Student Co-Leader Program
Interested in guiding discussion and co-leading a Seminar course inside and outside the classroom?
Seminar Co-Leader Program
The Seminar Co-Leader Program gives outstanding students the chance to co-lead a Seminar course alongside an experienced faculty mentor. Student co-leaders receive hands-on leadership experience in the classroom, while engaging more deeply with the Seminar curriculum.
As a Co-Leader you will:
- Hone your skills in oral communication and shared inquiry, and develop the virtues and habits of mind nurtured by Seminar.
- Cultivate a professional relationship with a supportive faculty mentor.
- Find your voice and relate to your peers in a new leadership role in the classroom.
Student Co-Leaders attend one or two training workshops and receive a total of .50 credit for their work:
- Keeping up with the readings.
- Attending classes,
- Meeting with a faculty mentor outside of class on a regular basis.
- Possibly holding office hours with students outside of class on a limited basis.
- Co-leaders do not do writing assignments or evaluate other students' participation or work.
Get a Mentor
The program matches selected students to Seminar faculty members who mentor and support them as they learn and grow as Seminar leaders. Selected co-leaders help to facilitate discussion in a Seminar course they have already taken, typically Seminars 001, 002, 102, or 103.
Our highest priority is to ensure mutually rewarding relationships between student co-leaders and faculty mentors. The matching process takes into consideration the number of available spots and scheduling issues. The most important consideration is compatibility.
In order to facilitate the matching process, interested students apply to be a co-leader in the semester before they wish to take the course.
The application process works as follows:
Each semester (around midterms) Seminar faculty are invited to nominate students whom they believe are qualified for the Co-Leader Program. Experienced student co-leaders may also nominate students. Students may nominate themselves by writing to the program coordinator.
Students who decide they would like to be co-leaders submit an online application to the coordinator by the due date specified on the application link (typically during the 9th or 10th week of classes). The application is a 1-page (300 word) essay answering the following prompt:
“What do you think should be the role of a student co-leader in Seminar? Explain your answer by giving an example, drawn from your own experience, of something that went well or that went poorly in a Seminar class.”
Applications should also include your name, major(s) and/or minor(s), year at Saint Mary’s, and a list of previously completed Seminar courses along with your professors’ names. Lastly, please indicate the Seminar(s) you would like to co-lead.
An important note to keep in mind is that Seminar 1 is only taught in the spring semester (Seminar 2, fall only), so students who have only taken Seminar 1 will be able to serve as a co-leader for the following spring semester. We want to ensure students feel confident with the Seminar reading list and be familiar with the Seminar authors in order to best support and co-facilitate shared inquiry in the Seminar classroom.
Students will be notified of the status of their applications in two to three weeks.
The program is open to motivated undergraduates who have excelled in their previous Seminar course(s). In particular, we seek students who can take responsibility for class discussions, and can help their peers learn from the texts and from each other.
Since Spring 2015, the program has attracted students from many backgrounds and majors, with a wide range of personal interests and professional goals. These include:
- Students interested in careers in education
- Students interested in careers in business
- Students interested in applying to graduate and professional schools
Past student co-leaders have included majors in Archeology, Biology, English, Psychology, Business, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Environmental and Earth Science.
The program is ideal for students who have had a particularly transformative experience in Seminar, and who want to share that kind of experience with others.
A Few Words from a Former Co-Leader
I enjoy helping the Seminar Program because it is my belief that [student] co-leaders are the reason why so many discussions go so incredibly well. It is our job to help students thrive in Seminar, not only through discussion, but also through finding deeper meanings in the text. We get to watch them find things in the text that we’ve never even thought of, and it is one of the most rewarding experiences seeing a student who hasn’t talked much most of the semester make an amazing comment that is received well by their fellow classmates. The validation in their face is enough to make the harder parts of co-leading worthwhile.
- Seminar Governing Board Student Representative, Holly McAdams, ’17