Zayed University Program admired at NACADA Conference

29 Oct 2017

October 29, 2017

The Zayed University Peer Assistance Leaders (PALs) support program was highly praised and valued during the NACADA ‘Global Community for Academic Advising’ conference which was recently held in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

PALs, which was introduced to Zayed University back in Fall 2010, was based on the belief that highly academic students can play a significant role in the academic development of their peers.

Bryan Gilroy, Advisor to the Zayed University Provost, who presented the program during the NACADA conference, referred to ongoing talks with US Kansas State University on the program's best-practices, "KSU has shown interest in starting a similar peer tutoring program on their campus,” he said.

Gilroy has slated November 9, 2017, to an upcoming Symposium titled ‘Peer into the future’ which will be held at the Dubai Zayed University campus. "We are expecting the Director of NACADA Dr. Charlie Nutt, the Dean of Education from Kansas State University and six students from the same university to attend the ‘Peer into the future’ symposium."

“This is a reciprocal visit by our American visitors as four of our female PAL tutors visited Kansas State University in March this year. The four ladies were excellent representatives of our peer tutoring program and attended several workshops to disseminate what we do at PALs.”
Reaching the Khalifa Education Foundation 2013 Awards Finals, the PALs program has successfully attended to 41213 Zayed University students since its inception, with high expectations for further growth over the current semester and beyond.

The program is supervised by Glen Persello, a Senior Coordinator for Retention from the Office of the Provost at the Abu Dhabi Campus, and David Kerr, a Senior Coordinator for Retention in the Office of the Provost at the Dubai Campus. The PALs program was initially launched in Dubai.

"Peer interaction, peer support, and role modeling are all components of the Peer Assistance Leaders’ support. PALs are able to strengthen the impact of academic success when students work together," said Persello. Adding, "With this type of partnership between peers, better academic decisions are made by students and success can be achieved."

For his part, Kerr said, "The Peer Assistance Leader system has been set up as an additional support system to Zayed University students. It is in no way set up to replace existing support mechanisms in the university. The PALs will complement other university support structures."

"They will also support students at key points in their university life and it is based on a non-threatening and relaxed system to give students an additional perspective based on students who have gone through the university process," Kerr added.

Moreover, the PALs program has just completed a two-year research project in conjunction with the College of Education at Zayed University, gauging the effect of the program upon the tutor and the tutee.

Fatima Ebraheem, 21, a senior majoring in business, PALs volunteer, said, “PALs is a very nice experience, you teach students and sometimes you learn from them. Another nice thing is that we don’t have a president. We all are leaders.”

PALs students must have certain requirements and go through an interview process. Some of the requirements are to have a GPA higher than 3.0 and possess good oral and written communication skills.

Mahra Al Manhali, 21, Information Technology senior student, said, "PALs is a convenient program, especially if you are new and you seek further knowledge at the University". Students will not feel shy to ask a student as they feel to ask a teacher, so every student should know about PALs, not just in Zayed University but across all higher educational institutes.”


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