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Implementing a Faculty Mentorship Program for Students with Disabilities Jacqueline Harris Larry Markle Taiping Ho Ball State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Implementing a Faculty Mentorship Program for Students with Disabilities Jacqueline Harris Larry Markle Taiping Ho Ball State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Implementing a Faculty Mentorship Program for Students with Disabilities Jacqueline Harris Larry Markle Taiping Ho Ball State University

2 The Need for the FMP, Part 1 Research has indicated that students who interact with faculty members: Get better grades Are more satisfied with their education Are more likely to be retained Students who come to college less prepared benefit more from faculty engagement Source - National Survey of Student Engagement 2006 report, Engaged Learning: Fostering Success of All Students

3 The Need for the FMP, Part 2 Difficult transition to college for SWDs Legal differences Philosophical differences Differences in services provided Greater expectations of students in college Authority of teacher/faculty member is different

4 Relevant Legislation Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (2004 Reauthorization of IDEA) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

5 Otherwise Qualified IDEA= Entitlement Student has a right to a free and appropriate public education Emphasis on success (modify standards) ADA= Eligibility Attending college is a privilege. Students must be eligible Emphasis on equal access (standards are not modified)

6 Differences in Responsibility ISSUESECONDARY Section 504/IDEA POSTSECONDARY Section 504/ADA IdentificationSchoolStudent AssessmentSchoolStudent ProgrammingSchool/ParentStudent/College AdvocacySchool/ParentStudent Decision MakingPlacement TeamStudent Transition PlanningPlacement TeamStudent Source: Brinckerhoff, L.B., Shaw, S.F., & McGuire, JM

7 Important Distinctions Between Disability Services in K-12 & Higher Education IEPs & 504 plans do not carry over to college Colleges establish eligibility of services based on documentation of substantial limitation of one or more major life activities If more documentation is needed at the college level, it is the students responsibility to provide it and pay for it

8 Goals of the FMP SWDs participating in the FMP will: earn higher Grade Point Averages (GPA) have a higher retention rate towards graduation have an enhanced level of independence and self- advocacy skills Faculty participating in the FMP will have: higher awareness about academic needs of SWDs greater knowledge about services and resources available on campus for SWDs

9 Objectives of the FMP The faculty mentors will assist students in understanding and meeting the academic challenges and expectations of college students. The faculty mentors will provide expertise in connecting the departmental major to future occupational goals. The faculty mentors will inform students about requirements of the students majoring in the faculty mentors department, as well as student clubs, organizations, and internships available to students with that major. The faculty mentors will personalize the Ball State experience for students with disabilities.

10 Objectives of the FMP, contd The students will actively communicate with the faculty mentor and discuss academic challenges and concerns the students may have. The FMP will provide a forum between faculty, students, and other relevant stakeholders to discuss issues involving students with disabilities on campus. Faculty members will gain an enhanced understanding of the challenges that students with disabilities encounter. The FMP will enhance cooperation and coordination between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, including units such as the Office of Disabled Student Development, the Learning Center, Academic Advising, the Counseling Center, faculty members, and supporting staff.

11 What is a Mentor? Dictionary definition: A wise and trusted teacher or counselor. (American Heritage Dictionary, 3/E) Role model, advocate, sponsor, guide, listener, coach, challenger, counselor, visionary, friend (The Roles and Phases of Mentorship, Michael Galbraith & Patricia Maslin-Ostrowski)

12 Distinctions Between Freshman/Faculty Advisor & Mentor Freshman Advisors Faculty Advisors Faculty Mentors


14 Role of Freshman Advisor Provide leadership in the Freshman Learning Communities Plan class schedules Suggest resources Respond to Deficiency Reports

15 Role of Faculty Advisor Provide guidance toward graduation Act as a resource person within the department Give information about internships and practicums

16 Role of Faculty Mentor Provide tips on how to interact with professors (regarding college in general and disability issues in particular) Serve as a friend to help with transition questions Act as a resource person within the department to investigate the major and related career options Provide study tips for that major/department

17 Process for Implementing the FMP – Student Recruitment Soliciting student involvement Brochure explaining FMP sent to all incoming SWDs who disclosed to DSD Response card sent with brochure – interested students signed the response card & returned it to DSD (38 students signed up last year, 37 so far this year) Promote FMP at new student meetings When mentors were assigned, students were sent letters giving names/contact info of mentors

18 Process for Implementing the FMP – Faculty Recruitment FMP coordinators sought out faculty members in each of the seven colleges & multiple departments within each college. 41 faculty members from 31 departments volunteered to participate. Faculty members attended training sessions explaining purpose of FMP & specific challenges SWDs face. Mentors were assigned a student and asked to contact the student. The goal was to match each student with a mentor in the students major or area of interest.


20 FMP Activities FMP creators have weekly meetings to coordinate the program and to plan events Emails sent to students Suggesting questions/talking points for meetings with mentors Reminding students of services available on campus End of semester survey of students & mentors

21 FMP Activities Regular lunch meetings with mentors Discuss the program and solicit feedback Guest speakers discuss campus services & their assistance for SWDs Connect different academic disciplines & assist other mentors with concerns students have outside of mentors area of expertise Internal grant $ received to help with costs of programming

22 First-Year Results Data on SWDs who chose to participate & SWDs who chose not to were compared at the end of academic year. Participants had: Higher average GPAs (.3 higher) More credit hours earned (25.7/24.7) Higher retention rate (86%/78%) More extensive use of campus resources including DSD & the Learning Center

23 Fall 2007 Results 36 students in program All 36 returned for spring semester 2.7 gpa for participants (2.27 for students who chose not to join) Average credit hours earned – 13.32 (10.93 for non-participants) Much greater use of DSD & LC services

24 Student Feedback It felt great to know I had someone to go to for help. My mentor has taken me on a tour and has helped me develop a network of contacts on campus. A person I can talk to who knows the way through college.


26 Benefits of Attempting FMP Mentoring is important for all students, especially SWDs Fosters collaboration across units Awareness in departments about services offered – mentor becomes go to person in that department Gets word out about resources available on campus

27 References American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition (1992). Houghton Mifflin. Boston: MA Galbraith, M. & Maslin-Ostrowski, P. (2000). The Roles and Phases of Mentorship. In J. Bess & Associates, Teaching Alone, Teaching Together. Jossey Bass. San Francisco: CA. 145-148. Hadley, W. (2006) L.D. Students Access to Higher Education: Self-Advocacy and Support. Journal of Developmental Education 30 (2), 10-16. Light, R. (2001). Making the Most of College. Harvard University Press. Cambridge: MA. 81-103. National Survey of Student Engagement (2006). Engaged Learning: Fostering Success of All Students. Retrieved March 29, 2007, from

28 Contact Information Dr. Taiping Ho, Professor of Criminal Justice & Criminology – Dr. Jacqueline Harris, Coordinator for Study Strategies and Writing, The Learning Center – Larry Markle, Director of Disability Services – DSD Website –

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