ZU Students Offer Peer Learning Best Practices at NACADA

14 Nov 2017


November 14, 2017

Members of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) have appreciated Zayed University’s PALs Symposium, which was recently held to observe Peer Assistant Leaders best-applied practices.

The symposium, termed “Peer into the future”, received 125 Faculty members and students from different regional and international educational institutes, such as the UAE University, American University of Sharjah and Kansas State University, to exchange concepts and experiences around the subject of peer tutoring support.

In her opening notes, Dr. Marilyn Roberts, Zayed University Provost, said that the applied Zayed University Peer Assistant Leaders (PALs) program translates as an innovative and forward-thinking educational tool.

Furthermore, “In 2018, Zayed University’s PALs will be operating a virtual program (V-PALs) to provide support to students who are studying online,” Roberts said.

The PALs program, which was introduced back in 2011 and has grown into one of the most effective student-led programs in ZU, has provided over 20,000 support sessions to fellow students by 500 PALs students.

“This semester, Fall 2017, 95 PALs students have provided 2000 support sessions, therefore, following the overlapping successes, we organized the symposium to share and perhaps help educational institutions develop a similar peer support program,” Roberts added.

For his part, Ed. D. Charlie L Nutt, Executive Director & Assistant Professor at NACADA, said that peer tutoring programs are essentials to a perfect higher education path, “In most scenarios, professors convey messages to students limited by classroom timeframes, then student tutors step in to further explain, describe, and clarify,” he said.

“Studies have shown that working within peer groups increases students focus, productivity and creativity, reaching accordingly to higher grades.”

During his presentation, Dr. Nutt enlightened attending peer learning tutors about leadership proficiencies, “Leaders must establish a clear vision and share it with others, they must provide accurate information, seek knowledge and methods to realize that vision. A wise leader must coordinate and balance conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders, then step up at times of crisis and act creatively with facts and data.”  

He added, “Students would want to follow a tutoring leader, not just because they have to or want to, but because of what they have established upon themselves and done for others in the group. Force doesn’t land a great leader, but rather admiration and respect.”

It’s worth mentioning that NACADA is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty members, and administrators who are working to enhance the educational development of students and promote student success by advancing the field of academic advising globally.  

NACADA not only provides an interactive forum for discussion, debate, and exchange of ideas pertaining to academic advising through numerous activities and publications but also serves as an advocate for effective academic advising by providing consulting services and funding for research related to academic advising.

NACADA evolved from the first National Conference on Academic Advising in 1977, was chartered in 1979, and now has over 10,000 members representing all 50 states.

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