What to expect from CÉIM participants and leaders


A well-evidenced model
CÉIM is an award-winning academic peer learning programme based on the Supplemental Instruction/Peer Assisted Study Sessions/Peer Assisted Learning (SI/PASS/PAL) model of collaborative learning. SI/PASS/PAL originated in the United States in 1973 and today can be found at over 1,500 universities and colleges in more than 29 countries. International research has consistently shown that SI/PASS/PAL schemes deliver benefits for participants, student leaders and universities as a whole.  

How CÉIM works
The purpose of CÉIM is to support student transition to higher education, academic success, health and wellbeing, network building and progression. Trained student leaders who are in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of their studies work together in groups of 3-4 to facilitate weekly peer learning sessions for 1st year students in their course for the entire academic year.
Student leaders do not teach, instead they support 1st year students to help each other by assisting in structuring the peer learning session, listening, encouraging teamwork and positive communication, redirecting questions, sharing experiences, and recapping on content covered.

Skills development for 1st year students
1st year students who attend CÉIM regularly are demonstrating a clear commitment to independent learning and professional development. They are choosing to interact with their peers and typically develop skills in teamwork, communication and problem solving. Regular CÉIM participants can apply to receive the CÉIM Collaborative Learner digital badge. 


Recruitment of CÉIM leaders
CÉIM leaders are recruited via a competitive selection process involving an application form and group interview. The interview panel is comprised of academic staff and the central CÉIM team. We specifically seek leaders who engage well with others, and are inclusive, organised, creative and communicate clearly.  

Collaborative Learner Badge

CÉIM leader training
Leaders receive 16 hours of training. This is comprised of 12 hours of highly interactive facilitation training, 2.5 hours of online e-learning regarding IT tools and inclusive learning, and 1.5 hours of signposting/health and wellbeing training.
The facilitation training is focused on group discussion and experiential learning, including modelling behaviours, small group work and hypothetical scenarios to enable leaders to feel confident and comfortable in running CÉIM sessions. Some of the topics covered in the facilitation training include:

– Facilitation, questioning and communication skills
– Icebreakers, structuring group discussions and group dynamics
– Effective listening, creating an inclusive learning environment, difficult incidents/challenges, boundary setting

Throughout their role as a volunteer, CÉIM leaders obtain a CÉIM certificate and digital badge, and apply for the University of Galway Employability Award, as well as the University of Galway President’s Award.

CÉIM leader skills development
Being a CÉIM leader involves serious commitment. These are some of the tasks that CÉIM leaders perform:
– Working collaboratively for the academic year with fellow student leaders (often people they have never met before)
– Promoting peer learning in advance of CÉIM sessions to 1st year students via lecture shout outs, email and WhatsApp
– Preparing creative activities focused on key academic content on a weekly basis for use in CÉIM sessions
– Facilitating weekly hour-long CÉIM sessions for 1st year students (there could be approx. 5-35 students in attendance depending on the discipline and the time of year)
– Reflecting regularly on how their CÉIM sessions are going and making any necessary adjustments
– Attending and contributing to regular debriefing meetings with academic staff and the central CÉIM team
– Utilising multiple cloud-based technologies such as MS Office OneDrive, SharePoint, Padlet, Mentimeter etc.
– Referring students to appropriate student support services as necessary
– Being highly cognisant of the diverse student population and providing a respectful and inclusive learning environment for all  

CÉIM leaders develop essential skills throughout their time volunteering, including leadership, facilitation, teamwork, empathy, and critical thinking, and regularly demonstrate their creativity and ability to adapt to frequently changing situations and competing demands. Leaders also gain confidence and a lot of experience in their public speaking and presentation skills.