Palm Trees, Flip Flops, and Peer Advisors


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Palm Trees, Flip Flops, and Peer Advisors

Miami NACADA Region 4 2012

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  • In terms of research supporting Peer Advising, in recent years there has been a furry! What research has found that over the past 20 years or so there has been a surge of the use of peers educating peers in all aspects of college life, peer advising as one of them. What is being found is that colleges and universities are choosing to implement these programs because they are so versatile, and work well with other academic advising programs that are in place. It also allows for an extension on the scope of advising, by allowing for interaction with peers through facebook and/or twitter or other social media networks.
  • Peer advising has also been shown to lead to increased involvement, academic success and retention of students whom interact with the peers. Additionally it appears that the peer advising process has positive impacts on the peer advisors as well as the advisees.
  • So the question looms as why peer advising has become so popular and successful on college campuses. Research shows that students on average are influenced by other students, Newton and Ender in 2010 noted that students seek advice from and are influenced by the expectations, attitudes and behaviors of their peer groups. So in a way peer advising is a positive form of peer pressure! Research has also shown that peers are more influential on students than other experts such as teachers, parents , etc. In seeing all this research, and there is a lot more out there, it is evident that a peer advising program is has positive attributes that benefit the institution, the students and the peer advisors as well,.
  • Let’s hear from a student, whom has interacted with a peer advisor has to say about his experience and see if it lines up with the research!
  • So in terms of where we are today, we are a strong program with 12 Juniors and Seniors. We are one of only 2 colleges on our campus who have instituted a peer program, and ours has been around the longest, as Krysta mentioned in the previous slide we began in 2004. The 12 students are paid for their time and commitment to the college. The students are selected through a rigorous application and selection process which I will talk about later, but come from a variety of majors within our college. Their main duties are: (list duties) Show website! Picture of current peer advisors
  • The selection process for the peer advisors is each spring for the upcoming fall semester. Each peer advisor must be able to serve a full year term with a total of 2 year maximum are able to be served. The applicants are rising COSAM juniors and seniors, with a min gpa of 3.0 There is an application and interview process to select the peer advisors.
  • SHOW APPLICATION PDF It is comprised of a personal information like contact info and hours/classification and gpa. The gpa is verified by our administrative assistant when they turn in the application. They must also answer three short essay questions and list their time commitments over the next year. The applications are reviewed by myself and the pre health director. We then meet to discuss the possible applicant to be selected for a first round interview. When sorting through the applications some things that we look for is time commitments, gpa, major, as well as how well they answered the questions. I am always looking for something unique or interesting about them that sets them apart from other applications. I send an email to all the applicants that are chosen for an interview and they are to come to our office and sign up for an interview time. I also notify any applicants that are not chosen, encouraging them to apply for next year. Over the past two years we have had between 50-70 applications per year to sort through for usually 4-6 spots. So competition is fairly steep!
  • The interviews are held in two rounds. Round one interviews are quick and short personality type questions. What I am looking for is can they loosen up and have a good time, can they laugh at themselves. These are typically 3-5 minutes a piece. And we have myself, two-three peer advisors and one other academic advisor helping to judge/critique. If Candidates are selected for a round two interview they are notified via email and on a call back list that is posted on the doors of our building. Round two interviews are longer and deal with situational type questions as well as COSAM and Auburn knowledge. A typical question may be something like how would you handle an angry student? Tell us about tutoring services on campus, etc. In this interview there are all the people that were involved in the first interview plus the Director of Pre health programs. Typically what we are looking for in an applicant, is someone that is genuine, hardworking, good grades, not overly committed, someone that can add something new or interesting and who has a good sense of humor/personality. I really try to diversify the majors as much as possible. With 70% of the college being pre health and the fact that they teach the pre health course it is important to have prehealth, but I also look for other majors as well.
  • After the final list is selected there is an intensive 1 day training that takes place prior to school starting in the Fall. This is mandatory! One of the main goals I have for training is to build a team/community. These students are going to be working together, and need to know how to work together to come to a common good. Its also important for them to get to know each other! I don’t expect everyone to be best friends, but I want to respect each other. This last year we did a ropes course for our teambuilding exercise. It went wonderful! I plan on doing this for years to come! We also go over the manual and discuss academic policies and procedures. I give them a knowledge quiz to see where they are , and try to cover the areas where are gaps. A big part of this job is being able to understand how to work with other people. And so we also do some role plays. I have them pair off and then they have to act out a role play that I have given them. We then talk about the situation and they did things correctly and how it could be improved. *Show manual- each peer advisor is given a manual which they can keep to reference throughout the year. Show what the manual includes.
