P49 – Peer Mentoring as a way to support students thrive

Presentation
AUDITORIUM – TUESDAY 13:00-14:00

Jenny Petrucci

The American University of Rome/King’s College London

BA in English and MA in Postcolonial studies. I am currently doing  Doctorate in Education at King’s College London researching on First Generation College Students. I am working as Director of the First Year Program at The American University of Rome.

Summary

The Peer Mentor Programs will be discussed and further explored using the example of The American University of Rome.

Abstract

This session focuses primarily on the benefits of Peer Mentoring Programs within First Time in College Students. Starting from a theoretical approach about the way Peer mentoring has been evolving and changed over the past twenty years, this session will also provide the audience with a practical example of the Peer Mentor Program at The American University of Rome. Starting from the selection criteria for effective Peer Mentors, the speaker will move on to show examples of training activities. The role and tasks of Peer Mentors will be extensively discussed and explained. The presentation will conclude with possible improvements and further suggestions to put in place a Peer Mentor Program that could possibly have an impact on First Time in College students.

The Peer Mentor Program at the American University of Rome has been accessed multiple times through the use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods. The qualitative method has been carried out through the use of the peer mentors’ weekly feedback whereas the quantitative method through the use of exit questionnaires submitted to all First Time in College Students. In the academic year 2012/13 97% of the students participating in the survey found the Peer Mentors helpful compared to the 35% of 2008/9. Since then various actions and improvements have been implemented in order to provide a more effective program. The First Year Seminar reported seeing the Peer Mentors predominantly as a source of information and support (51% and 33%) that was on their level, could see their point of view, and/or had ‘been there’  and understood. 8% of the students reported that the PMs were helpful with their research paper and a number found the positivity and energy of the PMs helpful. More work needs to be done in order to improve the academic support from the Peer Mentors.

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