Retention through Connection: Mentoring Programs in Higher Education Jen Macken, M.S. Director of Inclusion & Diversity Red Rocks Community College
Learning Outcomes Identify best practices and areas of consideration in the development of a student mentoring program Understand the importance of a solid foundation and the resources needed for mentoring programs Know common challenges in mentoring programs and be prepared to anticipate and troubleshoot potential concerns before they arise
What is mentoring? A one on one relationship between an experienced and less experienced person for the purpose of learning or developing specific competencies A process by which persons of a superior rank, special achievements and prestige instruct, counsel, guide, and facilitate the intellectual and/or career development of persons identified as proteges
Characteristics of Mentoring Relationships Focused on the growth and accomplishment of an individual and include several forms of assistance May include broad forms of support including assistance with professional and career development, role modeling, and psychological support Personal and reciprocal
What are the benefits of mentoring? Increased feelings of connection, engagement, and sense of belonging Increased student persistence and academic achievement Higher levels of retention Higher GPAs
Program Contexts Leaders Advising, Mentoring, and Building Diversity Allies (LAMBDA) Large, public, 4 year institution Serving specific demographic populations Leadership, Empowerment, and Diversity (LEAD) Mentor Program Smaller, public, 2 year institution More generalized, but with strong participation from first generation students
Program Structures Faculty/Staff Mentor Student Mentor Student Mentee
Program Activities Orientation and Training One on one meetings Group meetings Inclusion and diversity programs Service opportunities
Program Outcomes WMP 2011 2012 retention: 96% 2012 2013 retention: 96% LAMBDA 2011 2012 retention : 97% 2012 2013 retention : 93% LEAD 2014 2015 retention: 88% Without two mentor transfers: 96%
Starting Strong Recruitment plan carefully and target intentionally Orientation/Training mandatory, in person (for students), and comprehensive Set the tone early pairs should meet within the first two weeks
Ongoing Engagement Check ins Meetings Programs and events Requirements vs. recommendations activities
Collaborations and Resources What departments or offices would have a vested interest in retention and student success? Who are the gatekeepers to engage students? What resources will you need to make your program successful?
DEVELOPING YOUR MENTORING PROGRAM
What form of mentoring is most appropriate? Who are your participants? What are your program goals? What is your scope?
How will you structure your program? What will your program look like? How will you recruit participants? How often will the participants meet? How often will the full group meeting? Are there additional required activities? What role with faculty and staff play? What incentives can you provide for participation? What resources will you need (both initial and ongoing)?
Evaluation How will you know if your program was successful? How much is too much evaluation?
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