Minority Peer Counselor (MPC)
Job Description and Expectations
We at Brown University believe that the experience students receive in the residence hall is integral to their academic, social, intellectual, and personal growth. We believe that student life in the residence hall is not separate from the academic mission of the University, but rather is supportive of students’ total development.
The Minority Peer Counselor (MPC) is a paraprofessional staff member who works actively to support Brown’s philosophy by promoting personal growth, social responsibility, and intellectual development through community-based interactions in a first-year residence hall unit, with a special emphasis on mentoring and supporting first year students of color. The MPC works closely with their unit Co-Counselor team which consists of a Resident Counselor (RC) and Women Peer Counselor (WPC) to facilitate this objective.
MPCs are expected to:
- Work on all levels with their unit Co-Counselor staff members (Co-Cs), Residential Life’s Community Directors, other MPCs, MPC Coordinators, Assistant Director for First and Second Year Programs (FSYP), and other TWC and Brown professional staff to ensure the efficient operation of first-year living units.
- Respond to the personal, social and academic needs of first-year residential students, with an emphasis to students of color.
- Build community and support among first year students of color.
- Facilitate an environment that fosters respect and safety and is conducive to academic and social success.
- Act on a commitment to diversity and pluralism by fostering honest and compassionate dialogue within the residential area and to address problems of discrimination, harassment, and intolerance.
- Maintain good academic and judicial status.
- Reside in campus housing throughout the academic year and be available to assist with the daily operations of a residential environment.
In addition, MPCs, as representatives of the Third World Center (TWC), are expected to assist in the development of the Center’s mission:
- To provide an environment in which Arab, Asian, Black, Latino, Multiracial, and Native American students can feel comfortable celebrating their cultural heritages;
- To provide a base from which Third World students can have an impact as a community at Brown;
- To expand the social awareness of the University community with regards to current issues involving the status of Third World people at Brown University and in society at large; and
- To equip students with life-long skills to aid them as they navigate their journey at Brown and beyond.
In January of 1973, the Minority Peer Counselor (MPC) Program was created by Black upperclass students. The counselors volunteered their services to provide Black students with ongoing academic support with an emphasis on building a sense of community, tradition and strength. The concept of " Third World " evolved, and minority students from Latino, African American, Asian American, Multiracial, Native American, and Arab Americans backgrounds began to build coalitions and work together, which influenced the scope and new direction of the MPC Program which presently provides compensation for the position and oversight through the TWC.
By using a system of community support, the student-run program has had a significant impact on making Third World incoming students feel comfortable in a predominately white institution. MPCs receive comprehensive training on a range of skills, which include navigating/awareness of the -isms (i.e., racism, classism, sexism, etc.), active listening, crisis intervention, mediation, conflict resolution, promoting pluralism and diversity, and building community. They are a vital link in the network of support available to new students of color.
- Rising Sophomore, Junior or Senior status.
- Past experience or strong interest in activities related to social justice. This may include participating in the Third World Transition Program (TWTP) or working with the TWC in some capacity.
- Previous mentoring, peer leadership, and programming experience preferred but not required.
- A positive “can do” attitude and proven ability to follow through on assignments.
- The ability to be open-minded and receptive to policies and procedures that are constantly reviewed and altered to enhance the services offered to students residing in campus facilities and the work of the TWC.
- Creativity, problem solving, time management and stress management skills.
- Good academic, judicial and social standing.
- Transferable managerial skills to “real world” career opportunities, leadership development, extensive training in the areas of student development and diversity, and an opportunity to work as part of a talented team.
- Stipend: $2,678.00 per year.
Residential Peer Leader Training:
- RPLs must attend two extensive training sessions during the academic year. The first training session takes place during the summer and the second session will occur prior to the start of the spring semester. Please note that MPCs will receive specialized training as a component of their summer training. You will be committed to remain in the Providence area through the first day of classes during each semester.
