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 10-20 Peer-mentors to support their incoming freshmen cohort (280 students) 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 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 information literacy competencies:
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. These highly trained Peer-mentors will serve as consultants rather than librarians or tutors. The Library literacy training is not designed to train peer mentors to be tutors, but rather provide an academic service in information literacy that is too often overlooked in Tutoring Centers. Academic support centers usually focus on reading and writing, math, or specialized subject areas related to academic majors. Library literacy training is a hands on approach that teaches students the self-directed process of leaning and growth mindset necessary for student success in all academic subject areas. The peer mentors role is to guide students through this process to foster self-confidence through active and collaborative learning.
Peer-mentors are expected to be academic leaders who demonstrate the following:
Demonstrate knowledge of the role of the academic library.
Develop their own information literacy skills.
Develop strategies to engage student-mentees and listen to their information needs.
Refer student-mentees to the librarians if the mentees need more in-depth research help.
Here are a few highlights of the Library training model:
Cuyamaca College Library services and policies.
Familiarize Peer-mentors with course-related library research assignments.
Library jargon (call number, e-book, catalog, abstract, etc.)
Library database configuration (time coverage, organization, field-record structure)
These highly trained Peer-mentors will work closely with Hispanic freshmen-mentees and those from disproportionately impacted student groups who need assistance in developing library information literacy skills.
Freshmen-mentees identify library resources and services.
Freshmen-mentees increase motivation and confidence using on campus library resources and academic research data bases.
Freshmen-mentees will practice active and collaborative leaning to feel comfortable collaborating with student peers, library staff, and faculty.
Freshmen-mentees will develop the self-directed learning process mindset essential to student success.
Freshmen-mentees can apply library information literacy skills at the university level, professional careers, and everyday life since we live in the global information age.