Student Affairs

Developing a Peer Involvement Advising Program to Promote Co-Curricular Learning

Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Adam Peck
Price: $98.00

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In Completing College, Vincent Tinto (2012) called on institutions to create, "coherent pathways" and "align institutional action" for student success. This can be especially hard to do in student affairs in which a myriad of exciting programs compete for students' attention. George Kuh and his colleagues (2005) address this concern specifically in Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter, saying, "Many colleges claim to provide high-quality learning environments for their students. Too often, however, such experiences are products of serendipity or efforts on the part of students themselves. Moreover, for every student who has such an experience, there are others who do not connect in meaningful ways with their teachers, their peers, or take advantage of learning opportunities. As a result, many students leave school prematurely, or put so little effort into their learning that they fall short of benefiting from college to the extent they should" (p. 9 and 10). Put simply, the "curriculum" of the co-curriculum often lacks the kind of intentionality and coordination of our academic counterpart.

Additionally, some of the ways that we seek to engage students in cocurricular programs do not engage all student populations. In a recent edition of About Campus, Joseph Murray (2010) wrote, "I wonder if the predominant personality traits of those who enter the field have led us to favor forms of campus involvement that advance only a much narrower definition of personal development than we have come to embrace in our rhetoric." Clearly programs like involvement fairs which are common on college campuses are designed for extraverts; people who aren't hesitant to break the ice with someone they don't know. Perhaps it is as Murray suggests; that it is our own personality types that lead us to design programs of this sort. Perhaps it is the lack of viable alternatives. At Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas we have created a concept called the Involvement Center that may provide just such an alternative.

The Involvement Center and Peer Involvement Advising Program at Stephen F. Austin State University were developed to address these important and persistent problems in higher education. Assessment indicates that the program is quite effective in doing so. After three full years of existence, the IC is exceeding expectations and may provide a unique model for deeply engaging both outgoing and introverted students and providing them with a means to prime future learning through their experiences.

In the past four years, countless schools have contacted SFA with a desire to create a similar program on their campus. Many have been successful. However, many struggle to build the coalition necessary to fully realize the benefits of our model. This session will provide step-by-step guidance for institutions who want to develop this program.


  • Understand the benefits of the Peer Involvement Advising model.
  • Understand the multiple considerations of developing such a program (staffing, budgeting, assessing, coalition building) and be prepared to apply why they learn to the context of their campus.
  • Understand how to assess the effectiveness of their program.


  • Career Development/Career Services Professionals
  • Student Activities Professionals
  • Student Organization Advisors
  • Student Affairs Assessment Staff
  • Mid-Level Professionals
  • Senior Professionals


Dr. Adam Peck has served as Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas since 2008 and has been a student affairs practitioner for more than 20 years. He currently serves as President for the Texas Association of College Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA) and as State Director for Texas of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He has previously served as Chair of the Texas Deans of Students Association. His book, "Project CEO: Demonstrating the Impact of Cocurricular Experiences on the Skills Employers Demand" is being published by NASPA Press and will come out in early 2017. He is the author of more than twenty scholarly articles, five book chapters and has presented more than seventy-five national and international webinars.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Lewis University, a Master of Arts in Speech Communication from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

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