Note - starting in Fall 2018, CLS Student Fellows will apply as Sophomore Surge mentors.  You can apply here


Course Description:

The purpose of the CLS Seminar Sophomore Surge Mentor (CLS 460: Teaching Internship) is to provide you with an exciting and challenging opportunity to guide new students as they expand their intellectual interests, learn about various resources on campus, improve their critical thinking skills, and enjoy conversation in a community of learners. Your role is to work with the assigned instructor to help CLS 101 students grasp and connect to readings, understand campus and community resources available to them, and discuss, critique, present on, and write about the course texts.  These texts cover a wide range of topics such as philosophy, injustices, morality, and humanity, and incorporate a wide range of genres from poetry to scholarly articles and books. The main course themes are knowledge, identity, and community.

You will help new students engage in dialogue that involves a variety of perspectives across many disciplinary topics; you are the facilitator for involving new students in university life and in college level learning through reading, thinking, and dialogue. You alongside the instructor will help challenge students to think and communicate in a small group setting while developing critical listening skills and honing their writing abilities.   Books and course materials will be provided to CLS 460 mentors free of charge for the semester.  Please know as well that CLS 460 is one of the electives that can count towards an MSU Leadership Fellows Certificate.  You can learn more about this certificate here.


CLS 460 Course Goals:

Successful students in CLS 460 will:

  • Learn and practice teaching strategies
    • Develop daily conversation questions that are thoughtful and related to the text
    • Initiate conversation that is exciting, intellectual, and text-related
    • Guide conversation toward intellectual, diverse and constructive questions and topics
    • Enforce standards of critical thinking and presentation of textual and other evidence in the classroom
    • Monitor attendance if/ as necessary
  • Learn and practice mentoring skills under the guidance of Sophomore Surge instructors, facilitators, and campus resource administrators
    • Answer student questions about MSU and university life
    • Be available to coach students having difficulty in the class or in college
    • Guide students toward the improvement of their written and oral expression
    • Complete a final project under the guidance of your instructor

Central Course Questions:

1. What does it mean “to know”? What does it mean “to be wise”? What is “truth”?

2. What is the nature and function of conversation?  How does it relate to our acquisition of

    knowledge and our understanding of truth?

3. How can we recognize and question our own preconceived notions and develop a
    better understanding of the world and our place in it? How do preconceived notions
    influence our actions?

4. What is human nature? What shapes our identity?

5. What is a good life for humans? What is a good way for humans to live?

6. What is a responsible citizen?  How should a responsible citizen act?

7. What are the roles and responsibilities of teachers, students, and the academy in society?

8. What responsibilities do citizens have for thinking critically about their society? What
    responsibility do we have to act for the good of society?

Mentor Responsibilities:  

1. Attend all classes, out of class activities, and instructor/mentor meetings (see fall 2018's CLS 460 in Schedule of Classes for assigned meeting times).  If a mentor must be absent, s/he needs to inform his/her Instructor(s) depending on which portion of class is missed (CLS 101 assigned instructor, or 460 instructor(s).

2. Take attendance as assigned by your instructor

3. Be able to answer questions about the syllabus, assignments, and course requirements throughout the semester.

4. Model courteous, respectful, and civil in-class behavior to students. This means, at a minimum, arriving on time, not having side conversations during discussion, turning off your cell phone, and not packing up and getting ready to leave before the end of class.

5. Model intellectual in-class behavior.  This means that you will come to class prepared and ready to talk about concepts found in the readings, actively participate in discussion, and practice compassion and intelligent guidance when students in the class encounter difficulties.

6. Print all on-line readings and bring them to class, and bring assigned books.

7. Check D2L at least every 48 hours.  Your instructor may post important announcements on D2L, and you are responsible for that information.  As a Sophomore Surge Mentor, you may also be asked to post various announcements throughout the semester.

8. Be available to help students complete all the oral and written assignments.

9. Let your assigned course instructor and/or CLS 460 instructor(s) know if you are having problems in the course.

10. Adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty.  At the least, plagiarism, deliberately using someone else’s language, ideas, or other original material without acknowledg­ing your source, will result in failing an assignment.  This policy applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers. Depending on the severity of the offense, a person who engages in academic dishonesty may fail the course and/or face further disciplinary action by the university.

11. See also perks and responsibilities associated with this role via the Sophomore Surge webpage including free meals, team building exercises, leadership courses, weekly opportunity to engage with other peer mentors, and so on.  

We are here to help

We understand that co-facilitating a class can be a challenge!  As part of CLS 460, you will be generally meeting weekly with other mentors and program facilitators to go over key concepts, crisis training, and mentor/ leadership training.  You'll also attend fun and thought provoking mentor/ faculty meetings to discuss course texts, themes, and activities that can be incorporated prior to actually implementing these ideas with your freshmen, as a practice run of sorts.  In a relatively short time, you will get to know your fellow mentors, instructors, and program administrators and will have a team around you who can offer assistance and guidance to you along the way.


Apply to be a CLS 460 mentor/ Sophomore Surge Mentor here