Peer and graduate mentors are a critical part of the University Studies program at Portland State. Recruiting for next year’s mentors is underway, and Jan. 25 is the application deadline for interested students.
According to Candyce Reynolds, the director of the mentor program, University Studies is an innovative and highly praised general education program that has been in effect since 1994; the mentor aspect has been a part of University Studies since its conception.
“The university really took a brave stance,” Reynolds said.
Peer mentors help in freshman inquiry classes while graduate mentors assist in sophomore inquiry classes. The mentor sessions provide smaller groups for students to interact with one another.
Reynolds said that research showed that students who have one-on-one contact with other students have a higher college success rate. Because Portland State is a commuter campus there was a greater need to help students build a sense of community to promote success.
“It is really hard to describe all that a mentor does,” Reynolds said. Mentors provide coaching, advising and referral for students.
One aspect of a mentor’s job is to help role model what it means to be a good student, which in turn will hopefully contribute to the student’s college experience.
Reynolds said it is imperative that potential mentors have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they work in a close relationship with faculty members, as well with diverse groups of students.
The workload for mentors is approximately 16 to 20 hours a week.
For more information on becoming a mentor, contact Candyce Reynolds at [email protected] or call the University Studies office at 503-725-5590. Applications are available outside the University Studies office in Cramer Hall Room 163.