UHI Student Mentor Network. Student Mentor Training Kevin Sinclair, Student Progression Lead Practitioner Email: [email protected] Web: www.uhi.ac.uk /student-mentor-network. UHI Student Mentor Network. Schedule 09.30 Welcome 09.35 Getting to know each other
09.35 Getting to know each other
09.50 First session – an introduction to mentoring and the role of UHI student mentors
10.50 Second session – how to structure and run mentoring sessions
11.50 Third session, international students, counselling awareness, becoming an effective mentor and careers.
New to University? Life and study at university requires adjustment. It is not the same as school, college or work.
What challenges do new students face?
Are these challenges the same for everyone? What about mature students, those from overseas or those coming from a further education (college) background?
What are the main social, personal and academic issues a new student will encounter?
Discuss these topics.
Benefits of mentoring
The mentoring mix:
Friend, adviser, supporter, encourager
What is the mentor ‘job description’?
Each mentor will work in a slightly different way, taking account of your own experience and areas of confidence, but working within these boundaries:
The mentor ‘job description’ - continued
There are some areas of work that mentors should beware of and try to avoid!
Discuss how you will set the boundaries of your mentoring in advance today, and how you will set out and explain those to new mentors.
In summary the role of mentors is to:
This assumes that you will be working in a group. Most mentors prefer only mentoring one to one. That is fine, in fact that is really what mentoring is. The purpose of group work is not so much actual mentoring, but to find out who could benefit from mentoring.
Structuring the first one to one meeting – a checklist
What should the next meetings consist of?
Campus based mentors and mentees could meet informally once a month or so to go over how students are getting on. Find out from the students what their issues are. Have one item ready that you would like to talk about – for example: exams, time management, preparing for assignments etc.
Look out for students who would like extra support and offer one to one sessions.
Online students can be emailed to see how they are getting on. Try to do something other than just ask how they are. Perhaps send an email talking about your own experiences at that stage of the year to get conversation started.
The final meeting
Towards the end of Semester 1, or early in the second, you would stop arranging group meetings (if you have used these), but continue with individual meetings for those who would need them.
The final meeting could take place after the first exam results. It is always a time when people like to reflect on what has happened until that point. That is also a time to encourage students who might be feeling it is too much and considering ending their studies.
The final meeting with your individual mentees would usually take place in the second semester. Have a general discussion about the student’s experiences. Tell them about the online evaluation form.
It is up to you whether you keep in touch – we encourage this as it is good for you and your mentees. And encourage anyone who might be showing potential to sign up as a mentor!
Tip: it is easy for mentoring to feed our own ego. Remember that success is the student not needing us any more.
Is mentoring group work?
We don’t assume that you will be working in a group. You may prefer only mentoring one to one. That is fine, in fact that is really what mentoring is. The purpose of group work is not so much actual mentoring, but to find out who could benefit from mentoring.
The best work of mentoring is always a one to one. A group setting is actually unsuitable for good quality mentoring as people will not open up in a group.
Mentors who work remotely with students, by email, Blackboard or phone will always mentor in a one to one setting.
When working one to one, always have an idea what you would like to achieve from the session, but let the mentee be the main guide as to what they would like to achieve. Your role is to facilitate them to excel. Let them set the targets, but you challenge them to go further!
Basic counselling awareness
Counsellors work with a variety of difficulties and issues. In universities problems include: studies and exams, personal relationships, identity, loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicidal feelings, homesickness, family problems, cultural issues, trauma, life changes, bereavement and loss, eating difficulties, drug or alcohol problems, life crises, mental health issues, experiences of abuse or discrimination.
The most common issues are usually home sickness, challenges of independent learning, making friends and relationship problems.
UHI academic partner counsellors can help with all of these issues. They provide time and space to examine, clarify and understand concerns, and explore and develop more effective ways of coping.
Mentor relationships are actually rarely completely confidential. However privacy is very important. It is better for a mentor not to be a member of staff, as students feel much more comfortable talking to a peer and someone who will not be marking their work!
As a general rule, everything discussed in the mentor relationship is confidential. There are exceptions, however. If you have reason to believe that your mentee could be of harm to themselves, or others, that should be reported. However, in general, what is discussed between the mentor and the mentee is private. It should not be discussed with staff or other students. The ground rules should be explained at the start.
Also if you feel something should be reported to staff, such as several students struggling with the same piece of work, then simply ask for permission to mention it from the student. You can feedback class issues without mentioning student names.
E – Mentoring
Some students are not often on campus. How can we keep in touch with them?
Tip: It is really important that the mentee knows they have our full attention. Make sure there are no interruptions or background noise while on the phone. Give them our full attention. It may help to mentally picture them in our minds, this helps us concentrate on them. People on the other end of the phone know when we are not paying full attention to them!
What makes an effective mentor?
What does an effective mentor do?
How do we best respond to diverse groups?
Mature students, young people, different ethnic groups, disabled students, international students…
It is actually best to include everyone in the same mentoring programme.
Diverse groups tend not to value a mentor system for their benefit as it is seen as making them different.
Mentees vary in terms of their wants. Some value someone of them same group as they are. Others specifically want someone from a separate group, perhaps the group they feel is not disadvantaged. So we respond by being flexible and try to supply the mentor that the mentee wants!
The UHI Careers Centre
Careers planning is a subject of interest for many students as the purpose of being at university if often career related. Mentors have a valuable role in encouraging students in relation to their career planning. There are two common misconceptions related to career planning. Either people think careers planning is for those who don’t know what they want to do, or that it is for those who do and need help getting there. In truth everyone can benefit from taking some time out to reflect on their life goals and how they can achieve what they want.
The UHI Careers Service offers:
• Self help materials provided on the website
• Free, confidential e-guidance and telephone guidance services
• Free, confidential career coaching service.
Mentors are encouraged to direct students to the careers website and to careers coaches who have been trained to help students develop and work towards their career goals.
Find out more at: www.ccwa.uhi.ac.uk
Student Charter and Red Button
The UHI Student Charter sets out what students can expect from UHI, and what UHI can expect from students, to enable success on their journey as a student. The UHI Student Charter (PDF, new window) is available to download online.
Student Advisers are the best first point of contact for a student who feels their expectations have not been met, and can provide them with advice and support. If a student does not know who to contact, or would like to tell someone about their experience as a UHI student, then they can use the online form at the Red Button section of the website.
Feedback on how the student mentor network is working is very important. It will allow us to make changes to better suit student needs and gives you a formal channel to report issues you may have.
We keep the paperwork to a minimum! So we just supply a simple form for you to complete each month letting us know how you have got on. We don’t want to know about the details of your mentoring relationships – remember those are private. However, do let us know how you are getting on as mentors and if there is anything we can do to help.