The service culture at UT Dallas extends beyond traditional volunteerism to undergraduates who are motivated to serve their peers in a variety of capacities within the university setting. The Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) leverages this public service motivation to engage a higher number of undergraduates in academic and other retention-oriented programs using their successful and motivated peers. This peer-to-peer service model allows OUE to maintain high quality student success services despite the rapid growth of the undergraduate population.
OUE encourages motivated undergraduates who are seeking to become engaged in service or the University community at-large to contribute to the success of other students by participating in one of our peer-to-peer service opportunities.
- Over 350 Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) Freshman Mentors welcome over 400 AES Freshman to campus each fall spending an average of 4 hours each month helping them transition to campus, totaling over 1,600 hours of service.
- More than 200 Comet Cupboard volunteers work 1,170 hours each semester to serve more than 1,100 students in need.
- Over 70 First Year Leaders (FYLs) spend 1,200 hours in Freshman Seminar classes each fall.
- A total of 18 Peer Tutors offer over 139 hours of tutoring each week. This totals over 2,224 hours of tutoring during just one semester.
- A group of 20 Math Lab Tutors keep the Math Lab open 7 days a week to help drop in students with homework or test reviews for 21 different math courses.
- Over 100 Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) leaders facilitate 200 sessions each semester for students enrolled in chemistry, calculus, and physics courses.
- Over 40 Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders facilitate 9,510 contact hours’ worth of study sessions for students enrolled in 26 courses.
The peer-to-peer service opportunities help build and develop leaders at UT Dallas. These leaders not only provide vital services to the University but are personally shaped from these experiences. Learn more information about each of the opportunities (including eligibility requirements) by following the hyperlinks:
- AES Freshman Mentors - Successful and engaged UT Dallas undergraduates are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to mentor an incoming freshman. Being a mentor provides valuable experience for students who seek to develop their communication and leadership skills. Applications open in late April each spring.
- Comet Cupboard Volunteer – Open daily during the week (during each long semester, summer hours vary), the Comet Cupboard is located in the basement of the library and depends on students to organize donations, manage customer flow and help students find the food items they need. Volunteers are accepted on a rolling basis. To volunteer at the Cupboard, submit the Volunteer Interest Form.
- First Year Leaders – These juniors and seniors assist professors who teach a section of the Freshman Seminar, a required course for all incoming freshmen. First Year Leaders provide critical guidance to incoming UT Dallas students in a classroom setting and during one-on-one mentoring sessions outside of the classroom.
- Peer Tutoring - The Student Success Center offers free peer tutoring to all currently enrolled UT Dallas students. Tutoring assistance is offered for many of the historically challenging subjects at UT Dallas including biochemistry, biology, organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, neuroscience, computer science, and mechanical engineering.
- PLTL Leaders - The PLTL model consists of study groups of about eight students working collaboratively on challenging course content problems while guided by a peer leader. PLTL is all about working together as a group. Peer leaders are trained to be facilitators, not lecturers or teaching assistants.
- SI Leaders - Supplemental Instruction (SI) provides peer-facilitated study sessions for students taking historically difficult courses. Peer leaders who have already taken and done well in the course lead SI sessions. Leaders attend lecture with students and design SI sessions (group study) based on the lectures. The sessions encourage active, collaborative learning based on critical thinking and transferable study skills.
- Writing Center Tutors - The Writing Center provides writing support in the form of one-on-one tutoring sessions, group tutoring sessions, writing groups, workshops, and other forms of writing intervention. Tutors can help identify strengths and weaknesses of any piece of writing.
Service Benefits and Impact
The peer-to-peer service model allows the Office of Undergraduate Education to serve a higher number of students with limited staff resources by using the highly qualified human capital assets present in our current student population. The students served by peer-to-peer programs receive quality and often personalized assistance to achieve their academic and personal goals. The growth of Undergraduate Education peer-to-peer programming reveals the emergence of a service-oriented culture at UT Dallas. Serving students with student leaders fosters a succession of beneficiaries who are more likely to later engage in peer-to peer service themselves. Students who serve in peer-to-peer capacities improve their communication skills, enhance their decision-making, and gain leadership experience. All of the peer-to-peer programs provide participants an opportunity to foster a diverse social network, which is critical to learning how to successfully work with diverse groups in a variety of settings. Serving as a PLTL, SI leader, or peer tutor reinforces course material and provides teaching experience that can be beneficial for future academic or professional pursuits.