Mentoring programs moving to aid students

Caroline Lautenbacher

Tim Moore was surprised when he had a student come to see him after taking 75 credit hours and didn’t know what the next step to take was.

At yesterday’s “Mentoring Support — A key to your future” with Moore and the Adult Student Center staff, students had the chance to ask questions on what role a mentor takes in their college journey.

“A mentor, being someone who has been around the block or two, can help you light your fire,” said Moore, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It will get you ready to go out in the world and change things.”

Along with Moore were LuWanda Higgins, Adult Services specialist, and Rachel Anderson, director of the Adult Student Center. They led an open discussion on the value of the mentoring program.

“The value of mentoring is monitoring your future, your career and helping negotiate with you where you’re going,” Anderson said. “A mentor is someone to bounce all those ideas off of.”

The first area of discussion was on the connection between retention and mentoring.

“Mentoring can help retention,” Higgins said. “A mentoring relationship is important. It’s making connections and standing together.”

Moore said if students have mentoring, the retention rate is bound to jump.

“They need someone in their career to help lead them,” Moore said. “Otherwise they will turn to where they need it, and it may be another university.”

Another area the group focused on was mentoring’s place in the graduation process.

The group discussed the problem of the students who walk during graduation ceremonies and afterward receive a letter letting them know they have not completed all the required courses.

“Students get caught up with the excitement of graduation,” Moore said. “If they don’t get cleared, we can’t pass them for graduation.”

Anderson advised students to keep track of their credits manually or through their KAPS report.

Mentorship can have a special connection to graduation, Higgins said.

“If you link the journey with mentorship to that moment of graduation, you will remember it for the rest of your life,” Higgins said. “The championship of getting through it is dynamic.”

Many groups are available on campus for mentoring assistance, such as STARS, University Mentoring Program and others.

“Now that I am older and everyone is giving advice, I have learned that you are never too old for advice,” said Kareem Mitchell, senior criminal justice major.

Mitchell said he learned a lot about graduation and gathered insights from the discussion.

“It is obvious that more people need to know the value of mentoring,” Moore said. “Students need to know the role it can play in helping them graduate and also having a life long adviser.”

Contact student affairs reporter Caroline Lautenbacher at [email protected].