Wittenberg strives to create and to develop a community of learners – an environment where students can engage fully in the learning process. Most students come to college with fears and uncertainty – fears of failing tests or not fitting in with peers. Being afraid to ask questions, express opinions, or join group discussions can greatly hinder a student's learning. A community of learners is a place that supports inquiry and helps students generate ideas.
In the last ten years student development research has made two connected and surprising discoveries: the most significant influences on learning for first-year students, and the most profound source of their anxiety in college, are their relationships with older students. The WittSem peer mentoring program responds to both discoveries.
We believe the peer mentors serve as social and cultural guides for new students. This is a role faculty play in the intellectual lives of first-year students whose success depends on their ability to master the "insider" knowledge of academic culture: how to formulate a research question, how to think through difficult problems or texts, how to build an argument step by step. Our peer mentors play a complementary role by providing "insider" knowledge of campus life and personal development. We are constantly working to support and integrate these two forms of knowledge by putting both guides in the same room at the same time, deeply invested in the success of the same course.
For more information about Peer Mentors or the WittSem Program, please click here.