The Peer Mentoring Program greatly increases classroom
learning by using a set of research-based, best mentoring practices.
Foundational values support these practices as mentors develop classroom and
training materials, solicit feedback and lead student learning.
1) Value of the individual
We place a high value
on our students and that value is reflected in how we structure our
program. Our primary focus is helping each student succeed and grow. Our
mentors facilitate student success by interacting with students individually
and in small groups. Our mentors’ purpose is to increase student learning.
Our first step in improving student learning is demonstrating respect for
each student in every activity, program, and policy.
2) Passion for learning
Our mentors must have
several important characteristics. We look for mentors who have a passion
to understand both engineering and learning. Each mentor must have
completed the class successfully and be enthusiastic about engineering.
However, our best engineering students are not always our best mentors.
Each mentor must also be interested in seeing others learn. They must want
to transfer their passion for engineering to other students.
3) Alignment with natural learning
Students have natural
ways of learning and we focus on those methods. We believe that students
construct knowledge on a foundation of prior knowledge. Our methods surface
deficient prior knowledge and assist students in constructing accurate new
4) Collaboration in learning
Our mentors are not
experts in either engineering or learning. They facilitate student learning
by creating a collaborative learning environment. A collaborative learning
environment focuses the intelligence of the community on mastering learning
5) Growth of skills over time
Acquiring and improving
skills in engineering and learning takes time. We provide both time and
feedback through an iterative process. This process is used for both the
students with curricular goals and with the mentors as they work on
6) Value in feedback
Excellent feedback is
vital since students learn and improve by practice. We assess student
performance by stating what is well done and what needs improved. This
feedback gives students an outside perspective on their performance and
trains students to assess quality work. Our mentors are trained to give
feedback that is both accurate and reinforces the value of the individual.
7) Environment of success
Our mentors create a
safety net for our students. Mentoring practices create an environment of
academic challenge, personal attention, and fun. Student frustration
decreases while performance increases resulting in an effective learning
environment that maximizes student success.