Our approach to mentoring comes from Dr. Gloria Crisp and her research on undergraduate mentoring, which suggests that mentors can provide students with four types of interrelated support:
Crisp, G. (2009). Conceptualization and initial validation of the College Student Mentoring Scale (CSMS). Journal of College Student Development, 50(2), 177-194; Crisp, G. & Cruz, I. (2009). Mentoring college students: A critical review of the literature between 1990 and 2007. Research in Higher Education, 50(6), 525-545.
"It's constant growth. I always tell [my faculty mentor] that I'm so grateful for this opportunity because it keeps me growing year to year. I learn so much more.
It’s really a learning experience for us all and it's really just a collaborative process. And I think that’s where the joy of it comes from, you know I wouldn’t be continuing to do it if it wasn’t enjoyable, but the fact that it really is just a time and place for us all to come together all as equals like, ‘Hey we’re in this together, let’s just support each other.’ That pushes me to keep going."
Beaver Connect teams consist of 1 faculty member, 1 undergraduate peer mentor, and 3-4 new undergraduate students. Mentor expectations, for both faculty and peer mentors, are:
Facilitate a strong partnership with your co-mentor
Commit for the full academic year
Able to work an average of 10 hours/term
Participate in 1-hour meetings up to 5x/term with the full mentoring team
Optional: Participate in various program events, learning communities, etc. as available
Peer Mentors Only: Attend an All Peer Check-In 1x/term
Peer Mentors Only: Serve as lead for admin tasks such as scheduling meetings, tracking student participation, and relaying communications between your team and the Program Coordinator
As a mentor, it may take some time to identify your role on this team. Some things to consider:
Be a role model – someone for the students to look up to
Get students excited about being a Beaver!
Help students transition to OSU by offering ideas about who to meet, places to go, things to do
Don't assume you can only mentor students who are in your field of study
Connect students with folks in your network and/or folks on campus who may be of assistance
Take time to reflect on your mentoring style and philosophy
You are not expected to be academic advisors, tutors, mediators, mental health professionals, or problem solvers/fixers. Check out our great resources on making referrals on the FAQs page!
Step 1. As soon as you are matched with your students and your co-mentor, reach out to introduce yourself. Depending on the timing, you may need to do this at separate times in order to avoid potential delays. In your emails to
Co-mentors: Schedule a meeting to discuss roles and responsibilities and go over your mentoring style
Students: Keep it short and convey your excitement to be working with them and what/when to expect to hear from you again
Step 2. Start scheduling as soon as possible. Faculty should share their schedules with peers. You may want to request copies of student class/work schedules, or create a poll, or suggest a few times right away - this depends on your style. Use the other tips listed here and troubleshooting FAQs if you are having response issues.
Step 3. Prepare for your meeting - decide together with your co-mentor whether you will use a Weekly Meeting Guide or come up with an icebreaker or some other activity
Step 4. Attend your meeting!
Step 5. Peers should record student participation, withdrawals, and issues on the appropriate forms. Faculty may also use these forms as needed.
Start scheduling right away
As for schedules, use polls, or suggest times to meet
Aim for a consistent day & time each term
Be persistent, but patient
Send both group and individual emails
Email more than once
Send reminders before meetings
Send summary emails after meetings, even to those who didn't attend
Send a "we missed you" message to students who didn't attend
Meetings don’t have to be routine! Feel free to mix it up and try new things with your students. Be mindful of free or low-cost activities to avoid putting unnecessary financial pressure on low-income students. Here are 10 of our favorite ideas:
Walking (or Virtual) Tour of Campus or Corvallis
Invite Guest Speakers
Attend an Event: virtual, in person, sporting, Craft Center etc!
Meet somewhere new
Visit the Corvallis Farmers Market
Lanes & Games at the MU or play online games such as skribbl.io
Collaborate with other mentoring teams
Implement a weekly challenge that students can do in between meetings
There are many things to consider when making your meetings inclusive and accessible to all. Here are some of the top tips for both in-person and online meetings:
Don’t assume everyone can hear, see, or understand clearly, especially in virtual environments. This could be due to ability status, English language abilities, or technological challenges to name a few. Always clarify to see if everyone is comfortable.
Discuss how to access live captioning and transcripts at the beginning of your first meeting. Note that this service is typically not accurate enough to replace an accommodation request related to disability.
Provide instructions on how someone can ask questions and how to take turns speaking, especially with groups where some students are more comfortable talking than others.
If your meeting contains an activity: think about the accessibility of the activity in terms of physical ability but also income status and other identity-based needs.
Beaver Connect teams are formally connected for only 1 year, and you may be wondering how best to wrap up those final conversations. We recommend bringing up this topic during the next to last session so that your students have one more opportunity to bring any final thoughts or concerns, consider if and how to explore their next mentorship opportunities, and save the last meeting for something fun, low-effort, and celebratory to mark the end of your time together! Some suggestions:
Reflect on what you have enjoyed or appreciated this year during your time together
Discuss the closing of the formal relationship, and if and how you might be available to them in the future. It is important to:
Be clear with your availability moving forward
Recognize challenges and growth your students have experienced
Encourage students to identify an appropriate support system
Help students explore other mentorship opportunities within their major, college, or professional interests
This post has some great guidance on gracefully ending a mentoring relationship
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