Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

What’s in It for Me? An Exploratory Study of What Peer Educators Learn and the Challenges They Face
by Moorehead, Kimberly S., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2021, 215; 28257204
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study was a means to identify what motivated Black students to serve in the supplemental instruction (SI) leader role, the challenges they experienced, and what they learned while serving in the peer educator role within the context of an historically Black college or university (HBCU). Research targeting the experiences of SI leaders is limited, and there had yet to be a study completed on the experiences of SI leaders of color in any institution type. This research was an assessment of the perceptions of peer educators, providing a benchmark for further exploration on the impact SI can have at other HBCUs as well as how Black students are trained and supported in academic peer educator roles. Twelve SI leaders at Xavier University of Louisiana participated in interviews during the fall 2019 semester. The desire to help others and the position’s connection to their individual professional goals emerged as the primary themes when participants described what motivated them to serve in the SI leader capacity. Participants discussed the struggles of setting expectations and boundaries while serving in the SI role, as well as the positions of peer, friend, classmate, and leader when working with students in their SI sessions. Last, participants credited the SI leader position for helping them to develop and enhance the following skills: networking and relationship-building, communication, organization, emotional intelligence, critical and creative thinking, and leadership and teamwork skills.

This study showed the what and how about SI peer educators are developing and enhancing themselves to graduate and professional schools and potential employers. More importantly, this study adds to the literature regarding students of color as the facilitators of the Supplemental Instruction program as most studies targeting the experiences of peer educators have been taken place at predominantly White institutions or samples. The results of this dissertation about SI leaders’ experiences at HBCUs can inform how training could better meet the needs of students of color as recipients and facilitators of peer educator programs. By presenting what peer leaders and SI programs at HBCUs are doing well, the findings can provide insight for peer education programs not accustomed to serving or hiring first-generation students and students of color effectively. This research contributes to addressing the gap in the literature regarding students of color serving in the peer educator role as well as showing the value of mentoring through academic peer education programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Klasik, Daniel J.
Commitee: Debebe, Geleye, Page, Yolanda W., Howard, Lionel, Sikorski, Tiffany-Rose
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Higher education, Educational administration, Educational leadership, Black studies, Education Policy, Educational sociology
Keywords: Peer educator challenges, HBCU, Educator motivation, Peer education, Supplemental instruction, Black student experiences, Black colleges and universities, Louisiana , Teamwork skills, Relationship-building
Publication Number: 28257204
ISBN: 9798698580010
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