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 role of the MPC is one of coordination, community building, and education.
MPCs are expected to:
- Work closely with their unit’s Residential Life’s Co-Counselor team which consists of a Resident Counselor (RC) and Women Peer Counselor (WPC), Residential Life’s Community Directors, other MPCs, MPC Coordinators, Program Director, 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 on 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 Senior, Junior, or Sophomore status.
- 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 and problem solving skills.
- Good academic and judicial standing.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Maintain open and regular lines of communication with Community Directors (CDs) and Residential Peer Leaders (RPLs) by attending one pre-arranged meeting a month.
- 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.
- Foster awareness around the Third World Transition Program during Orientation and in first year units.
- Facilitate discussion following the Orientation Diversity Class Meeting.
- 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 two “meet & greets,” or gatherings of their residents, per semester with a focus on building relationships between the MPC and the students.
- Host one resource workshop per semester with a focus on campus resources, academic support or any other sources considered appropriate by the group.
- Collaborate with residential peer leaders and with other student groups and resources.
5. Providing bias intervention support
- Support students in the event of a bias incident.
- Encourage 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 MPC Coordinators, the Program Director, and the Director of the TWC.
- Organize an educational program in response to the incident in conjunction with the MPCCs, CDs and TWC staff, circumstances permitting.
6. Participation in training and regular meetings for the MPC Program
- Participate in mandatory Spring (2011) and Fall (2011) training.
- Participate in the implementation of TWTP.
- Attend all monthly General Body Meetings with MPC Coordinators and the Program Director.
- Attend bi-monthly MPC Small Group Meetings with the assigned MPC Coordinator.
- Attend regular meetings with the RPL group at CD meetings.
- Meet as needed with their working group and MPCCs to develop workshop plans.
- Submit electronic Weekly Reports to MPC Coordinators and the Program Director.
- 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, Program Director.
- 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.
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 MPC position is an academic term (September – May), however, trainings will occur during the Spring semester.
- If a staff member desires to remain for an additional term he or she can re-apply through an abridged version of the MPC selection process.
- MPCs are to remain in the Providence area through the first day of classes during each semester.
- 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
- Counselors may not obtain or consume alcohol and/or drugs with any first year or prospective students.
- Counselors may not have romantic/sexual relationships with any first year or prospective students.
- Counselors must maintain good academic and judicial standing.
- Violation of the aforementioned will result in termination of employment.
B. Confidentiality and Disclosure
- 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 Program Director, 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 Program Director 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 Program Director and Community Director.
- MPCs will discuss serious problems that occur in their area with the Program Director 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 Program Director, 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 Program Director 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 Program Director and Community Director should consider alternative opportunities.
- If you have any questions about any of these expectations please speak with the Program Director.
Revised - 12/15/2010