University Seminar Peer Leader Program to Take Effect in the Fall


Isabel Haas, Contributing Writer

The University Seminar (USEM) Peer Leader Program allows students of at least a sophomore standing the opportunity to be a part of the freshman seminar class. These students will be identified as peer leaders and will assist in educating and encouraging students inside and outside of the classroom.

Lori Berglund, Co-Director of University Seminar, says there are certain expectations of the peer leaders that will allow them to help carry out the USEM directive.

“They’ll kind of be a liaison between the larger campus community and the university seminar class,” Berglund said. “They will be a resource for students to make connections on campus, and encourage them to get to know each other and get involved.”

Although USEM has enabled upperclassmen to act as mentors for students of select professors who teach a USEM class, the Peer Leader Program will be implementing a peer leader in every USEM classroom.

Mary Donato, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and the faculty coordinator of the USEM Peer Leader Program, says there are a few things changing about the program that are to be expected in the coming semesters.

“In past semesters for university seminar, certain professors used a peer mentor,” Donato said. “The idea of peer leaders is that each university seminar will have one peer leader, so it will be one peer leader for those 20 or so students in university seminar.”

Another change made to the USEM Peer Leader Program is that the peer leaders will be compensated for their time spent assisting in the USEM classroom.

“This is a paid position, and they will either be paid as academic assistants or will be under federal work study, depending on if they qualify for work study and if they meet the academic qualifications for being an academic assistant”, Berglund said.

After the USEM Peer Leader Program has taken effect, Peer Leaders will gain teaching experience, communication and leadership skills, while also helping first year students get the most out of their USEM class.

The changes made to the USEM Peer Leader Program will be implemented into University Seminar in the fall of 2018.