Program Mission

The Prefect Program trains experienced students to facilitate optional group study sessions in select courses. Prefects have taken the course themselves, done well in it, and been approved by the instructor. The sessions meet two to three times 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.

The program is administered by Melanie Cashin, director of the Academic Support Center (ASC), who, in collaboration with ASC staff, hires, trains, and supervises peer facilitators. 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.

Prefect qualifications

  • 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
    • Articulation
    • Patience and empathy
    • The ability to establish positive, productive rapport with students
    • Flexibility in responding to course professor’s and students’ needs.
  • An understanding of the value of collaborative learning and different teaching styles.
  • The ability to contract to work ten hours weekly, attending mandatory training, and attend all class meetings of the selected course (class attendance is paid).

Primary activities

  • Conduct an average of at least two fifty-minute study sessions, or occasionally a combination of study session and office hours, per week throughout the term, using strategies learned during the prefect training workshop.
  • Be available to meet with students individually to the limit of the hours contracted.
  • 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 study sessions, including place, time, and topics to be covered.
  • Attend all class meetings of the selected course, take notes, follow homework and review all assigned material, including text(s) and supplemental readings.
  • Facilitate interactive, discussion-based learning in sessions. Avoid lecturing.
  • Communicate with course professor about course content that students are finding particularly difficult.
  • Meet three times per term with the prefect supervisors and other prefects to discuss:
    • Study sessions
    • Planning prefect sessions and using a wide variety of the identified active learning strategies.
  • Notify supervisor about problems or potential problems.

Secondary activities

  • 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.

Maintenance activities

  • 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 the attendance data in Excel format, including all students in the class, at the midterm and at the end of the term.
  • 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, using 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.
  • 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.
  • Provide supervisor(s) with current schedules of study sessions.
  • Notify supervisors, all students, and the professor in advance if you cannot conduct study sessions as scheduled.


Program Assistant

  • Erik Warren, Program Assistant, Academic Support Center. See Erik concerning web time entry, pay periods, online work transfer forms, etc.