Partnering with Peer Leaders to create inclusive academic support environments

Thursday 1:15pm - 1:45pm Brighton 3/4
Oral Presentation

Jennifer Lundmark, California State University-Sacramento
Enid Gonzalez-Orta, California State University-Sacramento
Kelly McDonald, California State University-Sacramento
The Science and Math Success Center at Sacramento State houses a number of peer support p performance and retention. The Success Center's three main programs, Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL), Science Educational Equity (SEE) and Commit to Study (C2S), focus on academic support, community and career support, and development of academic skills, respectively; all employ undergraduates, with a collective of more than 120 working to improve the success of their peers each semester. Outcomes include improved academic performance (a boost of ~15% for those participating in PAL), a closing or narrowing of the achievement/opportunity gap, improved retention, and advances aligned with enhanced self-efficacy. Peer leaders learn how to create inclusive learning environments, and participate in professional development trainings related to sense of belonging, promoting students' self-efficacy, employing a growth mindset, and refining their intercultural competency. The ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the peer leaders reflects the diversity of the students enrolled in STEM courses (over 60% URM, and more than 50% Pell-eligible), ensuring that programmatic interventions are truly "peer-driven", and providing an important, visible diversity in academic leadership. The Center's peer programs provide a rich opportunity for strengthening relationships between students of different backgrounds who are working together towards common academic goals. Each program has demonstrated significant, positive impact, and provided thousands of diverse students with learning opportunities outside of the regular classroom that will ultimately contribute to their overall success in STEM. The Center aims to promote institutional change by engaging peer leaders in collaborative partnership with faculty to more effectively identify and address the needs of our large and diverse population of students. In this session, details related to the creation, evolution, and ongoing support of the Success Center programs will be discussed, along with data related to program outcomes and overall analysis.