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Best of both worlds The highlights of two mentoring programs and approaches, at the University of South Australia Sophie Relf (Division of Education, Arts.

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Presentation on theme: "Best of both worlds The highlights of two mentoring programs and approaches, at the University of South Australia Sophie Relf (Division of Education, Arts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Best of both worlds The highlights of two mentoring programs and approaches, at the University of South Australia Sophie Relf (Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences) and Tristana Sidoryn (Division of Business) University of South Australia PLEASE NOTE: this paper is for discussion only and is not to be referenced or reproduced for any purpose other than ideas sharing with colleagues.

2 Nuts and Bolts session Overview Focus on two student Mentor programs at UniSA - framework for discussing the various ways student Mentor programs can be designed. Further ideas for those who already have existing student Mentor programs, and information for those interested in setting up a student Mentor program. As this is a nuts and bolts session the aim is to have discussion with the audience. These programs were set up 6 months ago - extensive experimentation in the facets of the programs and they continue to develop.

3 Same university, different student Mentor programs Student Mentor programs differ due to their contexts and purposes University overview Context Business Mates program set up specifically for international students. Survey results – international students had lower agreement levels regarding being happy with the level of interaction with other students and feeling part of the UniSA community. Purposes The Business Mates student Mentoring program was designed: to assist students with the transition to the university facilitate social interactions between students develop the international perspectives of both the Business Mates and the Mentees

4 Same university, different student Mentor programs Context The 10:1 Mentoring program pilot ran exclusively on 1 suburban campus, Magill. Informed by work by Sue Lintern & Joanne Boyd A diverse student body A Division with a wide variety of programs Purposes positive interaction; between new students, Mentors and staff orientate orientate new students to the University culture, & services encourage Mentors in their development impact positively on the attrition rates of first year EASS students

5 Pairing Verses Individual Mentors 54 Business Mates were paired (27 pairs): international/domestic and undergraduate/postgraduate The Business Mates assisted approximately 400 new students – 20:2. The new students were allocated via program or program area. 10:1 Program matched over 150 Mentors with approximately 1,500 Mentees. Automatic matching of Mentees Mentors and Mentees were assigned on a ‘school’ basis.

6 Pairing vs Individual Mentors Issues with pairing: One of the pairs doing more work than the other. Undergraduate and postgraduate study timetables differ. Positive aspects of paring: Support in the Business Mates role. Developed International perspectives. What Mentors preferred: 93% of the Business Mates indicated that it was useful to have Business Mates in pairs. In a survey of the 10:1 Student Mentors 76% of the Mentors said that they would prefer to work as an individual. 10:1 program is considering the possibility of offering Student Mentors the option of working in a pair.

7 Experimentation Social events funded by the Division of Business Division of Business funded up to $200 per Business Mates pair for a social event - experimenting how to facilitate social interaction between the Business Mates and commencing students. The social events decided on by the Business Mates in consultation with their Mentees. Business Mates needed to submit an application for funding approval, and the only condition was that the social event be ‘ suitable to the University’. As having social events was a trial, we wanted to see the types of social events the Business Mates and Mentees came up rather then staff determining them.

8 Social Events The social events included –a BBQ, going to the movies, Adelaide cup horse racing, Dolphin cruise, cafés and football match. The social event that had the highest attendance was 9 out of the 20 students, with 0 being the lowest attendance. The social events that had the higher attendance were held early on in the study period – up until week 6.

