By Kim Shambrook, Kendall’s Interim President
This fall, Provost Dr. Águeda Benito and her team launched a mentorship program that connects new students to a faculty mentor. This way, when new students have a question or concern, they have someone knowledgeable to direct them to resources, act as a sounding board and serve as an unofficial guide to Kendall. I recently spoke to Dr. Benito about the program:
Why did you spearhead a faculty mentorship program for new students?
It’s part of the college’s ongoing plan to continually provide students with better learning experiences. Our mentorship program brings faculty out of the “walls of the classroom” to provide students with more comprehensive support during their first semester so they feel welcome and engaged and so they know where to go when they have questions. It’s about paving a path for student success starting the first day of the term.
How has the role of a faculty member changed?
In medieval times, earning a degree was all about knowledge. A good faculty member was someone who knew a lot and could share all their knowledge with students. Today, the role of faculty has changed. Knowledge is important, but the role of faculty does not need to be centered on imparting knowledge any more. The focus should be on guiding students through the learning process by keeping them engaged and supporting them.
In these regular, one-on-one conversations, faculty help students fully develop their strengths, which will enable them to complete the term (and ultimately their program) successfully.
What does it mean to be a faculty mentor?
I think it’s very rewarding. If you’re a true educator, you believe in your students and want to see them grow so they are better prepared for their careers and success in life. I believe there’s nothing as rewarding as helping students do their best.
How else does this benefit students?
As students go on to become professionals, they will be more aware of the value of mentorships, seek them out, and know how to invest in their skills to continue to grow. It’s not only about the courses, grades or degree anymore. It’s about careers, dreams and development by being supported and guided throughout their lives.