Become a student mentor & improve your skills as a leader and facilitator

Collaborate with community members right here at their workplace–our campus. Students who are enrolled in adult learning education classes serve as mentors for Cornell employees. As a student mentor, you form a mutual learning partnership with a Cornell employee who is looking to develop a skill or learn something new - from English as a second language or citizenship preparation to computer skills or career readiness prep. 

Want to make a difference?  Want to learn valuable soft skills so necessary for today’s professionals?  Looking for community-engaged courses without transportation hassles? Do all of this while meeting diverse and interesting people.

Available Courses

Leading, Learning and Teaching with Purpose

In Designing and Facilitating Learning for Development, we look for commonalities across a variety of venues and settings where people meet together to learn, deliberate, and act. From professional development to social change, town hall to union hall, or citizen science to workplace training, adult and community learning is everywhere. Yet, for many, the design and facilitation of meaningful learning experiences can be as mysterious as an unopened black box. How does one go about creating inclusive educational experiences for diverse learners in our increasingly interconnected context? In this course we open the box to become better leaders of learning and action.

The fieldwork component of this course consists of preparing for a weekly meeting with an adult learner, your Learning Partner.

Two of the most ubiquitous formats of adult learning are 1), the workshop, and 2), one-on-one mentoring. As a backwards design approach and interactive facilitation principles can serve each application well, we’ll learn and practice both! In this course you will a) design and facilitate workshops, and b) mentor a Cornell employee as she/he pursues a learning goal, and do both by learning and applying design process and facilitation arts. Meaningful. Practical. Fun.


Democratic Learning and Leading

Do adults learn differently than do youth?   This experiential and community-engaged course is for anyone interested in planning and facilitating adult, community and lifelong learning. As inquirers ourselves, we not only study principles, theories and methods, we also put into practice what we learn. One of the ways we do this is by incorporating adult learning approaches within the seminar design and educational practice (andragogy, rather than pedagogy). Another way we apply what we study is by mentoring adult learners. Each student serves as a learning partner to a Cornell employee who is pursuing an educational aim. A journey of mutual learning is a satisfying and meaningful adventure. As employees’ partners, we are co-learners and co-educators, recognizing that each person has knowledge and experience to bring to the quest.

The fieldwork component of this course consists of preparing for a weekly meeting with an adult learner, your Learning Partner.


What is it like to live in a country, but not feel able to communicate clearly with people around you?

How is learning a new language as an adult different from childhood language learning? What do teaching and learning look like, when the teacher and learner do not share the same language to use as their means of communication? Through reflections on readings, simulations, roleplays, and weekly fieldwork with an adult English Language Learner partner, students will consider these questions to deepen their understanding of what it means to learn a language as a non-native speaker. Students will apply TESOL methodologies to the needs of their learning partner and receive feedback from learning partners, classmates, and instructors on their lesson planning and delivery in order to strengthen their teaching practice. In the process, students and adult learning partners will also learn from each others’ situated experiences, and increase their awareness of educational, social, political, and economic issues involved in global migrations and language learning. Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will... 1. Recognize the unique challenges experienced by English Language Learners in the United States. 2. Evaluate recognized TESOL frameworks and methods. 3. Develop original lesson plans that effectively address a specific English Language Learner’s needs in multiple areas, including speaking, reading, writing, listening, grammar, pronunciation and/or specific content areas. 4. Practice implementing lessons and activities with an English Language Learner partner. 


As part of “Any Person, Many Stories: Histories of Exclusion & Inclusion at Cornell, this workshop course offers students an opportunity to uncover and document the origin story of an ongoing social justice education venture, CLASP. We’ll look at adult and community learning as framed by Myles Horton of the Highlander Center, as well as other educators and activists around the world.

Through research and interviews we will investigate and represent the history of the Community Learning and Service Partnership, CLASP, a mutual learning education and empowerment program. The resulting media will be submitted for review by jurors of the upcoming digital media gallery being curated by CU’s Center for Teaching Innovation and others for the Any Person, Many Stories project.

Offered in Fall 2022

Running shoes are not required, yet we are in training for a marathon. In this course we're enhancing our knowledge base, toolbox, mindset and resilience as we take up a contest unprecedented in human history— inclusive and just sustainability. Part race against the clock, part design challenge and part performance test, Team Humanity needs all of us to be informed, prepared, and in the game. Having teammates to train with nudges us to keep going as we learn with and from partners, communities and action leaders in this grand challenge. We examine five major concepts and explore their mutual generativity as we look for leverage points of system change: just sustainability; lifelong learning; place; learning ecosystems and social competencies for collective leadership and learning.