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Peer Mentor Skill Development

Peer mentors work with students to overcome various problems/situations that arise in the first year. By guiding students through problem solving as a learning experience, both student and peer mentor enhance their problem solving skills. Peer Mentors must also use critical thinking skills to analyze and find an appropriate solution for problems that may occur in the classroom environment.

Peer mentors practice public speaking in their FYS 101 class by facilitating discussion with students on various topics. Peer Mentors must also strive for effective and timely communication with the instructor that they collaborate with for FYS 101.

Peer mentors work with instructors and peers to create lesson plans that are facilitated with each other’s strengths in mind in order to foster collaboration and teamwork. Peer Mentors will work with one another throughout the year by sharing ideas for success in the classroom. This environment of collaboration is nurtured by new peer mentors developing their skills together in a training class (FYS 401) with the First-Year Studies Staff and campus partners.

Peer Mentors are equipped to use Canvas, GradesFirst, PowerPoint, and other tools of the Peer Mentor and instructor’s choice.

Peer Mentors are enabled and encouraged to develop an understanding of StrengthsQuest and TypeFocus assessments in order to not only identify their own forms of leadership but those they work with as well. FYS 401 goes in depth into each leadership style and how to build off of others strengths. Peer Mentors will work to understand their personal leadership style as well as how different types of leaders work together.

Peer Mentors are held to a high standard and are expected to be a constant role model of the Torchbearer Creed. This is upheld by the expectation to arrive prepared and on time to the FYS 101 class, model professional behavior when working with students inside and outside of the classroom (such as during 1-on-1 meetings), and display respect for the University of Tennessee codes of conduct.

Peer Mentors reflect on skills and strengths identified through the FYS 401 class to better recognize career goals. Professional development takes place in 402 workshops like SMART goals, resume prep/job, and searching through Career Development resources. This enables Peer Mentors to effectively assist First-Year Students as they explore career paths/ goals in the FYS 101 class.

Peer mentors discuss topics relating to intercultural competency through 401 in the form of workshops with Diversity Educators and SafeZone. This is put into practice in FYS 101 through being mindful of inclusivity and respect for all students in the classroom as well as educating students on how to be respectful of individual differences amongst their fellow VOLS.