Peer facilitation has existed as an official component of CHID since 1993, when Jim Clowes and 12 students created CHID 110. Together they determined that the goals of the course required a structure that would enhance the focus on discussion and writing required for the successful exchange of ideas. Since then, it has been incorporated into a wide range of classes, including CHID 390, CHID 222 Biofutures, CHID 260 (Re)Thinking Diversity, CHID 250 Hip Hop in the 206, CHID 300 Ideas in Art, and a few other special topics courses, and has taken many different forms.
Peer facilitating offers students an excellent opportunity to link pedagogical theory, group leadership, curriculum planning, and writing in a classroom setting. As a “facilitator” and not a “teacher,” the Peer Facilitator (PF) plays a unique role within the class, helping peers to better understand and critically assess the material and issues explored. As undergraduates themselves, PFs model for other students that they need to take responsibility for their own work, to think critically of what they do and say and not depend on a professional “thinker” to tell them what is and isn’t good. PFs are meant to help students think through the power dynamics of university classrooms, and the importance of individual participation in the formation of a productive and dynamic learning community.
PFs are usually juniors or seniors who are either CHID majors or are highly familiar with the CHID Program, and who have taken the course for which they are PFing in the past. Each PF will receive 5-10 credits of CHID 497.