Peer Mentoring Program’s New Blog Plans
April 12, 2011
Filed under Club News
The Peer Mentoring Program matches incoming first year students (mentees) with experienced upperclassmen (mentors) to guide them through their transition to college. Over the past year the program has grown in size, more than doubling its participation from 39 mentees in its initial year to 87 mentees at the start of the current school year.
A mission statement was developed and new leadership was brought on board as Mark Phillips and Peter Aiello joined Rebecca Cope in the role of student co-coordinator. The three of us, accompanied by our advisor Julianne Messia, recently attended the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) conference held in Burlington, VT near our sister campus. Our intent was to attend workshops on peer mentoring or advising programs at other college campuses, and hopefully leave with some ideas to bring back to the ACPHS program. We were not disappointed!
After leaving a presentation by University of Massachusetts-Amherst, we began to brainstorm the idea of launching a blog for the Peer Mentors. A blog is a great way to interactively communicate with any population, but it specifically allows us to reach out to first year students both before and after they arrive on campus.
The blog is in the very beginning stages of development. We envision it featuring posts throughout the school year on different topics first year students may be dealing with, such as homesickness, study skills, roommate issues, and pre-test jitters. A video project will be underway shortly, where we plan to interview certain first-year faculty members so incoming students can “meet” their professors before starting classes. We feel that this blog will be a great resource for the ACPHS community and are excited to be leading the project! Tentatively, the launch date for the blog will coincide with the first of this summer’s Sneak Preview days on July 13th.
The conference was not only a valuable experience for our Peer Mentoring Program, but also a venue to share our own ideas with other colleges. Our program is unique due to both our specialized school and its structure as a 1-on-1 mentoring relationship. We joined with Stony Brook University and Worchester Polytechnic Institute to present “Starting and Sustaining Peer Advising on Your Campus – 3 Case Studies,” where each school shared its individualized experience with peer advising. Representatives from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences attended the session and expressed interest in starting their own peer mentoring program modeled after ours!
Along with starting a blog, the Peer Mentors will be initiating a more selective application process. The number of mentors being accepted will be limited to 40, with a greater focus on mentor training and team building. It is our hope that doing so will build the foundation of truly dedicated individuals needed for the program’s advancement. Also for the first time, mentors and mentees will be asked to complete a Myers-Briggs personality test to enhance our matching process. We are already planning to attend the conference again next year and look forward to seeing the Peer Mentors continue to grow in its capacity to serve the student community of ACPHS.