Program

convention.myacpa.org

Program

Online Peer Mentoring:

Staying Connected from

Orientation to Welcome Week


Katie Partin, M.Ed.

Program Coordinator, Sr.

Office of First Year Initiatives

University of Louisville

katie.partin@louisville.edu

(502) 852-8097

Introductions

Chelsea McKendree

CAPS Leader

Office of First Year Initiatives

University of Louisville

Brittany Blake, M.Ed.

Project Coordinator

Office of First Year Initiatives

University of Louisville

brblak02@louisville.edu

(502) 852-3125


Book-in-Common

Welcome Week

The FRY

STOMP

WinterFest

Cider & Cocoa Carts

Late Night Exam Breakfasts

FYI Programs

CAPS Leader Mentor Program


ivic

cademic

ersonal

ocial

CAPS Philosophy

Diversity and community

Traditions, expectations, opportunities

Individual development and well-being

Meet, develop, and maintain relationships with

students, faculty, and staff


Why create a summer

mentor program?

• Summer Orientation

o May/June

o Welcome Week feel

• Academic Orientation

Courses (AOCs)

o Decentralized

o Mandatory


Grounding a Solution

in Research

• Student Departure Theory (Tinto)

• Timing is everything (Kuh, et al.)

• Importance of peer support in transition

(Upcraft, Gardner, & Assoc.)

• Student commitment to the institution

(Wallace et al.)


So…why create a summer

mentor program?

• To assist first year students in:

o Bridging the gap

o Forging & strengthening connections

o Learning more about UofL

o Easing their transition

o Integrating earlier into academic/social

(i.e. college) life


• Summer

Orientation

• Postcard

Marketing

• Welcome Week promo

o Meet Your Mentor Lunch


CAPS Leader Mentor Program

Overview

• Mentors

• Platform (Blackboard)

Program Structure

• Typical Week

• Meet Your Mentor Lunch

• Assessment


Mentors

Application & Selection

• Recruit from existing mentor programs

• Online application; interviews; selection

• Paid ~ $252 for the 7-week program

o At your institution: Don’t have the funds?

• For credit

• Co-curricular credit

• Volunteer

• Assign 1 CAPS-L to 2 AOC sections

o Average course: 25-30 students

o Try to assign like-majored Leaders with courses


Mentor (3 hours)

• Review:

o Program

o Manual

o UofL resources

• Expectations

• Mentoring 101

Training

• Group work

o Tips from returners

o Example scenarios

Technology (2 hours)

• “How to” in Bb

o Set up shell

o Send email/post in DB

o Run reports

• Film intro video


Platform

Blackboard

• Utilize existing resources (Blackboard)

o Use email & Discussion Board functions

o House resources on CAPS-L tab

o Give CAPS-L instructor level access

• Academic Orientation Courses (AOC)

o Almost all incoming students (~95%) enrolled in

an AOC with Blackboard shell

• Facebook (optional)


Program Structure

Weekly Themed Content

Week 1: Introductions

Week 2: Civic

Week 3: Academic

Week 4: Personal

Week 5: Social

Week 6: Other Mentor Programs at UofL

Week 7: Final Words of Wisdom


Typical Week of a CAPS-L

Email

• Email

o Send

• Group Email (Mon/Tues)

• Cardinal Clue Email (Wed/Thurs)

o Respond

o Promptly to any questions

• Extras

o Weeks 1 & 2

• Blackboard instructions

• Facebook contact (optional)

o Week 3

• Personalized emails to non-participants

o BinC integration


Typical Week of a CAPS-L

Blackboard & Administrative Tasks

• Blackboard

o Top 5 List

o Resource List

o “Where at UofL?” Video Contest

o Discussion Board Activity

• Complete administrative tasks

o Usage reports

o Contact log

o Timesheet

o Mid-point check-in


Meet Your Mentor Lunch

Welcome Week


Supporting the CAPS-L

• June

o Refresher sessions

o Early prep and check

• July – August

o Program managed by graduate intern

• Administrative tasks

• Updates and announcements for CAPS-L

• Mid-point check-in

o Assisted by undergraduate student (CAPS-L)

• Communication “checklist”


Assessment

Student Participant Survey

What influenced first year students to

participate in the CAPS-L program?

