The mission of the Prefect Program is to increase students’ knowledge, deepen their understanding, develop habits of mind, and introduce ways of learning in specific courses.
How the Program Accomplishes Its Mission
The Prefect Program trains experienced students to facilitate optional group study sessions in certain courses offered in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Political Science, and Psychology. Prefects have taken the course themselves, done well in it, and been approved by the instructor. The sessions meet an average of twice per week and combine what-to-learn with how-to-learn strategies. Prefects also provide individual assistance to students who request additional help.
Prefects challenge students to explore their learning in a course through critical thinking and problem-solving. Expertise in the subject isn’t enough. The purpose of our training and this guidebook is to give you some insight into how people learn and ways you can model effective learning practices.
The program is administered by Kathy Evertz, Director of the Academic Support Center (ASC), and Russ Petricka, Supervisor of the Math Skills Center, who hire, train, and supervise peer facilitators (prefects). Prefects have work contracts of ten hours per week.
Why Become a Prefect?
Employment as a prefect provides many opportunities for academic and professional development. Prefects find that enhancing student learning is its own reward. Some find that prefecting provides them with valuable teaching experience. Prefects deepen their understanding of material by auditing the course and enriching students’ grasp of course content. Prefects are exposed to a range of teaching styles and develop confidence in working with small groups. Prefects also have the opportunity to collaborate with the course instructor.
- Junior or senior standing is preferred; sophomore standing is the minimum
- A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above is preferred
- A grade of A in the selected course is preferred; prior enrollment with the instructor who teaches the selected course is also preferred. Put another way, the prefect must be competent in course content, as determined by the instructor of the selected course.
- The ability to establish and nurture collaborative work relationships with department faculty
Good interpersonal and communication skills:
- self confidence
- patience and empathy
- ability to establish a positive, productive rapport with students
- Flexibility in responding to students’ needs
- An understanding of the value of collaborative learning and a willingness to learn and implement a variety of teaching methods
- The ability to contract ten hours weekly, attending mandatory training, and attend all class meetings of the selected course (class attendance is paid)
- Attend all class meetings of the selected course, take notes, follow homework and review all assigned material, including text(s) and supplemental readings.
- Conduct an average of two fifty-minute study sessions, or occasionally a combination of study session and office hour, per week throughout the term, using strategies learned during the prefect training workshop.
- Facilitate interactive, discussion-based learning. Avoid lecturing.
- Communicate with course professor about course content that students are finding particularly difficult.
- Keep all students in the selected course, as well as the Prefect Program supervisors and the professor teaching the course, informed by email of all prefect sessions, including place, time, and topics to be covered.
- Meet three times per term with the prefect supervisors and other prefects to debrief about what practices are working (or not), learn additional strategies for facilitating learning, etc.
- Notify supervisor(s) about problems or potential problems.
- Be available to meet with students individually up to the limit of the work contract (10 hours/week).
- Provide extra study sessions as necessary (e.g., prior to major examinations).
- Provide handouts relevant to the course, when there is a need.
- Ascertain course requirements and maintain contact with the course instructor.
- Assist prefect supervisors in training new prefects.
- Complete necessary personnel paperwork (time sheets, work transfer forms—if necessary, etc.).
- Attend mandatory prefect training workshop prior to the beginning of first term.
- Schedule study sessions based on student feedback (Start-of-Term surveys).
- Make periodic announcements to the students about the availability of study sessions (including meeting time, place, and topics to be covered).
- Ensure that initial survey and end-of-course surveys are distributed.
- Collect attendance data for every help session (sign-in sheets), including student names (first and last) and class year, course title, date, and time of sessions. Submit attendance data, in Excel format including all students in the class, at the midterm and at the end of the term.
- Maintain a professional attitude about such matters as class standards, grades, and student complaints.
- Model appropriate professional attitudes and behaviors to students, staff, and faculty.
- Notify supervisors, all students, and the professor in advance if you cannot conduct a study session as scheduled.
People Involved in the Program
- Kathy Evertz, Director, Academic Support Center (x4015 / firstname.lastname@example.org / 420C 4th Libe)
- Russ Petricka, Coordinator, Math Skills Center (x4026 / email@example.com / CMC 229 – Math Skills Center)
- Erik Warren, Academic Support Center, x4027 / firstname.lastname@example.org / 420A 4th Libe). See Erik concerning web time entry, pay periods, online work transfer forms, etc.