CTL: Center for Teaching and Learning

Faculty Mentoring and the Academic Coaching Model

by Amanda Van Lanen

In Fall 2019, LCSC is piloting a new academic coaching model. Academic coaching is a holistic, hands-on model which expands the role of academic advisor from helping students select majors, minors, and semester class schedules to helping students utilize appropriate resources to benefit all facets of their college experience.  Upon their initial semester at LCSC, students (freshmen) advised through The Advising Center will be provided with an Advisor, a Faculty Mentor, and a Peer Mentor.

Freshmen will complete a semester long, for-credit orientation course prior to transitioning to advising by academic instructional divisions. Minimal components completed will include the following:  career plan, academic plan, resume-building engagement activity, and a final culminating assignment demonstrating readiness for pursuit of their major.

Tools for Mentoring

Faculty Mentor Checklist by Amy Minervini 

If you are looking for an easy to follow process, try this one. Download and edit to suit your needs. 

Email Tools

These tools can help you manage email communications with your mentees.

Boomerang (Many thanks to Rachelle Genthos for this one)

Boomerang (full url: https://www.boomeranggmail.com) is a tool for Gmail users that allows you to schedule messages to be delivered at any time, schedule messages to automatically return to the top of your inbox, and create reminders to follow up on messages.

Send Later

Office 365 has a “send later” function that allows you to schedule emails to be delivered in the future.

Send Later

You can also use the “Task” function to set due dates and reminders for replying to emails. Just drag the email to the clipboard icon at the bottom of the screen, and you will be prompted to enter a due date or reminder date.

Task

Why Academic Coaching?

The goal of the new model is to increase retention rates and to help LCSC freshmen develop a greater sense of engagement and belonging. Rather than providing only an academic advisor, freshmen will now be provided with a team that includes an academic advisor, a faculty mentor, and a peer mentor who can serve as a support system to help students address those challenges. Navigating college can be difficult for all freshmen, as students face a number of challenges, both academic and personal, that can interfere with college success. Additionally, LCSC serves a high population of first-generation students who may lack traditional support networks. Students who stay in college are more likely to complete college, and early intervention can make a difference.

While this model is new for LCSC, it has been implemented as many institutions throughout the country. The basic components of LCSC’s Academic Coaching model are based on best practices derived in Student Support Services – a federally funded TRIO program which serves 100% first-generation college students. LCSC serves approximately 75% first generation students. The retention and completion rates of SSS students are compared to those of the entire college population are below:

2019 08 16 14 34 32Note:  The graduation rate displayed for LCSC includes only bachelor’s degree seekers.

What is the difference between an academic advisor, faculty mentor, and peer mentor?

Academic Advisors serve as the primary academic advisors to LCSC freshmen. The Academic Advisor will:

  • Discuss possible majors/careers with students and help them select courses
  • Release students to register for courses
  • Work with students to create an academic plan for graduation
  • Discuss strategies and resources to help students be successful in college
  • Answer questions regarding policies, procedures, and deadlines related to college (financial aid, registration, housing, payment plans, etc.)
  • Maintain regular correspondence with advisees

Faculty mentors will play an integral role in students’ initial college experience by providing content knowledge and expertise as well as career advice.  The Faculty Mentor will:

  • Help students with discipline specific questions
  • Direct students toward resources relevant to their major
  • Help students identify academic, professional, and social goals
  • Provide support and suggestions for academic growth

Peer mentors will assist their mentees in navigating the first semester of college by engaging with mentees at the direction of the Academic Advisor to whom they are assigned.  The Peer Mentor will:

  • Help students explore extra-curricular opportunities that will help students build their resume
  • Help students explore activities and campus events that will add to their college experience
  • Provide advice on college success

Faculty Mentor Responsibilities

As this is the pilot year, the role and responsibilities of faculty mentors is still in a work in progress. Each division will be able to shape the mentor role to best fit the needs of their students.

It is important to distinguish faculty mentors from advisors during a student’s first semester because many processes call for an advisor to take specific actions (e.g., signing a Program Information Form or a petition).  Faculty mentors will actively communicate with the student’s advisor and direct students to the advisor, peer mentor, or other student services where necessary. After the students’ first semester, the faculty mentor may take on advising duties in addition to the mentoring role, but students may also move to different faculty mentors/advisors depending on individual circumstances such as a change of major.

Mentoring is an integral part of the Lewis-Clark State College’s efforts to support student success, retention, and graduation, and it is not limited to the formal roles outlined in the new advising model. Informal and formal mentoring which happen throughout academic activities and student support services is highly valued. The goal of the new model is to supplement those forms of mentoring, but to work to specifically strengthen the support network for incoming freshmen.

FAQs

Which students are enrolled in the academic coaching model?

  • Academic Programs - First time freshmen and transfer students with less than 14 credits. Students who have never taken a class on a college campus are considered first time freshmen. In other words, high school students who have taken dual credit are still considered first time freshmen.
  • CTE programs- Newly admitted freshmen will meet with a CTE faculty or staff advisor for the purposes of career guidance, assessment, and goal clarification. During this meeting, admitted students will be provided with information regarding developmental course preparation, next steps in the registration process, and other facets of their college experience. Once registered through a STAR program, students will be assigned to a faculty advisor. Additionally, freshmen will be assigned a peer mentor. If registered as a pre-program student, students will be provided with a staff advisor and faculty mentor until fully admitted to their program.

How will I know which students have been assigned to me?

  • Mentee assignments will be made by divisions, just like advising assignments. You will be able to view your mentees through WarriorWeb and Student Planning.

Will I have access to my mentees’ academic records?

  • Yes – as a mentor, you will be able to view your mentees’ academic records through WarriorWeb and Student Planning. While it can be useful to view a student’s grades or course schedule for the purposes of mentoring, it is important to remember that the academic advisor is responsible for helping students register. Any questions or concerns relating to the student’s course schedule or registration should be directed to the student’s advisor.

Resources

  Link to The Advising Center - http://www.lcsc.edu/advising-center/