What is Mentoring Definition: A mentor is an experienced person who provides information, advice, support, and encouragement to a less experienced person, often leading and guiding by example of his/her success in an area. Peer- Mentoring at CCSF:
In the peer-mentor program at CCSF, mentors are selected by a "Project Sponsor" who has designed a peer-mentor project to meet the needs of a specific student population. The mentor is usually a student who has been through a specific course or program and has often faced and overcome many of the same challenges that the current students face. While a mentor may share some characteristics with a tutor, a mentor is different from a tutor. A tutor specializes in content area support. While mentors may provide some content support, they also provide general academic and social support to the protege. Mentors say they help their mentees in a variety of ways:
--Improving study skills
--Helping students to learn to network with peers, faculty and administration
--Making referrals to CCSF and community services and resources
--Improving self-esteem and confidence
--Improving communication skills, including a clearer sense of what questions to ask when and where
--Strengthening time management skills in personal, homework, and test taking situations
--Strengthening academic skills in general leading to student success.
The Benefits of Mentoring: In various studies across fields, being mentored has consistently been linked with academic and professional achievement. Protégées gain an increased understanding of a discipline or an organization. They receive guidance and advice, report higher confidence levels, and gain access to networks and other resources. Mentors also benefit. Mentors appreciate the opportunity for self reflection about their own' career path, and they report gaining an increased understanding of their studies. Mentors also report increased communication skills and an increased sensitivity to the challenges others face. Mentors often list this role on college applications and resumes. The leadership skills that mentors develop can be useful in any area of life: personal, academic and career. Introducing Yourself: To begin establishing a mentoring relationship, you may want to give your student protege some information about yourself, such as:
1 Your name and your preferred name or nickname.
2 why you decided to be a mentor.
3 Your academic background and schools you've attended.
4 What classes you are taking now.
5 Any information about your hobbies, interests, and family that you feel comfortable sharing.
6 Your e-mail address.
James (1993) offers ten strategies:
1. Be yourself and allow protégé's to be themselves.
2. Be a good listener.
3. Don't attempt to handle situations with protégés for which you are not qualified to deal with.
4. Clearly outline and discuss protégés' responsibilities.
S. Be available.
6. Monitor your protégé's progress.
7. Follow up on commitments made to prot6ges.
8. Be realistic with your prot6g6s and encourage them to explore career options when appropriate.
9. Do not betray confidential information.
10. Goals and accountability should be encouraged throughout the mentoring process.
According to Redmond (1990), the use of mentor/protege relationships is one of the most effective strategies that universities can use in attracting, retaining, and graduating students. Aloia and Smith (1992) assert that the use of the mentor/protege relationship is an effective approach with students who are first generation, low income or from under represented groups.
Mentors and protiges need not always share the same race, economic status or gender, but programs should strive to reduce the "social distance" between the two (Gordon, 1990).
According to Morton (1991), mentors choose prot6g6s with whom they can identify, thereby limiting the opportunities for mentoring relationships with those who are different. Authentic collaboration is not possible between mentors and protégés without an understanding of the forces that shape their interactions. A willingness to be open to individual differences is a positive step that each individual can take to improve the mentoring relationship.
Although most of the programs do match on similarities, many programs do not. Many such programs have reported successful outcomes even when the mentors and protégés are of different backgrounds and races. These relationships allow for a growth experience, letting each participant share something from another culture and background.
Program staff found that they formed healthy relationships as long as the mentors were prepared for the cultural differences; and were stable, empathetic, and nonjudgmental persons (One on One, 1990).
® 1995 Mentoring Guide for Community Colleges. Canton and James