  • Show video- Office Hours on Website
  • So in terms of some obstacles of peer advising programs there are some. Probably the main thing on everyone’s minds is money! We pay our students for their time, but there are other ways you could reward them, something such as priority registration, or even better campus parking might be some ways that you could reward the students for their time. Space is another issue that we ran into. Once we instituted office hours we had to find a place for our students to live during those hours! We were able to find an area of the office that wasn’t being used and set up a desk area for them. We got them a computer so that they can do their office hour duties and the area is private enough that they can have conversations with students not out around other students. So finding the space necessary could be a challenge, but we basically just thought outside the box from a traditionally office to make our program work. The final big obstacle that we have faced is that it is a considerable time commitment to organize. So you need to have someone to take on the program that has the time to devote to it for it to be successful. I took on the program a few years ago and have grown it slowly. But my hope is that now that we have a 4 th advisor, and I am almost done with my Ph.D that I will be able to take it to the next level over the next few years. One idea would be if you had a grad assistant for your office this might be a great project for them to take on!
  • There are some great rewards to this program! As the literature alluded to at the beginning of the presentation, there are many rewards to reap from this. The first being that it is a cost effective way to have more help. If your office is anything like our office there is a shortage in the budget to hire more professional staff. The peer advisor program is a great way to get extra help during those busy times of the year to help your office stay afloat. It also provides the students who are the peer advisors an opportunity to get some hands on leadership experience, which as we all know is very important after you leave college. As well as the benefits of those one on one peer mentoring relationships that are formed from the interaction between the students with the peers advisors. And finally I feel that it provides a way of personal growth for the peers advisors and the advisees.
  • So at the beginning of this presentation we saw what a student who had utilized the peer advising program had to say, now we will hear from some actual peer advisors and how they feel about the program.
  • So What are our hopes for the future! I would love to see our program to grow and to emulate the program at NC State- Show website. Their program has approx 40 peer advisors who really serve as mentors for the students within their college of business. I doubt we will ever be able to be that hands on but I would like to try to emulate some of the programs that they do such as presentations to groups and classrooms and socials with the advisees. One thing that they do that we implemented this year was sending a congratulatory email from the peer advisors to all freshman who made over a 3.5 GPA their first semester in college. Additionally, an email was sent to all freshman who made a 2.3-2.6 their first semester, reminding them that the peer advisors are here to answer questions and help to guide the students to campus resources for help. I would also really like to implement a more rigorous training program that is not just 1 day, but maybe at a monthly meeting have someone from a campus program come in and teach the peer advisors about a campus resource that would be helpful in talking with students. Additionally, as I previously mentioned I would like to see the peer advisors making class room visits to make presenations about their services and other campus resources to help students.
  • Palm Trees, Flip Flops, and Peer Advisors

    1. 1. Palm Trees, Flip Flops and Peer AdvisorsPresenters: Krysta Diehl and Emily Williams 2012 Regional NACADA Conferenece Miami, FL
    2. 2. Who we are…..• Auburn University- Auburn, AL – fall 2011 enrollment: 25,469• College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) – fall 2011 enrollment: 3,094 – Departments: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics & Statistics, Geography & Geology – Males:1,301 Females:1,793
    3. 3. College of Sciences and Mathematics• 70% of college is Pre-Health as of fall 2011• Student Services Office Structure – Director of Pre Health Programs – Director of Student Services – Three professional academic advisors• COSAM Advising Structure – Freshman/Transfer students – Pre-Health Students/Declared Majors
    4. 4. Research Supporting Peer Advising Programs• Over the past twenty years there has been a “proliferation in the use of peer educators into nearly every aspect of college academic and student services” (Newton & Ender, 2010)• Institutions are choosing to implement these programs because of the “versatility, compatibility with pre-existing academic advising programs, sensitivity to student needs, and the ability to extend the range and scope of advising to times and venues when advising is not available (Koring, 2005).
    5. 5. Research Supporting Peer Advising Programs cont’d• According to Koring and Campbell (2005), “contacts with peer advisors can lead to increased involvement with the institution, academic success, and retention at the institutions as well as satisfaction with the process”• “Peer advising programs have positive impact on peer advisors as well as on advisees” (Koring and Campbell, 2005).
    6. 6. Research Supporting Peer Advising Programs cont’d• “ The underlying concept is that students seek advice from and are influenced by the expectations, attitudes and behaviors of their peer groups” (Newton & Ender, 2010).• Peer influence in many situations may be stronger than that of adults such as teachers, parents and other experts (Mellanby, Rees & Tripp, 2000 as cited in Newton & Ender, 2010).
