Beaver Connect

The Beaver Connect program connects new-to-OSU students, peers, and faculty members in an effort to ease the student transition to college, facilitate faculty-student interaction, and build a network of support to help all students succeed during their time at OSU.

Students are placed on teams of up to 4 new-to-OSU students, 1 peer mentor, and 1 faculty member for mentorship, guidance, and community building in their first year at OSU. Teams meet up to 5 times per term during the first year in Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. Teams discuss a variety of topics from how to be successful to applying for scholarships, finding research opportunities, and exploring career paths.

 

Ready to get connected?

New-to-OSU Student Sign Up

 

Questions?

I would love to hear from you! Please email the Program Coordinator Caitlin McVay with questions or for more information on how to get involved with Beaver Connect.

Is this the community for you?

Beaver Connect serves both first year & transfer students who identify as:

  • first in their family to go to college
  • low income
  • students of color
  • and of any underrepresented identity at OSU
2018 First Year Student

"[This program helped me] to better appreciate what OSU offers and the opportunities available here, as a result of discussions with my peer and faculty mentors about their own college experiences. It helped me be even more sure that OSU is the right place for me."

Program Participation Outcomes

Students who participate will be able to:

  Build connections
  Ease transitions
  Discover opportunities
  Envision success

  

Program History

In 2018 OSU launched a targeted pilot program called the Faculty-Student Mentor Program (FSMP) to meet a key recommendation of the Undergraduate Student Success Steering Committee: that OSU do a better job of supporting our students in their first year at OSU, whether they are first-year or transfer students. The program placed special focus on improving the student transition for students of color, first-generation, and low-income students through a central campus initiative and college, school, and department level initiatives. The pilot ran for two years and was part of a research study led by Dr. Gloria Crisp with the College of Education which examined the impact of the program on retention and graduation rates of students at OSU overall.

After the pilot showed measurable levels of success, the program was formally housed within the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) in 2020 and continues to serve the same populations of students nearly university-wide.

Info for Peer Mentors

 

This year I enjoyed watching my mentees learn and grow as college students. They became more confident and comfortable at OSU and made social connections on campus. They also bonded with and uplifted each other as the year progressed. I am so proud of them.

Our research on the pilot program clearly showed the unique benefits of a co-leadership model composed of both faculty and upper-division peers. New-to-OSU students are looking for connection and community from a variety of sources and we especially value the expertise and relevance a peer mentor can bring to each team. Through this paid position, upper division students can really make a difference for new-to-OSU students.

The expected commitment of up to 10 hours per term lasts for a full academic year (Fall-Spring). Peer Mentors will co-lead discussions with a faculty member and up to 4 new-to-OSU students. Teams typically meet every other week for 1 hour discussions on navigating the first year, exploring opportunities, and envisioning a path to success. Peer Mentors are recruited each Spring with information sessions and trainings offered throughout the following months. Selection is based on student sign up per college. Preference will be given to previous student participants in the program and those close to degree completion.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for more info with our interest form below!

Peer Mentor Interest Form

What's in it for you?

As a result of participating in the Beaver Connect program, peer mentors will be able to…

  1. Build stronger connections to faculty and peers at OSU

  2. Increase leadership capacity and build skills in communication, mentorship, teamwork, and resiliency

  3. Provide navigational support to new students at OSU

  4. Support OSU’s strategic goals to increase retention and success of students

Who are we looking for?

Current OSU students, typically 2nd year and higher undergraduates, seeking to...

  • Listen compassionately to challenges and successes of new-to-OSU students

  • Share experiences and tips for successfully navigating the first year at college

  • Strengthen networks with faculty and peers

  • Increase leadership skills

Info for Faculty Mentors

 

This represents a great opportunity to establish a personal connection between faculty and first-year students, giving them listeners and confidence.

Beaver Connect grew out of the Faculty-Student Mentor Program pilot program that ran from 2018-2020, which involved faculty and leadership across nearly all colleges at OSU who provided navigational support, connection, and leadership capacity building to over 700 undergraduate students and peer mentors. The program contributes directly to OSU’s Strategic Plan 4.0 officially launched in 2019; namely to increase our retention and graduation of all students by focusing on the selected tactic to redesign and implement changes to support systems for students’ transition from admission to the end of the first year of enrollment

Peer-reviewed literature indicates significant benefits to students who participate in faculty-student mentorship. While OSU undergraduate students view faculty very favorably, many reported feeling isolated from their professors on exit from the university. Since the introduction of the pilot program in 2018, our faculty have been working hard to change the perception and culture of OSU and positively affect retention and success rates for participants in the program.

Your Role

Faculty who participate in Beaver Connect will be matched with a peer mentor and together you will co-lead a team of 3 to 4 new-to-OSU students during their first year at OSU. The focus is on community building and support rather than providing advising or content-specific knowledge. As a result of participating in the Beaver Connect program, faculty mentors will be able to:

  1. Build connections to faculty and students at OSU
  2. Learn first-hand about the student transition experience
  3. Collaborate with a peer mentor to provide mentorship to new students
  4. Support OSU’s strategic goals to increase retention and success of students

Who are we looking for?

Serving as a faculty mentor takes compassion, patience, and persistence. This program primarily serves both first-year and transfer undergraduate students who identify as first-generation, low income, and students of color. Faculty who share these identities are especially welcome. We also invite:

  • Teaching faculty, both tenure and non-tenure stream
  • University leadership
  • Those able to volunteer up to 39 hours for the full academic year (up to five 1-hour meetings per term, plus scheduling time and occasional trainings)

Sign up to be a faculty mentor