The Role of a Peer leader in an embedded class setting (contributed by Scott Werkheiser and Spencer Karoll)  


                Unlike most sections of FYE involving a peer leader, the ENGR-150 class (Intro to Engineering) has both a First Year Experience and an engineering component. It is a prerequisite for other engineering classes and fulfills the FYE university requirement.

                Since the class is not entirely devoted to FYE material, the role of a peer leader in the section cannot be geared only towards freshman experience. There is a curriculum that has to be completed by the end of a tight semester. In only-FYE sections, the peer leader can be involved more in group activities and campus involvement, but an ENGR FYE peer leader has to accommodate the lesson plans already in place.

                It is not to say that a peer leader wouldn't work in a freshman engineering class, but rather the function of it has to be different than the typical role in FYE classes. Not only should the peer leader contribute to a first semester experience, he or she also needs to do subject related material, or their role will be limited when classes are committed to the engineering portion.

                The workshops for the FYE peer leader program devoted time to group activities with classes and how to get a FYE section involved. However not all of the activities can fit in well for the engineering section. With FYE-only classes, the peer leader already had a role slated in place as a student administrator to activities and planned lesson for freshman students. They can take the teacher's place in some of the activities and add a student perspective to them as well. In the embedded section, the FYE portions are covered by guest speakers and slated activities that a peer leader cannot easily do for their contribution to the class.

The ENGR-FYE peer leader can add student perspective to the class and as a more experienced engineering student, add valuable insight to the professor and to the students. Since most students who are in the class are in the School of Engineering and Technology, the peer leader could focus more on preparing students for a successful first year in the SE&T.

The peer leader can add insight to more advanced classes and how they can relate to the introductory class. ENGR-150 includes trigonometry, physics, process rates, circuits, statistics, and MS Excel usage. All subjects in the class are investigated further in other classes that many of the students must take in their program. A peer leader who has taken these classes can give valuable opinions to the professor as what appears in classes taught at Central. With the peer leader's input, the ENGR-FYE section can prepare students for success as a student of Central and as an engineering/technology student. So instead of FYE only preparing students for their first year, it could also serve as preparation for students in SE&T.

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