Mentor Program | College of Business | SIU

Southern Illinois University

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Mentor Program

Vision Statement of the College

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale College of Business is committed to the highest standards of excellence in pursuing its three core academic functions of teaching, research, and service.

Mission Statement for Mentor Program

The College of Business is dedicated to providing access to educational opportunities for our students, who come from both urban and rural settings, with a diverse background of experiences. This reaches beyond the classroom. The CoB Mentor Program is designed as a support program for students to connect with upperclassmen, staff, and alumni to connect classroom learning with real-life experiences to show a career path after college. The goal of the Mentor Program is to increase the retention and graduation rates for the participants leading to 100% job placement rates.

Structure of the Mentor Program

The CoB Mentor Program will provide intangible benefits to students and encourage graduation while leading to a successful career path. The mentor program would be a “family” structure – as students may turn to the family with questions, concerns, or just for support.

Mentors can guide students in their professional development and provide encouragement in ways that faculty and staff cannot. The mentors will provide a real-world view point and share relevant experiences. Mentors will support students throughout their SIU careers in critical stages of academic and personal development. The mentors will have a faculty/staff contact in the College of Business to assist the relationship as needed, provide academic advice, and navigate the College and University systems. As students gain upper-class status, it is expected that they will assist the mentor family in welcoming and working with the new mentees.

Target Student Audience

Student participants will be recruited during their senior year in high school through their application process to SIU.

This program is open to any College of Business major enrolling as a new freshman. Expansion of the program may include transfer students.

Students would need to express an interest in the program and agree to the expectations of the participants before joining the group. The application process will be managed by Student Services. The total number of students accepted into the program will be driven by how many volunteers are available from the Dean’s External Advisory Board.

The goal is to have one Advisory Board member “adopt” approximately two freshman each year, over four years, growing to a group of approximately 8 students. This would allow the groups to have built in student mentors when they reach upper-class standing.

Expectations of Student Participants

Students will complete a formal application with a brief personal statement expressing interest in the program. Students will be selected primarily by personal statement, but also, major, career interest, ACT, HS GPA, etc. Students are expected to participate during their undergraduate career at SIU.

Once in the program students are expected to engage with their Mentor when the Mentor is available on campus. Ideally, mentors would meet three times an academic year in person, if able to do so. Mentors and students should connect at least once a month via Skype/FaceTime/phone call or email. Events may be arranged for the alumni visiting campus around the Dean’s External Advisory Board Meetings and Move-In weekend.  Additional connections via social media are encouraged (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn). Students would be encouraged to sign a FERPA waiver to allow release of academic records to mentors to review academic progress.

Students would work with their mentor to create a dashboard of goals including, but not limited to academic, professional, and personal areas for each academic year. Complete ENGAGE program which starts the planning: https://engage.act.org:443/ereg/pr/83/1/register/TDT-279-523 Distribution code: TDT-279-523.

Students should show appreciation to the mentor and behave in a manner which reflects it. Communications from students should focus on topics about educational plans, goals, and current matters. Students are expected to be responsive to communications from mentors and interact with messages in a prompt manner. Students should maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and good academic standing. Failure to meet interaction guidelines, or breaking the SIU student conduct code, may result in removal from the program and/or other sanctions.

Tips for Mentees

  • Discuss your expectations from the relationship with your mentor.
  • Think about what you would like to learn from your mentor before responding to communications or having an interaction.
  • Commit to setting short and long term goals for yourself.
  • Keep your mentor fully informed of your progress. If something is going well, share it. If it is not going well, share it. They may have some great ideas for you.
  • Maintain a professional demeanor.
  • Realize this is a privilege, and not necessarily a right to have a mentor. Treat the opportunity you have as such.

Expectations of Alumni Participants

Alumni volunteers from the College of Business External Advisory Board and departmental Advisory Boards will be the “professional mentors” for the students. The professionals will bring their expertise of the business world and provide reality and life checks for students setting a supportive and encouraging framework to reach goals. Alumni will have a staff person to help navigate any questions regarding University questions, etc. Staff members may be brought in as a part of the “family” for regular contacts and programming, if it is so desired by the alumnus.

Professional mentors would be expected to have in-person contact at least three times an academic year, ideally, with one point of contact being the weekend prior to classes starting for the fall semester.

Alumni, the professional mentors, will be matched with student participants and notified of selection approximately August 1 of each academic year. The mentors are not expected to have all the answers, but to be a source of reference and guidance for the students. Professionalism is encouraged in order to set an example for the students in the program.

Tips for Mentors

  • Build the “family” relationship with your mentee.  Be supportive, but have set clear, high expectations for him/her.
  • Help your mentee set goals and a path to reach them.
  • Offer suggestions and feedback on performance/activities.
  • Encourage mentees to “Get Involved” on campus in cultural, athletic, and other student engagement opportunities to expand their experiences.
  • Keep your mentee focused on the long term goal of graduation and career placement.
  • Follow up with your staff resource person if there are concerns with the relationship.

Review of Program

At each Dean’s External Advisory Board meeting, the mentors will provide feedback to Student Services for process improvements. Program improvements will occur prior to New Student Orientations opening for the fall semester (approximately late April).

Success will be measured by the academic year (participants completing program and returning the subsequent fall semester) and long term (graduation and placement rates of participants).