• Learning UofL technology

• Staying connected to UofL

• Meeting other students in their section

• Feeling it’s an important part of their transition


Assessment

Student Participant Survey

What are first year students getting out

of the CAPS-L program?

• Increased knowledge of campus and

community resources

• Better understanding of CAPS aspects at UofL

• Making a positive connection with a CAPS-L

• Feeling more prepared to start UofL


“It helped me transition to

UofL life over the summer.”

Connecting to Research

Timing is Everything

“It was almost like a preview of campus

before you actually got there

which made the transition easier.”

“It was very informative and helped me

transition very quickly and efficiently

into college life.”


“It allowed me to prepare for

college by my CAPS Leader

sending emails to me about

any issues she faced as an

incoming college freshman

and a lot of the issues I could

relate with and it made me

feel more comfortable coming

to college.”

Connecting to Research

Importance of Peer Connections

“My CAPS leader was very helpful. I

could ask him anything and he knew

the answer or would refer me to

someone who did. The connection

with someone who has been through

it all helped me prepare for college. It

calmed my nerves and made me feel

comfortable. I enjoyed the program

and having the opportunity to have

someone to help guide me.”


Connecting to Research

Institutional Support

“The CAPS Leader program

showed that UofL really does care

for its students.”

“My CAPS leader was so helpful!

She answered all of my questions,

and was so friendly. She was also

very knowledgeable about campus,

and organizations! Loved it!”

“With the program, UofL is being

proactive and there’s a feeling that

people on campus are waiting for the

new students to arrive.”


Assessment

Student Participant Survey

What areas of the CAPS-L program

could be improved? (according to first year students)

• Didn’t understand how the program worked

• Didn’t make strong connection with CAPS-L or

classmates

• Information: not useful or too general/repetitive

• Contact from CAPS-L: too much or too little

• Confusion over which mentor to ask


Assessment

CAPS Leader Survey

What are the mentors getting out of the

CAPS-L program?

• Overwhelming majority indicated:

o Being a CAPS-L was a positive experience

o Strengthened mentor skills

o Learned something new about UofL

o Made a connection they plan to continue after

program ends

o Made a positive connection with faculty/staff


Assessment

CAPS Leader Survey

What worked for the mentors?

• Emails

o Making them individualized and fun emails

o Using interesting icebreakers

o Replying promptly

• Content

o Personal experiences

o Being consistent and honest

o Top 5 lists

o “Where at UofL?” video contest

o Intro videos

• Meet Your Mentor Lunch


Assessment

CAPS Leader Survey

What was challenging for the mentors?

• Knowing academic unit-specific info

(especially for those working outside major)

• Unresponsive mentees

• Making a REAL connection over email


Lessons Learned

Program

o Utilize existing resources

o Pre-load course material into Bb

o Great opportunity for a graduate intern

• Mentees

o Be aware of incoming students’ familiarity with

technology

• Mentors

o Realistic expectations for participation

o Hold summer refresher sessions

o Encourage creativity and personal experiences


Future of Our Program

Changes for 2012

• Shorten the program by 1 week

o Take out week 6: “Other Mentor Programs at UofL”

• Require 1 less email a week

o Combine Group and Cardinal Clue email

o Utilize the “Announcement” function in Bb

• Make discussion board optional

• Change BinC integration strategy

• Make adjustments for A&S Peer Advisors


Creating Your Program

What would you need?

Program

o Online platform

o Coordinator or intern

o Content

• Mentors

o Buy-in from other mentor programs

• Money

• Flexibility

• Patience!


Katie Partin

Thank You!

Program Coordinator, Sr.

Office of First Year Initiatives

University of Louisville

katie.partin@louisville.edu

(502) 852-8097

Questions?

Brittany Blake

Project Coordinator

Office of First Year Initiatives

University of Louisville

brblak02@louisville.edu

(502) 852-3125

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