MPCs are strongly encouraged to participate in Spring Training to learn more about the Third World Center and their specialized responsibilities as MPCs. The dates are as follows:
Saturday, March 16th: Welcome and Orientation
Tuesday, April 2nd: Training Session 1
Tuesday, April 9th: Training Session 2
Tuesday, April 23rd: Training Session 3
Each session will be no more than two hours. They will be arranged at times that can accommodate the most schedules.
TIME COMMITMENT AND AVAILABILITY
- MPCs are required to meet for:
- Weekly regular staff meetings with their regional CDs (reserve up to two hours per meeting).
- Bi-weekly small group meetings with their small group MPCC (reserve up to one hour per meeting).
- Monthly FSYP meetings with the MPCCs, TWTP Coordinators, and MPC Friends (reserve up to an hour per meeting).
- Monthly TWC ALL Student Staff Meetings (reserve up to two hours).
- Monthly General Body Meetings with MPC Coordinators and the Assistant Director for FSYP (reserve up to one hour per meeting).
- Meet as needed with their working group and MPCCs to develop workshop plans.
- One-on-one meeting with the Assistant Director for FSYP and their CD (reserve up to an hour for each meeting).
- MPCs are expected to be available during the Third World Transition Program.
- Please be advised that based on the needs of the program under which you are hired, you may be required to participate in additional meetings, training sessions and programs that require use of your time.
- Facilitate unit meetings throughout the academic year, if needed, to address community issues or concerns.
SPECIFIC JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
MPCs will receive specialized training on academic support services, advising, workshop development and facilitation for diversity programming and bias incident support. Minority Peer Counselors will live in residential areas and will be responsible for the following:
1. Providing academic and personal support
- Offer peer-to-peer advice on class selection, time management, stress management, and the transition to college.
- Remain available and accessible to first years as needed.
- Assist University officials serving as a point of contact, i.e., check-in with student, campus crisis such as hurricane, dangerous situation in building or area, etc.
- Check in with first years to offer support and encouragement.
- Being aware of on-campus resources and directing students to applicable services, resources, knowledgeable fellow students, MPCs, and MPC Friends.
2. Building community
- Host two “meet & greets,” or gatherings of their residents, per semester with a focus on building relationships between the MPC and the students.
- Assist in the development of community standards.
- Take action to address inappropriate behavior.
- Promote positive and productive relationships among residents.
- Facilitate conflict mediation.
- Promote Third World Center and Brown campus-wide activities by attending various TWC events, including all history month and week convocations, as well as Brown campus-wide events.
- Encourage friends, residents, and RPLs to accompany them to convocations and other TWC programs and Brown campus-wide events.
- Advertise events to first year students in residential dorms through fliers, emails and other forms of marketing.
- Work with student groups and other departments on campus to collaborate in MPC workshops, within the workshop structure specified by the MPC Program.
- Participate in community development efforts of the University specifically geared towards members of the Third World community.
3. Fostering awareness around issues of race and ethnicity, gender, class, heterosexism/ homophobia, religion, ability, and other aspects of identity
- Introduce the MPC program to first years.
- Assess the specific diversity-related discussions that are needed in the particular region by communicating with RPLs, CDs and first-year students.
- Develop, implement, and facilitate one workshop per semester per assigned working group, focused on an identity issue affecting students at Brown.
- Collaborate with RPLs in carrying out publicity and outreach efforts for workshops
- Host one “meet & greets,” or gatherings of their residents, per semester with a focus on building relationships between the MPCs and the students.
- Host one resource fair per semester with a focus on campus resources, academic support or any other resources considered appropriate by the programming group.
- Host one identity workshop per semester with assigned working group, focused on an identity issue affecting students at Brown.
- Collaborate with fellow unit RPLs, other student groups and resources.
5. Providing bias intervention support
- Support students in the event of a bias incident.
- Encourage victimized students to report incidents to the Department of Public Safety and the Community Director in their residential area.
- Connect victimized students with the appropriate resources for support.
- Follow up with the appropriate Dean or administrator responsible for bias incidents and crisis situations.
