introductions• Creating• Implementation• Impact• How can our story help you?
SUNY Empire State College’s Northeast Center (NEC) Office of Academic Support (OAS) is one of 9 such offices at the college with a Director of Academic Support (DAS) at each location. There are approximately 20,000 undergraduate students at the college. At the Northeast Center (NEC), we offer our services to approximately 1,900 students directly affiliated with the center. Northeast Center We have 1 fulltime Director of Academic Support, 2 half-time Learning Coaches and 10 Peer Coaches.Programs & Services - The NEC Office of Academic Support offers workshops; individualappointments with learning & peer coaches; academic skills development and study strategiescourses; we have print and online resources; and we offer online content area tutoring as wellas onsite and online peer coaches.Space & Resources - A Student Success Lab/study space and a computer lab are available forindividual and/or group work on assignments , individualappointments, workshops, assessments, and/or using online resources.
MissionThe staff of the Northeast Center Office of Academic Support (OAS)operate as a collaborative team, striving to establish a friendlywelcoming learning environment for all students.Our mission is to: •support students in becoming successful independent learners through a comprehensive array of services and resources tailored to students’ individual academic needs and goals; •deliver these services and resources via individualized and group programming in face-to-face, telephonic and virtual formats; and •work with students, staff and faculty with the expectation that willing students can reach and exceed their academic potential with appropriate assistance.
The Academic Support Team Sarah Spence-Staulters Kate Stockton Learning Coach Learning CoachPeer Coaching Coordinator Academic Eye Instructor Lisa D’Adamo-Weinstein Director of Academic Support
A learning coach at the Northeast Center is a college graduate who:• Provides direct academic support to students in one-on-one or small group settings• Works with students in both face-to-face and virtual environments• Conducts workshops• Present at orientation• Develops academic support materials for both online and print mediums• Performs secondary assessment• Either Teach credit bearing studies – Enhancing the Academic Eye (an advanced level version of ESC101 that includes academic research skills instruction) http://academiceye.pbworks.comOR Coordinates all aspects of the Peer Coaching Program including the daily operations as well as the training and supervision of students who are peer coaches. http://peercoaches.pbworks.com http://necacademicsupport.pbworks.com/
Apeer coach is an alumna/us or a current undergraduateor graduate student trained to guide and encourage other students inimproving their academic performance and developing as life-longlearners.What do Peer Coaches Do?: Peer coaches assist students by focusingon enhancing general study skills, tutoring in specific contentareas, navigating through college resources, and developing studystrategies within their Areas of Study.Peer coaches work in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Theyare trained by the staff of the NEC Office of Academic Support followinginternationally recognized certification standards set forth by theCollege Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) for peer tutors. PeerCoaches work as volunteers, work-study, or practicum students. http://peercoaches.pbworks.com/
Brief Overview of NEC Peer CoachingPeer coaches assist students by focusing on enhancing general study skills, tutoring in specific content areas, navigating through college resources, and developing study strategies within their Areas of Study.Peer coaches work in both face-to-face and virtual environments. They are trained by the staff of the NEC Office of Academic Support following internationally recognized certification standards set forth by the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) for peer tutors. Peer Coaches work as volunteers, work- study, or practicum students.
How does peer coaching fit into the Office of Academic Support? • Peer coaches provide a perspective that only another student /recent graduate can give – Peer Coaches have been in the same shoes and could have faced the same struggles • Supplement and expand the ways in which current students can get their questions answered and find support – Peer Coaches provide a non-threatening peer perspective
Successful Academic Support Services Include… Proactive interventions, Supportive environments, Personalized support systems, Small group tutorials, Development of students’ basic learning skills, Teaching of study skills and learning strategies in the context of academic content courses, Opportunities to interact in informal settings and develop personal relationships with faculty, and Opportunities to experience success. - Adapted from Maxwell and Casazza & Silverman
1. We wanted students to help other students. We are a non- traditional college and wanted to have peer coaches who understand what that entails.2. We wanted certification from the College Reading and learning Association3. We wanted all of the information about the program to be accessible at any time.
