Due to our emerging Hispanic student population, Cuyamaca College is now a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and a new member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Studies have shown that Hispanic students are also at the highest risk for school failure once enrolled, especially during their first year in college. There are also serious concerns for the retention rates of Hispanic students when considering their limited exposure to libraries and information literacy skills. Since information literacy informs core academic writing skills at Cuyamaca College, peer mentor training in Library information literacy is essential to serve incoming disproportionately impacted freshmen students.
To encourage student success, the Guided Pathways Academy has hired a cohort of ten (10) Peer-mentors to support their incoming freshmen cohort enrolled in the Guided Pathways Academy. Peer-mentors are upperclassmen who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of freshmen-mentees. Every Peer-mentor is responsible to mentor 25-30 freshmen-mentees. In general, freshmen-mentees take their peers’ perspectives very seriously. This means that a positive peer mentoring relationship can have profound effects on a mentee’s academic engagement and sense of self-confidence. In addition, the similarity in age of peer-mentors to their mentees, means that mentees might also feel more comfortable sharing concerns and problems with their mentors. This relationship increases freshmen-mentee’s desire to explore the use of the library resources and services.
The secondary goal is to develop highly trained Peer-mentors to assist freshmen-mentees in improving their information literacy skills. The Guided Pathways Academy will partner with the Cuyamaca College Library to develop a library training model for Peer-mentors who are assigned to support freshmen-mentees (N=280) enrolled in the Guided Pathways Academy,
Peer-mentors are expected to be academic leaders who demonstrate the following information literacy competencies:
Demonstrate knowledge of the role of the academic library.
Develop their own information literacy skills.
Develop strategies to engage students, listen to their information needs relating to assignments and help them navigate the library website.
Refer student-mentees to the librarians when the mentees need more in-depth research help.
The Guided Pathways Academy and the Cuyamaca College Library will bring theory to life with energy and enthusiasm as Peer-mentors discuss an array of topics and challenges related to library information literacy.