9 The matching of 2:20 meant that some Business Mates pairs only had a few students coming along or requesting assistance, which was in part due to the automatic matching of the majority of the Mentees. The Business Mates linking with other Business Mates pairs was something we did not anticipate happening, and increased the interaction between new students and also the Business Mates. 48 new students attended the social events, and the majority of these were international students. The overall funding provided to the Business Mates for the social events was $1372. Social Events

10 Experimentation Social events in the 10:1 pilot program Socialisation was an ongoing process Experimentation around socialising: Mentor Centre Uses of the Mentor Centre: Meeting Mentees drop-in and appointment Resources for Mentoring Resources for Mentors Social aspects for Mentors Satisfaction with the facility: “chatting with other mentors, accessing the facilities, eg coffee, computer”

11 Experimentation Social events in the 10:1 pilot program O-day The primary social activity for the 10:1 program was o-day, 19 th of Feb 2007 Rationale Commencing students were already on campus Activities were available and free It was before classes started giving Mentees the best possible chance to make use of their Mentor during orientation and as study began. Commencing students (and Mentors) were not distracted by their studies so had time to meet in a relaxed atmosphere.

12 o-day 10:1 Program Successes o–day meetings: Postcard, emails, phone calls and yellow shirts made the program highly visible Campus tours & social activities were very successful Less Successful elements: Some Mentors could not come on o-day and this upset commencing students Some Mentees did not check their email Mentors told me that making their own meeting times was problematic. In future: It is anticipated that this first form of socialisation will be important for Mentors and Mentees in future and that o-day tours and social sessions will continue

13 Experimentation Offering Online Options in 10:1 Training online Access for International Students Access fir students who work during the week Interview with Mentor Coordinator Online Facilities: “Ask a Mentor” “Mentor 2 Mentor” Emails as the major form of Mentoring: 75% of the time Mentees said they received help via email 85% of Mentoring was via email according to Mentors

14 Firm but Fair – Guiding the program without micro managing the Mentors Business Mates program planned up to week 6 and then for the contact to be negotiated between the Business Mates and Mentees. Business Mates indicated that they would have liked more guidance from the program coordinator in relation to more regular templates and reminders. Self regulating amongst the Business Mates occurred, specifically in relation to the social events and the 12 Business Mates pairs that put on a bbq for their Mentees.

15 Firm but Fair – Guiding the program without micro managing the Mentors In the 10:1 program I was aware of the need for Mentors to self determine, but also to offer a “path or least resistance” or “easier” option for Mentors who did not want to/ or did not have time to be creative. Examples of the path: Preparing emails for Mentors to send on to their Mentees

16 Firm but Fair – Guiding the program without micro managing the Mentors Other examples of the path: Asking Mentors to sign up to the Mentor centre roster if they wanted to “set a time for their Mentoring activities” each week. I created ice-breakers to do with Mentees on o-day While campus tour destinations were up to Mentors, there were 5 destinations on campus I highly recommended Mentors to show. I was surprised that some elements of self regulation began to grow up in the program, that mirrors some of the outcomes in the Business Mates program. “Mentor 2 Mentor” discussion board and the yellow shirts. “I was just wondering what other Mentors think of wearing the yellow Mentoring shirts when in the centre. I noticed today that mentees gravitate to people with these shirts on, while I only had my name tag on. Obviously the shirts are a visual sign of a Mentor. What do other Mentors think??”

17 How to keep momentum going The majority of interaction between the Business Mates and Mentees occurred during the Orientation period and the first few weeks of the study period, with a high level of involvement, energy and enthusiasm. An issue came up with the Business Mates program in that after the social events were over (approximately week 6) the Business mates weren’t sure what to do. The program for the next study period will look at holding monthly lunch-time meetings with the Business Mates which will provide them with an opportunity to interact with each other and to discuss their Mentor role and the social events.

18 How to keep momentum going 10:1 Program momentum was encouraged through the following: Starting contact prior to classes Emails almost weekly Mentor Centre- proved a great networking space and gave the program a focus Offering Mentors opportunities for employment that arose Being visible and available for consultation The hardest time to run the program is the first time– culture of Mentoring

19 Key Questions What experimentation have you seen in student Mentoring programs, what works and what does not? What level of decision making should Mentors have in determining the nature and structure of the program? Should student Mentors be paid? What are the ways to acknowledge student contribution? How do you guide the student Mentors without micro managing them? What conditions are required in Mentoring programs to encourage innovation/experimentation?

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