Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2016

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Lynee Connelly

Abstract

Peer advising and peer education programs have been prevalent in all areas of higher education. Recently, there has been growth in peer advising programs in study abroad offices to address the gap between student advising needs and the time constraints of professional staff. While initially intended to take pressure off understaffed offices, other benefits emerged from the use of students as paraprofessionals. Peer advisors were able to encourage students to go abroad, as well as provide valuable insider information about specific programs. While a lot has been written on the topic of peer education in other areas of higher education, there is limited research into adapting peer advising for study abroad offices.

The Office of Cross-Cultural Programs (OCCP) at Susquehanna University (SU) employs over ten student workers every semester to advise and assist fellow students through their study away process. SU is a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania that requires all students to participate in a cross-cultural experience, at least two weeks in length. The peer advising program at the OCCP supports students in selecting and participating in their program of choice through advising, workshop facilitation, and assisting the OCCP with standard office tasks.

The literature has shown that the key to a successful peer advising programs is selection and training. This capstone paper outlines a comprehensive two-day training for peer advisors in the OCCP focused on advising techniques, OCCP policies and procedure, study abroad programs, and workshop design. The workshop, known as Peer Advising 101, is based on research about peer advising and peer education programs in higher education, as well as in study abroad specifically. Peer Advising 101 is designed based on several needs assessments from peer advisors and students who interact with peer advisors.

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Leadership | Higher Education Administration | Other Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services