DKU’s peer leader programs become first in China to receive CRLA certification | Duke Kunshan University

DKU’s peer leader programs become first in China to receive CRLA certification

April 20, 2021

Duke Kunshan has become the first university in China to receive certification from the international College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) for its peer mentoring and tutoring programs.

The CRLA, an organization of student-oriented professionals in college-level and adult education, provides a forum for sharing ideas, methods and information to improve student learning and professional growth.

Since 1989, the U.S.-based association has certified peer leader training programs at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in recognition of reaching international standards in skills and training.

Duke Kunshan has received both the International Peer Educator Training Program Certification and the International Tutor Training Program Certification for peer leader programs led by the Office of Undergraduate Advising.

Peer tutors are high-achieving DKU students who possess a solid grasp of course materials and excellent study habits.

“We’re so proud to have Duke Kunshan join the family of CRLA certified tutor and peer educator training programs, particularly as it’s the first CRLA-certified program in China,” said Roberta Schotka, CRLA certifications director. “Earning CRLA certification means the university has met rigorous requirements for sound hiring practices, planned and structured training, guided tutoring experience and regular performance evaluations.”

The Office of Undergraduate Advising provides a student-centered signature experience that promotes holistic learning and understanding of the integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum.

The peer tutor program is a critical component of the Academic Resource Center (ARC) at Duke Kunshan. Peer tutors are high-achieving undergraduates with a solid understanding of course materials, and excellent study skills and habits, who provide course-specific academic support and resources.

Yunqi Zhu, an ARC academic success tutor and leader of the program, said peer tutors receive comprehensive training in the summer and ongoing support throughout the academic year to deepen their understanding of the university’s distinct liberal arts curriculum and to develop their leadership skills.

Peer mentors at DKU foster a sense of belonging and, at the same time, hone their communication and leadership skills.

Meanwhile, the peer mentor program launched in 2019 aims to foster a sense of belonging among undergraduates through community building.

“This program is especially significant because DKU currently doesn’t have any alumni, so this provides a structure for incoming freshmen to learn from the experience of upperclass students, who are paving the way for future generations at DKU,” said Jennifer Kuang, senior coordinator for academic advising. “Peer mentors also hone their communication and leadership in the process.”

Glory Agun ’23, who tutors fellow students in biology, said she has found the experience “extremely rewarding” because the bidirectional learning process has allowed her to practice and improve her interpersonal skills.

“It’s equipped me to have higher quality interactions with my peers and professors at DKU,” she said. “Engaging with a diverse range of tutees in one-on-one sessions and study groups has helped me improve my organizational, relational and emotional intelligence.

“Most importantly,” she added, “the experience has made me a team player, an active listener, a skilled multitasker, a conscious leader, and an active learner.”

Find out more about Academic Advising at Duke Kunshan.