Undergraduate Peer Mentor positions available for Summer 2015 online class ISS 215 “Navigating U.S. Culture”

The MSU Department of Anthropology is accepting applications from students interested in being Undergraduate Peer Mentors in a 200-level ISS online class focused on exploring social and cultural diversity in the United States. Peer mentors work with groups of about 10–15 students to encourage them to stay engaged with class materials and assignments. You should gain valuable experience serving as a peer mentor in an online MSU class, where you will have some flexibility to creatively use online media to support a small group of learners. You will also gain expertise in cross-cultural relations, a skill increasingly valued by employers in a globalized, interdependent world.

Role and duties

Undergraduate Peer Mentors will work online with groups of ten to fifteen enrolled students to help them better connect with each other and the course materials, so as to help them better achieve the three primary learning goals of this class:

  1. Exploring U.S. culture and society to help international students better adapt to life in the United States, understand their experiences here, and understand what affects how they are perceived in the U.S.;
  2. Helping domestic U.S. students better understand their own culture and society from a more detached point of view, and how the U.S. is experienced by a variety of “outsiders”.
  3. Overall, to become more culturally self-aware and able to navigate other cultures.

To do this you will be expected to:

Facilitate and comment on (but not grade) student participation in online assignments;
Provide weekly and end of the course reports regarding course issues; encourage students to communicate questions and concerns to you, which you can anonymously relay to the TA or professor;

Use your personal experiences and knowledge of the basics of sociocultural anthropology to facilitate student discussion of class topics in various online media such as Facebook;

Use your personal experiences and knowledge as a student to give the instructor feedback about course materials (what’s interesting, what’s working/not working, are assignments clear and reasonable, etc.); Contribute at least twice during the term to the “Peer Mentor” blog, which will both incorporate your personal experiences relating to course topics as well as summaries and highlights of student related experiences and writings that you’ve gleaned from student assignments;
Communicate and exchange ideas with other mentors and instructor/TA, both in an in person meeting TBA before class starts, and via required weekly scheduled meetings (video if you are not at MSU this summer; you are encouraged to attend in person if your are on campus this summer session 1).

As a peer mentor, you will earn a $300 stipend and a certificate of completion upon satisfactory completion of your duties. The minimum time commitment is: one two hour meeting on campus before the spring semester ends in order to orient yourself to the course and your duties; 5–7

hours of work per week between May 18 and July 2, which can be done online (i.e. you do not have to be living in East Lansing to do this; you just need to have a computer and an internet connection).

Application procedure

Priority will be given to anthropology majors, minors or cognates, and secondarily to applicants who have completed substantial coursework in sociocultural anthropology.

Other coursework related to U.S. culture and society is a plus, as is experience working with international student issues (but neither is required). Experience using WordPress and using social media/digital tools to facilitate group work in an educational/work setting will be helpful but is not required (though you will have to learn to use at least WordPress). If you participated satisfactorily as a mentor in US 14, you are eligible to apply again. To apply, please email by May 1 to Professor Adán Quan (quan@msu.edu) a short statement of interest, including:

  1. Name
  2. Year and major
  3. Sociocultural anthropology courses taken (as well as any other relevant coursework, training, or experiences)
  4. One or two paragraphs explaining your interest in this position and your background and experiences will help you be an effective mentor; mentioning one or two specific concepts or readings from a previous class that you feel are relevant to this class topic.