Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Higher Education and Student Affairs

First Advisor

Dan Friedman

Abstract

This research study explored academic peer leadership in the context of higher education and student affairs. In this study, a peer leader was considered to be "an undergraduate student who has been selected to serve as a mentor or peer educator to other students through a position with a school-run organization" (Keup & Skipper, 2010). The study focused on academic peer leaders, which included students who served within tutoring services, Supplemental Instruction, first-year seminar courses and academic advising. This study examined the change in academic skills and performance as a result of the academic peer leadership experience.

Mixed methodology allowed the researcher to gain a deeper understanding of the academic peer leader experience. The 2009 Peer Leadership Survey, conducted by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition in spring 2009, provided the "first national portrait of peer leader experiences" (Keup & Skipper, 2010).

Quantitative findings noted that academic peer leaders are better able to make connections between their peer leadership experience and changes in their academic skills and performance, as compared to other types (housed in other programs). Qualitative findings demonstrated how academic peer leaders made the connections between their role and their academic performance. The findings had implications on higher education professional practice and demonstrated a need for future research about peer leader programs and the experiences of students who serve as peer leaders.

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