BCFS Peer Learning Facilitator Leads Students’ Success
December 4, 2014
Senior, Julia Kirby works as a Peer Learning Facilitator, overseeing a Family and Consumer Sciences Foundations and Research class. The Family Consumer Science major, with an option in interior design, works under the direction of Dr. Yoko Mimura.
The Peer Learning Facilitators Program, which is part of the Building Connections for Success Program (BCFS), is supported through a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It allows students to supplement what they have learned in class with additional learning sessions, run by a Peer Learning Facilitator, that directly relate to in-class material.
Dr. Mimura has been involved with the PLF program since her teaching debut at CSUN. She took on Kirby as a PLF this semester and could not be more pleased with the results.
“Julia has been such an effective PLF. Students respect her as a peer who worked hard and finished FCS 380 with a high grade. Students know she is an award winning interior designer, on top of being able to write an excellent research paper,”Dr. Mimura said.
Kirby has had an equally rewarding experience working with Dr. Mimura. She speaks highly of her teaching methods.
“I have nothing but positive experiences with Dr. Mimura. She’s very encouraging, and her guidance is wonderful so I always know what to work on with the students,”Kirby said.
Kirby became involved with the PLF program after taking the class last semester with another PLF who recommended she try it out. She finds the program to be not only rewarding, but effective.
“My favorite part about being a PLF is helping to clarify what students are confused about. When I see the light go on and that they understand, and seem very confident in what they’re doing, I like that,”Kirby said.
It is also the students who make the PLF experience positive for Kirby. She admires the hard work and dedication of many of the students she assists.
“The students ask me to view a draft they have prepared way ahead of time, and I fix it for them and then they even bring it back to me to work on it again. I really admire that work, and I try to do the same as a student.”
Kirby has been able to not only build positive relationships with the students, but also helps them achieve superior grades. She makes the students feel comfortable enough to ask questions and seek help.
FCS 380 student, Eric Lam said, “When it comes to asking for assistance from professors, I am very hesitant. Julia takes away the anxiety I often have and makes PLF sessions pleasing and informative. I am appreciative for having instructors like Julia to really tap into students and truly get to know them.”
Lam admitted he was hesitant and even a bit afraid to take the course due to rumors he had heard about how challenging the course would be. But, he feels that Kirby and Dr. Mimura make a great team.
“Dr. Mimura and Julia Kirby are great together because of their enthusiasm and effort they present to students wanting them to succeed. During PLF sessions, Julia goes out of her way and answers any questions students have,”he said.
Another FCS 380 student, Shanera Johnson feels that having a PLF is extremely useful.
“My overall experience with Julia as a PLF instructor was awesome because she was very approachable with questions. She always tried to make the PLF workshops super interesting. The PLF is definitely useful in helping me with understanding the materials in the class,”Johnson said.
With graduation in the near future for Kirby, she is thankful to have been involved with the PLF Program.
“I see this program as a skill set that I can apply to any job I have in the future. I am now able to convey messages clearly and concisely in a presentation,”Kirby said.