The mentor initiatives are structured, utilizing specific methods and activities with the purpose of offering new students guidance, emotional support, and role models through meeting with more experienced students. It can be difficult for new students to use relevant and helpful offers, because of the barrier of anxiety relating to being ‘one-of-them’ who needs support. Therefore, all students are signed up for the mentor scheme with the option of opting out. Through easy access to an already established community of like-minded people, students will experience a stronger sense of belonging to the institution, and the academic and social community.
To ensure a sustainable and effective mentor scheme, needs, purpose, format, and framework are first identified in collaboration with the educators, and the institution sets aside resources for the administration of the efforts. One or multiple students are chosen as mentor coordinators, partly to give the students influence and co-ownership of the efforts, and also to take part in the coordination and administration of the efforts.
Content in the mentor initiatives
- Relevant employees and mentor coordinators will receive knowledge about the essential structural ingredients that are part of creating sustainable peer-to-peer-schemes as well as which role they, as employees, can take concerning the volunteer students as well as the students’ role and contact creation.
- Mentors are prepared for the task through a professional introduction to the leadership and mentor role and gain knowledge about what creates dissatisfaction, how to spot dissatisfaction in their fellow students, practically-oriented training of concrete conversation techniques. as well as process management of study/mentee groups.
- Supervision of mentors
Retraining of tutors
The workshop for tutors has the purpose of giving an increased awareness of the role and the responsibility that comes with the title as well as larger ownership for creating a safe, inclusive beginning for a diverse group of new students.
The tutors are often the first people that new students meet within the educational institution and the culture that marks the place. Therefore, it is of great importance that the tutors are aware of and understand the responsibility and the commitments that comes with their role. At many campuses, the tutor group is made up of a strikingly-homogenous group, consisting of extrovert personalities with a strong, social anchoring at the place of study. The activities that are arranged during the study start often reflect this group’s preferences with the downside that it can create a narrow range of images of how you should be to fit in. This can be experienced as exclusive for students with other needs and preferences. It can often be prevented by preparing the tutors for the task.
Content in workshops for tutors
The tutors will gain knowledge about:
- What can affect study well-being.
- The psychological reactions to dissatisfaction as well as how to spot dissatisfaction in their fellow students.
- How, by virtue of their role as culture bearers as well as culture creators, they can influence the narrative the students create about who they should be and what they should be able to do to fit into the specific course of education.
- How they can be a part of creating a safe and inclusive culture with room for diversity.
The workshop for tutors is repeated at each study start over a three-year period.