SS_F19_RecruitmentCourse 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. Alongside the instructor, you 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/facilitation strategies
    • Work with the instructor to 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, college, or with life in general
    • Guide students toward the improvement of their written and oral expression
    • Facilitate on your own, one class discussion/ activity, under the guidance of the instructor
    • Complete a final project under the guidance of the program

Central CLS Seminar 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
  3. knowledge and our understanding of truth?
  4. 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?
  5. What is human nature? What shapes our identity?
  6. What is a good life for humans? What is a good way for humans to live?
  7. What is a responsible citizen?  How should a responsible citizen act?
  8. What are the roles and responsibilities of teachers, students, and the academy in society?
  9. 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.  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. Regularly check in with your assigned 101 course instructor for class prep and to more clearly define your role within the classroom.  
  3. Obtain knowledge of the CLS 101 or US 101 class syllabus and overview to gain awareness of the Seminar curriculum.
  4. While mentors may be assigned to take role each class period, mentors will not be responsible for managing overall attendance or inputting attendance grades, nor will they be responsible for any official evaluation of CLS 101 coursework.
  5. Schedule and conduct one-on-one meetings with each first-year student outside of class during weeks 3 and 4 of the semester and before faculty begin their own one-on-ones with the students around midterms.
  6. Assist in facilitation of class introductions and ice-breaker activities in order to establish a strong foundation of community among the first-year students and their Mentor and Faculty.  Mentors will also be tasked, under the guidance of the 101 instructor, to faciliate one class discussion and/or activity on their own. 
  7. Model courteous, respectful, and civil in-class behavior to students. This means, at a minimum, arriving regularly, 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.
  8. Model intellectual in-class behavior.  This means that you will come to class prepared, stay on top of readings/ reading schedules, and bring assigned readings to class, come ready to talk about concepts found in the texts, actively participate in discussion as necessary, and practice compassion and intelligent guidance when students in the class encounter difficulties.
  9. Check D2L at least every 48 hours.  Your 101 and/or CLS 460 instructor may post important announcements/ assignments on D2L, and you are responsible for staying on top of that information.  As a Sophomore Surge Mentor, you will also be asked with posting various announcements throughout the semester.  You may also be responsible for Brightspace/D2L explanation and demonstrations as well. 
  10. Be available to help students complete oral and written assignments during workshops and otherwise.
  11. Let your assigned course instructor and/or CLS 460 instructor(s) know if you are having problems in the course.
  12. 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.
  13. See also perks and responsibilities associated with this role via the Sophomore Surge webpage including a $500 stipend, free meals, team building exercises, leadership courses, opportunities to engage with other peer mentors, and so on.  

We are here to help

We understand that mentoring and helping to co-faciliate a class can be a challenge!  As part of CLS 460, you will have opportunities to meet with other mentors and program facilitators to go over key concepts, crisis training, and mentor/ leadership training.  Over the span of the training course in the spring semester, and the CLS 460 mentoring course in the fall or spring semester, 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