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Training and Mentoring Peer Learning Assistants, Peer Tutors and Learning Commons Student Assistants

A workshop led by

Nathalie Soini and Caleigh Minshall

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

The Queen's Learning Commons (QLC) was established in 2005 and is physically located on the main floor of Stauffer Library at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. At present, the QLC has approximately 100 students who work or volunteer during the academic year. Nathalie and Caleigh hire, train and mentor 65 of these students and will share with you their knowledge and experience.

Learning Objectives

Participants of this session will:

  • Learn how to create in-person and online training programs for their student staff/volunteers.
  • Learn how to establish a team environment.
  • Learn how to build relationships amongst your student and professional staff.
  • Learn about the benefits and challenges of different training models.
  • Share their training experiences (if any) and learn from other participants' home programs.

The interactive pre-conference workshop will provide ways to offer pedagogically sound training for students who volunteer and/or work in their Commons.


Caleigh Minshall is the Learning Strategies Outreach Coordinator in the Learning Commons at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. The largest and most rewarding part of her job is hiring, training and managing a team of fifty spectacular student volunteers, whose mission is to promote learning strategies such as time and stress management to their peers across campus. Prior to this role, Caleigh worked in Queen's Residence Life department, where she helped organize the summer and ongoing training programs for the residence dons and coached individual student staff to meet their programming requirements. In her academic past she lovingly studied performing animals in English Renaissance drama, but she also believes in the value of extracurricular experience to student development.  To put this in a different way, she rarely finds use for her Derrida texts anymore!

Nathalie Soini has been the Learning Commons Coordinator at Queen's University since 2005. Over the years, she has hired, trained and mentored over 100 students and has learned as much from them as they have from her and her colleagues. In addition to her Coordinator role, Nathalie is also the current Acting Head of Learning and Research Services (Humanities and Social Sciences) at Stauffer Library, Research and Instruction Librarian for French, Languages Literatures and Cultures, Aboriginal Studies and Global Development Studies, and Graduate Specialist for Queen's University Library. Nathalie has a B.A. (Hons) in German and Spanish, an M.A. in Spanish and an MLIS. She loves social media and Coronation Street.