Peer Academic Leaders are upperclass mentors for first-year students in UH. The term of a PAL is one academic year, beginning in August and ending the following May. In the fall semester of their term, a PAL works directly with students in the required first-year Gateway Seminar. In the spring semester, s/he hosts “The PAL is In” sessions for first-year students and advises the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs on matters related to future cluster themes and seminar topics.
Each Peer Academic Leader has a dedicated section of the required UH Gateway Seminar. The PAL assists an Honors faculty member in the management of the course and guides students through the academic and social challenges of the first-year experience. Beyond providing guidance and connecting students with resources on campus, PALs will play an integral role in presenting a key feature of the UH curriculum: Portfolium.
This leadership opportunity for PALs allows advanced students to impact the classroom experience of first-year students and deepen their own engagement with the UH curriculum. As apprentices who play a role in the success of a college course, PALs have an opportunity to learn sophisticated leadership and public speaking practices from University Honors faculty. Each PAL will be part of a Gateway Team, a group of PALs from 6 sections taught by the same faculty member. This cohort will support each other through meetings to discuss mentoring, leadership, student success, and more. In the Spring term, beyond the Gateway Seminar, PALs will have the opportunity to impact the UH curriculum more broadly in their capacity as advisors to the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs. This position is particularly suited to students who have excelled in UH and hope to enhance their leadership skills.
Applications for the PAL position are reviewed each Spring semester. Information about the 2021 application process will be announced at that time. In the meantime, questions about PALs may be directed to Dr. Christine Jones or Dr. Susie Underland.