What makes a great peer mentor?
Approachable, enthusiastic, knowledgeable about University resources, and genuinely interested in helping others.
Serve as a resource, a helping hand, a sounding board, and a referral service.
Provide support, encouragement, and information to students in INDS who are just beginning the program.
Help students learn to network with other peers, faculty, administration.
Familiar with INDS procedures, or can direct students to someone who can properly address their concerns.
One of the great things about peer mentors is that they have had experience being in the program; they can give advice on coursework, research, degree milestones and timelines, professional protocol, etc. They are also experts in the INDS student experience; ideally, they serve as both personal and professional support for the students they mentor.
ALL PEER MENTORS MUST HAVE AN APPROVED INDS DEGREE PLAN
The Benefits of Being a Peer Mentor:
Based on previous studies, peer mentors appreciate the opportunity for self reflection about their own academic and career path, and report gaining an increased understanding of their studies. Mentors have also reported increased communication skills and an increased sensitivity to the challenges others face. And an added benefit: you can list this role on graduate school applications and resumes. The leadership skills that mentors develop can be useful in any area of life: personal, academic and career.
Expectations of a Peer Mentor:
Peer mentors are encouraged to be available in multiple ways, including offering students an email address and at least one phone number. Your commitment is for ONE semester, although you can continue your mentoring relationship beyond the semester. You can have more than one mentee, and a mentee can request to have more than one mentor.
Once the match has been made, mentors are required to contact their mentee within a week to schedule a face-to-face meeting.
Responsibilities of the Peer Mentor:
· Be yourself and allow your mentee to be him/herself
· Be a good listener
· Don’t attempt to handle situations with your mentee which you are not qualified to deal with
· Be available, active, and positive
· Follow up on any commitments you make with your mentee
· Do not betray confidential information (unless you are concerned for your mentee’s personal or academic well-being)
· Encourage goals and accountability throughout the mentoring process
· Don’t be an “academic” advisor, tutor, professional counselor, or “parent”. Instead, connect your mentees with academic resources, faculty, instructors, advisors, tutors, help centers, etc.
· You are NOT expected to know all of the answers
· A Peer Mentor IS: a campus buddy, a good listener, a campus resource guide, a brain-storming buddy, an advice giver on social and academic topics
· A Peer Mentor IS NOT: a psychologist, a medical expert, a parent, a romantic interest, a connection to parties, an academic advisor, a resident assistant
· Problems that may develop: mentee does not respond to calls/emails, mentee is unwilling to meet with you or engage with you, comments or signals that the mentee is really unhappy at UMBC or thinking of leaving school, any behaviors that concern you because of their negative nature
· In case problems develop…contact Carrie Sauter in INDS, firstname.lastname@example.org 410-455-2037.
Communicating with your Mentee:
After mentor/mentees have been assigned, it will be up to the mentors to contact the mentees to answer any questions they may have about campus life, give them tips about getting settled during the first few weeks of school and check in on them periodically throughout the semester. Mentors should have a face-to-face meeting with their mentees in a place that is comfortable, like the Commons, Starbucks, or the dining hall. Exchange phone numbers and email information. Feel free to share copies of your class schedule so you can decide, together, when the best times will be for future check in meetings and get-togethers. Invite and encourage your mentees to attend INDS and UMBC events.
In your conversations, ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with simple “yes” or “no responses. Here are some sample questions to help you break the ice:
– What is your hometown? High school?
– Why did you decide to come to UMBC?
– What is your INDS major about?
– How are things going so far?
– Do you have any major problems or concerns?
– What’s your break down of classes? Are they hard or easy?
– How will you keep yourself organized for all your classes and commitments?
– Are you stressed about anything?
– Are you going to work or get a job on or off campus?
– What are your study habits like? (Share your own study habits)
– What organizations are you interested in getting involved in?
– (If living on campus) How is your roommate situation going?
– (If commuting) Are you having any troubles with parking?
INDS Welcome Week Breakfast: Monday 8/31, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., lower level of Fine Arts
Involvement Fest: Wednesday 9/2, 12-3, The Quad
S’mores and Movie Social: Thursday 9/17, 6:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m., Erickson Field
Tie Dye: Wednesday 9/30 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m, The Commons Main Street
Homecoming Brunch: Saturday 10/10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., lower level Fine Arts, plus variety of other Homecoming events throughout the week
Pumpkin Decorating: Wednesday 10/28, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., The Commons Main Street
Pumpkin Delivery: Friday 10/30, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., DelRey School
Any sporting events, like Midnight Madness (mid-October) http://umbcretrievers.com
An arts and culture event http://artscalendar.umbc.edu/
Career Center Seminar http://www.careers.umbc.edu/news_events/calendar.php
Entrepreneurship Speaker Series http://entrepreneurship.umbc.edu/
Humanities Forum http://artscalendar.umbc.edu/category/humanities-forum/
Social Science Forum http://www.umbc.edu/socsforum/
Women’s Center Film Series http://my.umbc.edu/groups/womenscenter/events
Going to lunch or getting coffee
Send them a good luck card or gift before midterms/finals and offer to help them study