We followed an intentional design that included the following elements for consideration: • Service Delivery Model(s) • Responsibility & Ownership • Professional Standards • Tailoring Training • Feedback & Evaluation • On-going Professional Development & Sharing
Service Delivery• How Students Access a Tutor/Peer Coach – Self-referral – Faculty-referral• Where Students Can Get Assistance – Onsite & Online • Resources • Study aids • Presentations• What Help Can Students Get? – Content Tutoring – General Study Skills – Critical Thinking – Navigating College Resources – Computer/Information Literacy
• Peer coaches (rather than tutors)• No group• Individual• Workshop presentations (student panel)• Appointment (evenings, work schedule, 1 hr-ish) – Form triage (low-pc, mid, high-Lisa)• Smarthinking for content• Elluminate/Collaborate for at a distance• Workshops
Responsibility & Ownership• Encouraging peers to take initiative, ask questions, and help. – Working yourself out of that job. – “Teachers are those who use themselves as bridges, over which they invite their students to cross; then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” –Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer and philosopher (author of Zorba the Greek & The Last Temptation).• Delegation – Raise your kids well, then trust.
Peer Coaches Participate in the ProgramPaid Work StudyStudents who qualify for Federal Financial Aid work study status can receive payment for theirwork as a Peer Coach and will also receive all of the general benefits listed above. 3 have participated as work-study student sPracticumA practicum is a credited bearing study that gives students both a theoretical andpractical/work experience in the field of learning assistance and adult learning. Anyoneinterested in the practicum should obtain approval from their mentor, then enroll in the studyas an independent study with the Director of Academic Support (Lisa DAdamo-Weinstein) andpay for it as they would any other credit bearing course at the college. Students can earn 2-4credits as part of their college level degree program and will also receive all of the generalbenefits listed above. 2 have participated and completed the practicumVolunteersStudents who volunteer will not receive pay or course credit, but they will gain workexperience for their resume and will also receive all of the general benefits listed above. 11 are currently participating as a volunteer
PRACTICUM COURSE INFORMATIONTITLE: The Theory and Practice of Learning: Learning Assistance and Academic Supportfor Post-Secondary LearnersOffered at 2 or 4 credits, Advanced, LiberalA. PURPOSE - The purpose of this practicum is for students to develop a theoreticalgrounding in the field of learning assistance and to engage in practical applications forteaching/training postsecondary learners. Students in the practicum will learn aboutthe scholarship and best practices of college level learning assistance and academicsupport by reading about and engaging in discussion of academic literature onappropriate theories of adult learning, student engagement, academic skillsdevelopment, and learning center pedagogy. They will also engage in hands-onpractice in assisting college level learners in enhancing general study skills, tutoring inspecific content areas, navigating through college resources, and/or developing studystrategies and resources within specific Areas of Study or general learning skillsdevelopment.
B. LEARNING ACTIVITIES Most of the work for this study will occur as part of the student’s work as a peer coach. The tenhours of training that all peer coaches undertake is a part of the initial theoretical and practicalfoundations of the study and should be completed before engaging in other learning activities ofthis practicum.There are THREE CATEGORIES of learning activities: 1 - PEER COACHING: TRAINING, ENGAGEMENT, & REFLECTIONThe amount of time spent over the course of the term should range between at total of 100-140hours for 4 credits and 50-70 Hours for two credits. These hours include peer coachtraining, meeting with the course instructor, and working with students or on specific academicsupport projects. Scheduling of the bulk of these hours is determined between the student andthe Peer Coaching Program Coordinator and/or practicum instructor.The first 10 hours of this time commitment are derived from the official Peer Coach training(outlined @ http://www.peercoaches.pbwiki.com).Additionally, five to ten of the remaining hours should be spent in individual meetings with thecourse instructor to discuss the readings for the study. A specific schedule will be developedbetween the instructor and the student after the student completes the 10 hours of training.The remaining hours should be dedicated to specific engagements focusing on the all aspects ofacademic skills counseling including preparation, evaluation, and conducting individual andgroup support in face-to-face and virtual environments. These engagements will range fromobservation to active participation.
2 – ACADEMIC READINGAll required and supplemental readings and course materials will be available online athttp://bit.ly/PracticumReadingsList (Please Note – the instructor updates the site each termand students in the practicum may be asked to add some of their work to the wiki).3 – WRITTEN WORKTwo 8-10 page formal written essays are required for this study:Theory Essay – This essay should be grounded in the literature and should include criticaltheoretical analysis of assigned readings and/or relevant research. The essay should exploreresearch, theories and practices gained from course materials, independentresearch, discussions with the instructor, and experiences at the practicum site. The essay canbe a combination of a literature review that includes relevant examples from the practicumexperience or it can solely be about the areas of interest the student has in the literature andresearch. The student should plan to hand this essay in around the midpoint of the term.Practice Essay - One essay should be reflective in nature and articulate the specific experiencesat the practicum site as well as the knowledge and skills gained during the practicum. This essayshould be handed in at the end of the term as a summative/reflective piece and to documentthe entire practicum experience.
