Everything You Wanted to Know About Peer Education Advising But Were Afraid to Ask


Advisor Academy Faculty

September 12, 2016

Picture it, your campus, 2016. You’ve been asked to start and advise a peer education group. Now you’re asking yourself how do I do this? There is no handbook or manual when it comes to working with peer education groups. But fear not! We, the Jedi Masters of the Advisor Academy, are here to teach you the ways of the force...er...advisor.

Who should attend Advisor Academy?

For many years, the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA has offered the Advisor Academy, aimed at folks who are new to advising peer health education groups. This includes staff and graduate students who are new to the field, as well as seasoned professionals who have not previously advised peer health educators.

What’s our goal?

To provide advisors with the foundational knowledge needed to effectively advise a peer education group. But really, it’s more than that. We want to give you a forum not just to learn, but to ask questions, brainstorm ideas, and meet others. It’s a conversation, not a lecture, based on the group’s needs. We also want participants to be able to connect with us and with one another. One of your best resources will be the ability to connect with other advisors during those times when you have questions or concerns. Advisor Academy gives you a chance to meet, and exchange contact info with a group of dedicated peer education advisors.

What will you learn?

Advisor Academy covers a wide-range of topics including health promotion and student development theories used in advising peer educators, your role as an advisor within the organization, understanding the culture, and legal and ethical standards of your institution, how to build and sustain a peer education group, training peer educators, and assessment and evaluation. Sound like a lot? It is, but we focus on those areas that will give newer advisors a leg up when working with their peer education group.

You will note we do not cover programming in Advisor Academy. This is intentional -- the entire General Assembly experience is packed with programming ideas on a wide range of health and safety topics. Also, the topics addressed by peer education groups can shift over time as campus needs change. We focus instead on skills and knowledge that are essential for advisors to possess regardless of the group’s focus, similar to how the Certified Peer Educator (CPE) training is structured.

Do participants find it helpful?

We like to think so, but don’t take our word for it.

"As a new student affairs professional, I found it to be extremely beneficial to attend the BACCHUS Advisor Academy. The BACCHUS Academy served as a great resource to meet many colleagues from other institutions who have advised peer educators for years, or are beginning to implement a peer education program on their campus. I met many of the professionals who conducted the BACCHUS Advisor Academy during my undergraduate and graduate school career, and I can honestly say that each individual has had a significant impact on my life and inspired me to pursue my current profession as a health and wellness coordinator in higher education."
- Amanda J. Papinchock, Coordinator, Violence Prevention and Peer Education, Illinois State University

Want to know even more?

Advisor Academy starts during the pre-conference sessions for General Assembly on Thursday, November 17. Check out 2016 BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA General Assembly page for more information.

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