    7. 7. What the Students say…… Cody Jinnette FR Pre Pharmacy
    8. 8. Motivation to Develop Peer Advising Program• Need to bridge communication gap with students – Peer to peer mentoring found to be effective in communicating to students• Advising loads – 900-1100/1 typical COSAM advising load – Advising experts recommend load of 300/1• Dwindling budgets – Inability to hire more full time staff
    9. 9. Motivation to Develop Peer Advising Program Cont’d• Increased enrollment at Auburn and within COSAM – COSAM’s enrollment almost doubled from 2001-2010
    10. 10. Our Journey: The Beginning• Initial program – Recognized our need-researched programs – Proposal for program-summer 2004 – Fall 2004-launch of program – Eight COSAM students hand selected by coordinating advisor – Main functions were assisting with each semester registration process and with pre- health orientation class (SCMH 1890).
    11. 11. Where We Are Today: Our Program• 12 COSAM Junior and Seniors• Paid Position• Variety of majors within COSAM• Main duties – Group leaders in SCMH 1890 Course – Office Hours – Mandatory Advising – COSAM Open House
    12. 12. Selection Process for Peer Advisors• Early Spring of each year selections begin for next academic year• Peer Advisors serve for 1 year at a time with a maximum of 2 years total• Rising COSAM Juniors and Seniors with minimum of 3.0 GPA• Application and interviews
    13. 13. Selection Process: Application• Comprised of personal information, **photograph, three short essays and questions about time commitments• Reviewed by Mrs. Williams and Director of Pre Health Programs• Chosen applicants will be notified via email to sign up for interview• Applicants not chosen will be notified as well**THIS will be important!
    14. 14. Selection Process: Interviews• Who is Involved: Peer Advisors, Academic Advisors, Director of Pre Health Programs• Round One – 3-5 minutes – Personality• Round Two: – 10 minutes – Situational/COSAM and Auburn knowledge• Characteristics of Ideal Peer Advisor
    15. 15. Training of Peer Advisors • One day intensive • Mandatory • Teambuilding – Build sense of community • Manual – Policies – Procedures – Role Play
    16. 16. Responsibilities and Duties of Peer Advisors• Weekly Office Hours• SCMH 1890- Pre Health Orientation Course• Registration- Mandatory Advising• Open House/Special Projects
    17. 17. Weekly Office Hours• 2-3 hours per Peer Advisor per week• Social Media – Blog – Twitter – Facebook• Walk-in questions• Emails Example of typical office hour
    18. 18. SCMH 1890- Pre Health Orientation Course • Fall semester- Freshman course • Lead small groups within course • Serve as mentors/contacts for freshman • Assist in teaching
    19. 19. Semester Registration: Mandatory Advising• All COSAM students required to meet with advisor each semester prior to registration• Serve as first line of defense• Assist students with questions prior to meeting with advisors• Provide students with basic, general knowledge and advice about scheduling courses
    20. 20. Open House/Special Projects • Open House – Fall semester – Welcome to Freshman and Transfer Students – Assist in planning and execution • Other Duties – Any special projects
    21. 21. Obstacles of Peer Advising Program• Money- budget – Paid vs. other incentives• Space – Location/space to house program• Time commitment to organize – Huge time commitment to keep organized
    22. 22. Rewards of Peer Advisor Program• Cost efficient• Provides students with hands on leadership opportunity• Peer-to-peer mentoring relationships• Personal growth for peer advisors and advisees
    23. 23. What the Peer Advisors Say….. Audra Brawley Meredith Jones SR Biomedical Sciences SR Biomedical Sciences Pre Physical Therapy Pre Dental Kyle Adams JR Biomedical Sciences Pre Medicine
    24. 24. Hopes for the Future• Continue to GROW! – North Carolina State University• More intensive training – Monthly extensive training from campus programs• Classroom presentations
    25. 25. Tips for Starting a Peer Advisor Program• Solid Proposal- build a good case!• Decide who will be the coordinator- must be passionate and willing to work hard!• Funding/incentives- how will students be compensated for their time?!
    26. 26. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Things We Have Learned Along the Way!• The Good- teambuilding and building a community• The Bad- College students will be college students! Sometimes forgetful and are spread too thin!• The Ugly- Personality conflicts and interview deceit- people wanting things for the wrong reasons
    27. 27. Questions??
    28. 28. Contact us! Emily H. Williams Auburn University College of Sciences and MathAcademic Advisor : Krysta Diehl Auburn University College of Sciences and MathAcademic Advisor:
    29. 29. Sources• Koring, H. (2005, June). Peer Advising: A Win-Win Intiative. In NACADA. Retrieved February 28, 2012• Koring, H., & Campbell, S. (2005). Peer Advising: Intentional Connections to Support Student Learning [Editorial]. NACADA Monograph Series, 13.• Newton, F. B., & Ender, S. C. (2010). Students Helping Students: A Guide for Peer Educators on College Campuses (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.