• Level 1 (learning coaches/ Level 2-3)• Break-up training (2x a month, full day, evening sessions)• Adult learning theory to meet adult/returning students• Refresher/skills ready to enter upper level classes.
Tailoring Training• Don’t reinvent the wheel, but paint it a color you like. – Standards like: ATP training, CRLA, others. – Additional resources: online, journals, videos, etc.• Addressing student/institutional needs and resources.
We designed our training around the College Reading and Learning Association standards.Our training consisted of the CRLA required 10 hours.6 hours are face-to-face and cover: Definition of tutoring and tutor responsibilities Basic tutoring guidelines and/or Tutoring dos and/or Tutoring donts Techniques for successfully beginning and ending a tutor session Adult learners and/or Learning theory and/or Learning styles Assertiveness and/or Handling difficult students Role modeling Setting goals and/or Planning Communication skills Active listening and paraphrasing Referral skills Study skills Critical thinking skills Compliance with the ethics and philosophy of the tutor program and/or Sexual harassment and/or Plagiarism Modeling problem solving Other (please specify)4hours of independent/ supervised training Scavenger Hunt for Empires State College Resources Attending several workshops Researching websites and other online resources
Ongoing Professional Development• Think “Professional Development” Not “Training.”• More Than Just a Class or Event.• Feedback/Evaluation Spiral of Growth• Broader Approach/Two Birds With One Stone – (peer coaches, presentation skills, resume, job skills)• Other Certifications (NCLCA LCLC)
We began training In the Spring of 2011 we trained our first 6 Peer Coaches. But, they did not start working with students until Fall 2011.
The Peer Coaching Team 2012-2013 Business, Writing & Economics & General Writing, Accounting Study Skills History Library & Research Writing& Graduate Studies Writing, CulturalWriting, Cultural Studies Studies & & Introductory Math Graduate Studies Business Technology & Management Math, Writing & Business Critical Thinking, Psychology & Writing
What are the numbers?13 = Total # of peer coaches trained - July 2011-June 2012July-Dec 2011 - 10Jan-June 2012 – 39 = Total # of peer coaches meeting with students - July 2011-June 2012July-Dec 2011 - 5Jan-June 2012 - 425 = Total # of students meeting with peer coaches - July 2011-June 2012July-Dec 2011 - 15Jan-June 2012 - 947 = Total # of appointments between peer coaches and students - July 2011-June 2012July-Dec 2011 - 30Jan-June 2012 - 17
What are the students saying?“For me this is a much needed service due to returning to a learning environment after30 years Thank you.”“I liked the encouragement. I liked how she made me think about the material that Ineeded help with. I like her easy going manner.”“Very hands on and took time to explain trouble spots. Explanations were concise andallowed me to se what was wrong with my approach.”“The peer coach was a good listener and very understanding of the topic.”“I liked the time spent with out pressure. I wish I took advantage of Peer Support earlierin class very beneficial to the course.”“The coach was good about visual examples working on the problems with me and madethe formulas understandable.”“Gave me visual aides to complete my project. I like the one on one help.”
What impact has there been on grades?Most of the students are in the 1st or 2nd term, but there have been 5th and 6th termstudents as well.10 of the students were “A” students each term and in the term they worked with thepeer coach8 of the students had a grade range of A-NC, but the term with the peer coach was theirbest term, passing all classes.2 students got straight As in their first term (spring 2012)2 students had their best term with As and Bs and before and/or after were As-Ds.1 student passed both classes she got assistance with and w/d from the other1 student did not pass the class he got assistance with
What Can You Take Away fromLearning the Story of Our Program?
Things for You to ConsiderWe followed an intentional design before implementation that included the following elements: • Service Delivery Model(s) • Responsibility & Ownership • Professional Standards • Tailoring Training • Feedback & Evaluation • On-going Professional Development & Sharing
What is the ONE GREAT PROJECT/IDEA/AREA thatyou want to work on when you get back to your campus?
Make a Plan for YourselfTake a few minutes to jot down the ideas you have forenhancing your tutor program.
ACTIVITY – Focusing on Just One Thing For Peer Coaching/Tutoring on Your CampusDirections: Pick from your idea list. What is your number one interest/priority?-- You can determine this based on your center/college’s constraints, $$$, time (workload, seasonal demands, etc.), staff desires/access, student needs, access to technology, etc.Defining your top priority…Major idea/goal/priority -Narrowing it down… List at least 3 components related to this idea/goal/priority –1.2.3.What research/people/resources/etc. do you need to connect with to get a start on making your idea/goal/priority a reality? Outline some of the first steps you need to take.
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