The Peer Leader Academy (PLA) provides a foundation of professional development training and certification for peer leaders (tutors, mentors, undergraduate teaching assistants, etc.) who are employed in the College of Natural Sciences. Training involves the development of leadership and transferable skills that can be utilized in their current roles, in the classroom, and in their futures.  Peer Leaders serve in meaningful roles and are a vital component of creating community within the college.

Benefits: What will I gain through being a part of the Peer Leader Academy?

  • International certification as a mentor or tutor through CRLA or certification from the College of Natural Sciences Peer Leader Academy
  • Transferrable Skills, Leadership Development, & interaction with UT Students, Staff and Faculty
  • Opportunity for valuable experiential learning


Peer Leaders attain certification based on guidelines provided by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) through their training and documented student contact hours.

In order to attain Level I (Basic) certification, CNS Peer Leaders complete:

  • 15 hours of Peer Leader training within their first 2 long semesters of employment or prior to employment.
  • Attend a CNS PLA Training conference to earn 8 of their 15 hours of training (August or January)
  • 50 hours of student contact

Options for earning CNS PLA training hours*

  • Conference Attendance (8hrs) + Supplemental Training (3 hrs) + Program Specific Training (4hrs) + 50 hrs of Student Contact = Level I Certification
  • CNS PLA Conference Attendance + a NSC 109 or CH372C course + 50 Hrs of Student Contact = Level I Certification
  • Level II and Level III Certification are earned with an additional 10 hrs of training and 25 hrs of student contact per level
    *Students may not earn double credit for attending the same training more than once, excluding cultural competency & campus/community resources.

Training Topics

Training topics are based on the CRLA certification guidelines for peer tutors and mentors which include, but are not limited to:

  • Role of the Peer Leader
  • Professional Conduct
  • Problem-solving
  • Campus & Community Resources
  • Cultural Competency
  • Tutoring in Math & Science
  • Compliance with University & College Policies
  • Time management & goal-setting
  • Situation assessment & student referrals
  • Building rapport & motivating peers
  • Setting boundaries as a Peer Leader
  • Conflict resolution
  • Emergency preparedness

Campus experts, faculty, fellow peer leaders, and CNS PLA staff facilitate these trainings.

Programs and Available Student Positions

Please see the Programs & Positions page to review descriptions of participating programs and Peer Leader positions.

Please see the Announcement page to view information regarding open student positions.

To apply for a CNS Peer Leader position see the Application Information page.

Spring 2014 CNS PLA Weekly Training - to be determined

CNS PLA Training Conference Information

When & Where: August 2014, details to be determined

What: This training conference is provided for all new peer leaders and not-yet Level I certified peer leaders to earn 8 hours of CNS PLA training credit.  Level I certified Peer Leaders can attend the conference to earn hours towards Level II & III certification as well.

**Breakfast & Lunch Provided**