Peer Assistants

Women's and gender studies majors who maintain a grade average of 3.3 or higher in their women's and gender studies courses will be permitted to count toward the major one credit-bearing peer assistantship in women's and gender studies.

Peer teaching yields many benefits to undergraduate teachers and learners. The following guidelines, developed originally by the Committee for the Support of Teaching and the Educational Policy Committee in 1994, and revised by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee in 2002, are intended to establish uniform standards across the university for the utilization of undergraduate peer assistants.

Guidelines

Opportunities to serve as peer assistants are generally limited to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement in completing the course to which they are assigned or its equivalent.

Undergraduates who serve as peer assistants may be compensated for their services or receive one, and only one, semester course credit for their assistance over their entire course of study at Brandeis University.

Credit is offered under the auspices of a 5PE94A course, which requires both instruction in pedagogy and written assignments in support of the peer instructional experience. Credit may not be offered under the auspices of a “98” or “Independent Study” Course. All 5PE94A courses are graded on a credit/no credit basis.

At the beginning of the term, instructors and undergraduate peer assistants will discuss course requirements, the peer assistants’ weekly time commitment, and the range of the peer assistants’ responsibilities (in class, outside the classroom, technical assistance, etc.). Faculty members should also arrange for or provide instruction in pedagogy.

Instructors will also advise peer assistants at the beginning of the term on policies regarding academic honesty and sexual harassment and on procedures for alerting appropriate university officers about such matters.

In each course, the instructor of record should become familiar with each enrolled student’s coursework and actively participate in evaluating some or all course assignments. Peer assistants may not assign grades for any assignments, but may assist in evaluating work under the close supervision of the faculty instructor.

Instructors and peer assistants will meet on a regular basis to discuss the progress of the course. Peer assistants must complete an evaluation of their experience at the end of the semester.

The undergraduate peer assistant and instructor will advise one another of any problem arising in the course as soon as possible so that both can cooperate in addressing the problem.