“Getting Them Through”: “Professional” Seminar Leaders and Student Performance


  • Joseph Jozwiak Texas A & M University - Corpus Christi Author
  • Mark G. Hartlaub Texas A & M University - Corpus Christi Author


Learning communities have been shown to be effective in enhancing student study skills, improving student classroom performance, and creating social networks. A key to the learning community enterprise is the seminar leader or first-year seminar instructor. The authors’ campus is moving away from hiring graduate students as seminar leaders and toward hiring “professional” seminar leaders, full-time employees whose main responsibility is to the students in the first-year seminar class. The authors evaluated these professional seminar leaders in several ways, including student course evaluations and student performance in both the seminar classes and the linked classes. Results show that professional seminar leaders provide some important advantages over part-time graduate students as seminar leaders.