Students take on teaching in block one

Additional contribution provided by Jordan Ismaiel.

Returning students may notice that along with their school’s academic calendar and curriculum, another facet of being a student of Hastings College has also undergone drastic changes — CORE 100 (INT) classes.

Now known as “Introduction to Hastings College,” Dr. Lisa Smith, dean of student engagement, and student engagement (SE) coaches redesigned the introductory class, a process that started during the fall semester of last year during transitional work for HC 2.0. This course is now led by student facilitators and peer connectors, with instruction maintained by Smith, to build peer connections and introduce incoming students to HC.

Student facilitators and peer connectors function similar to the previous professor and peer mentor positions with each class led by two to three upperclassmen. As long as the day’s material was covered in a way that students would understand, student facilitators had the freedom to teach each topic in ways of their relative own choosing. 

Facilitators could also “enroll” in the class so they would receive credit for helping facilitate the class, STU 222 or STU 333, if they were not taking another course during the block. 

Facilitators and peer connectors sat in on portions of resident assistant (RA) training and underwent FERPA training in order to prepare for their roles.

SE coaches contacted students they felt had the potential to lead courses through an email during mid-spring of last school year. Interested potential students were then told to apply for the position on the Human Resource’s job listings page.

“We were really trying to have a broad range of people, maybe some students who we knew were already pretty actively involved, people who were involved with sports teams and in the college community already, but also students who we thought [were not that involved] but who could be,” said Senior Celeste Borg, an SE coach.

Borg led two sections of CORE 100, commenting on the fact that this new structure helps makes the campus more connected. Since each facilitator now knows a sizable group of first-year students, these students have a connection with upperclassmen they otherwise wouldn’t have known. 

Smith feels that the student-led courses were a success but they had some changes along the way and also have room for improvement. 

“Flip-Time,” an outside-of-class time to meet and ask questions, was canceled because Smith and coaches felt that information could be worked into regular class time.

“There are three things I would like to see worked in without all the feedback from facilitators and peer connectors yet … They can do more. I trust that student leaders are very capable. I think we underestimate what our sophomore, junior and senior students can do as facilitators for a learning environment,” said Smith.

Future classes could also include involvement from the Peer Umbrella Network for peer education to create discussion.

The second thing: [covering] more about majors, minors, and IDEAs which are very confusing … third — with the PUN piece, I feel believe there’s room for more extensive conversation,” Smith said. “It’s a great opportunity to learn about the culture at a very honest and transparent level.”

Facilitators and peer connectors were also paid for their work during the block one course as the position is now an on-campus job.

Students can apply for these positions on HR’s website with applications closing next Friday, Sept. 20.