- Notify and submit an electronic report to MPC Coordinators, the Assistant Director for FSYP, and the Director of the TWC, copying the CD.
- Organize an educational program in response to the incident in conjunction with the MPCCs, CDs and TWC staff, circumstances permitting.
6. Administrative responsibilities of the MPC role.
- Participate in Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 training.
- Submit electronic Weekly Reports to the Assistant Director for FSYP and Residential Life assigned Community Director.
- Serve on a rotation to submit weekly facilities reports.
- Submit electronic workshop proposal and evaluation forms before and after each workshop.
- Submit electronic mid-year and end-year evaluation forms and meeting with the MPCCs and Assistant Director for FSYP, copying the CD.
7. An opportunity to serve on committees that partner them with professionals at the TWC and/or the Offices of Residential Life and Student Life.
8. Length of Service:
- The tenure of the RPL position is an academic term (August – May). If a staff member desires to remain for an additional term, he or she can re-apply through an abridged version of the RPL selection process.
- MPCs are required to remain on-campus until Residence Halls close at the end of each semester (fall and spring).
A. Guide for Ethical Conduct and Choices
RPLs in the first-year areas are expected to:
- Be aware of their potentially influential position and to not misuse this position in any way, remaining attentive and empathetic to the vulnerability a resident may experience in seeking their assistance on a range of personal issues.
- Not pursue, develop or engage in any inappropriate emotional and/or physical relationship with your residents.
- Not obtain drugs or alcohol for or engage in the consumption of drugs or alcohol with residents.
B. Confidentiality and Disclosure
RPLs in the first-year areas are expected to:
- Inform students of the nature of confidentiality and responsibility in disclosing relevant information in their role as a paraprofessional.
- Follow guidelines of confidentiality when sharing information with Assistant Director for FSYP, Community Directors, MPC/RPL colleagues, MPC/RPL Representatives, and administrators in the TWC and Office Residential Life and Office of Student Life.
- Inform professional staff of any situation in which a student may be at risk of hurting him/herself or others.
- Refer all contacts from parents, the media, and any other non-Brown staff member to the Assistant Director for FSYP and Community Director.
- Not use student information/data for any purposes not related to the MPC position (i.e., electronic SPAM, marketing an event of non-Brown groups, etc.).
C. Responsibility and Competence
- MPCs are responsible for knowing their capacities and limitations. Although the nature of their work may require “peer counseling,” they are not professional counselors. Therefore, MPCs will accurately represent their competence and areas of ability. They are expected to make a prompt referral of any resident whose needs may be better served by professional staff.
- MPCs will be responsible for maintaining a proficient level of competence through ongoing routine review of protocols and procedures with the Assistant Director for FSYP and Community Director.
- MPCs will discuss serious problems that occur in their area with the Assistant Director for FSYP and Community Director and appropriate professional staff (examples include but are not limited to narcotic use and excessive drinking, academics, worrisome behavior, and possible violations of the Standards of Student Conduct).
- MPCs will contribute to the integrity and good reputation of the TWC and residential peer leadership programs.
- MPCs should adhere to University policy, and state and federal law.
- MPCs will work to raise their understanding of differences among students such as those that may be associated with age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic and ethnic/racial background, political or religious affiliation, and disability. It is the MPC’s responsibility to develop an ability to work with all students.
- MPCs should welcome constructive feedback from their colleagues, the Assistant Director for FSYP, their Community Director and professional staff, with the intent of improving work performance.
- If MPCs learn of misconduct on the part of another staff member, they should constructively address the situation. If such behavior persists or is of a more serious nature, the MPC should notify the Assistant Director for FSYP and Community Director.
- MPCs are “students first” and should be responsible for attending to their personal and academic well-being. If aspects of the residential peer leadership experience become overwhelming, the staff member in conjunction with the Assistant Director for FSYP and Community Director should consider alternative opportunities.
- If you have any questions about any of these expectations, please speak with the Assistant Director for First and Second Year Programs.
Revised on 26 November 2012