A black male in a burgandy sweater stands at the chalkboard writing words as he teaches a class.

Academic Peer Mentors (AMP)

The Academic Peer Mentoring Program supports the integration of select undergraduates (AMPs*) into courses and research settings to work with instructors, as part of a team, to promote student learning and engagement. Through coursework (TLTC333) and hands-on experience, AMPs learn about the science behind effective teaching and develop the professional skills necessary to advance the outcomes of their fellow students. The program also provides instructors with guidance and community to help them determine AMP roles and responsibilities and develop beneficial partnerships with AMPs. The overall goals of the program are to: 

  • Create more active, student-centered, supportive, and inclusive teaching and learning experiences
  • Recognize students as partners in the instructional process
  • Build relationships and community among instructors and students
  • Increase motivation, engagement, and enthusiasm for learning for both instructors and students

*Note that in some courses and departments, AMPs have titles that align with disciplinary standards (e.g., undergraduate learning assistants, ULAs, or simply LAs). We use the common reference title of "AMP" across all applicable roles to reduce confusion.

AMPs are undergraduate academic peer mentors who provide experienced perspectives to students in a course they have previously completed successfully.  AMPs receive professional development experience through AMP courses TLTC 333 and TLTC 399, and work with instructors to achieve individualized learning outcomes for their mentorship. The benefits of participating as an AMP include:

  • Gain professional skills, mentorship, and leadership experience that develops self-efficacy and self-confidence
  • Explain fundamental concepts from scientific research on teaching, learning, and mentorship and apply those concepts to their role as an AMP and as a student
  • Create a mentorship portfolio that includes critical reflection on knowledge, skills, and experience developed

Faculty and graduate student instructors work with AMPs to enhance student learning in their course or research setting. By collaborating with AMPs as part of an instructional team, instructors also gain valuable insight and perspectives from undergraduate students. The program helps instructors to: 

  • Enhance pedagogical practices and increase the use of effective and inclusive teaching strategies
  • Demonstrate transformed thinking about teaching, informed by students’ perspectives, experiences, and needs
  • Develop skills in collaborating with and mentoring students as instructional partners

Undergraduate students in AMPed courses learn from students who have been successful and can share their perspectives and approaches. Students engage in one-on-one and small group interaction with AMPs to:

  • Engage, participate, and invest in the process of their own learning
  • Practice evidence-based strategies to master concepts and skills, manage time, and optimize effort and energy
  • Perceive increased sense-of-belonging and inclusion in learning spaces

AMPs interact with students. AMPs facilitate student learning by working with students one-on-one and in small groups both in-person and online. 

AMPs engage with instructors as part of a team. AMP instructors and AMPs meet regularly (virtually or in-person) to negotiate expectations, plan for upcoming instruction, reflect on course successes and challenges, and provide each other with helpful feedback.

AMPs engage in professional development. To support them in their role, all new AMPs complete TLTC 333 – Fundamentals of Academic Peer Mentoring, a one-credit blended course designed to provide them with the foundational knowledge and skills to be an effective peer mentor. The credit hours for TLTC 333 are independent of the time commitment associated with supporting any particular course.  AMPs may also receive additional independent study course credit for their time spent in the classroom and working with their course instructor by enrolling in TLTC 399 – Academic Mentoring Activity (or other departmental equivalents).  

Course Instructors

We'd love to have you participate as an AMP instructor! All new and returning AMP instructors for spring semester 2022, please fill out this simplified AMP Instructor Application, due by January 10, 2022. You'll be asked to list some contact information for yourself and any AMPs who will need additional independent study credits from the TLTC and to fill out some information about how you're planning on using AMPs in your course. You will need to have confirmed your AMPs by the time you fill out the application, so we recommend reaching out to potential AMPs in the second half of fall semester.

If you have questions about the program or would like to look through examples of how instructors have selected, communicated with, and used AMPs in the past, please read through the AMP Instructor Handbook.

Undergraduates

We'd love to have you serve as an AMP! Participation in the program and enrollment in TLTC333 and TLTC399 are limited to students who have already arranged an assignment with a participating instructor. If you're interested in being an AMP, please contact your instructor directly to inquire about openings, roles, schedules, and specific eligibility and selection criteria. We generally advise instructors to seek students who:

  • Have demonstrated subject mastery with “B” or higher level work in that course
  • Are in overall strong academic standing
  • Are dedicated to working directly with other students

If this is your first time being an AMP and you have arranged an assignment with an AMP instructor, please register for TLTC333: Fundamentals of Academic Peer Mentoring. If you've arranged to get independent study credits for your work as an AMP through the TLTC, your instructor will submit your information and you'll be invited to register for TLTC399: Independent Study in Academic Peer Mentoring.

If you have questions about the AMP Program, please contact tltc-amp@umd.edu!

Program logo generously gifted by J. Lehnert & S. McKinney

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