Signature Course Undergraduate Assistants (SCUGAs) are outstanding undergraduate students who assist Signature Course faculty members with their small format UGS 302 classes and provide peer leadership to new students. Faculty members nominate former students in the spring semester regarding a position the following fall. The First-Year Experience office works with the selected students and offers various meetings throughout the semester to provide an overview, check-in mid-semester, and get feedback from the students about their experience. The students who take on this role have great interpersonal skills and enjoy helping other students and interacting with faculty members. Faculty members work closely with their undergraduate assistants to discern the students’ main job duties and responsibilities. The partnership benefits both parties as faculty members receive the assistance they need to conduct a successful course and the students gain valuable life and academic experiences from a peer.
“My Signature Course Undergraduate Assistant is highly effective in supporting/helping our students through their transition from high school to college, both academically and socially. Because she is close to the students in age, the assistant provides a significant opportunity to interact with the students in a way that may be different than the professor. She uses her skills/experiences to prepare the students for the rigor of the course by giving them tips and tricks to study smarter. Using her own experiences, she can also serve as a confidant to the students and provide advice on how to adjust to college living. In my class, she helps to creatively manage the efficient classroom, digital communication, assists in curriculum planning, lecture series and helps with on-campus field trips. Moreover, during her office hours, she assists the students to improve their writing and discuss concepts” – Mehdi Haghshenas, Signature Course Professor of “What We See, What We Believe”
“My experience [in my Signature Course] was invaluable. The course taught me to not only appreciate my surroundings and peers but to know them. I have grown as an individual and there is nothing I want more than to take students along on this journey.” – Michelle Terry, SCUGA for What We See, What We Believe
“I’m excited to facilitate discussions on the environmental issues in Austin and get students excited about science.” – Lauren Borland, SCUGA for “Environmental Issues in Austin”
“I’m excited to hear the perspectives from students about the topics we discuss and how they differ from my own. I hope the students will grow from this experience!” – Anastasiya Byelousova, SCUGA for “What is Power?”
“Being able to help new students settle in and learn what it really means to be a college kid is so exciting for me, especially in a class I found so fun and eye-opening.” – Caroline Green, SCUGA for “Tales of the Trojan War”