June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.924.1 - 11.924.12
MENTOR: Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships
In the fall semester of 2005 the First Year Engineering Program at North Carolina State University initiated a new and exciting mentoring program for all ~1200 of our first-semester engineering students. MENTOR (Motivating ENgineers Through Organized Relationships) is a ground breaking program in terms of its size and scope, whose aim is to increase student success in engineering through early connections to a positive peer network. The successes of mentoring programs is widely documented in the literature, and indeed in the college of engineering at NC State we have two very successful mentoring programs aimed at women and minorities. The motivation for initiating the MENTOR program was to extend these successes, and to provide a mentoring experience for all ~1200 of our entering first-semester engineering students. This paper describes the background, implementation, assessment, and future plans of the program.
In order to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of a program with the scope and size of the MENTOR Program, we benchmarked our plans with peer program data available in the literature. In addition, we looked at the components of our existing mentoring programs for women and minority engineers. Below are details of each of these programs – which formed the basis of our implementation and assessment plan.
Peer mentoring programs of various kinds have been part of engineering programs for a number of years.1 Initially such programs were focused on underrepresented minorities and women in engineering.2 At NC State, the Minority Engineering and Women in Engineering Programs have provided mentors for students served by their offices.
START (STudent Advancement And Retention Teams) is NC State College of Engineering’s mentoring program for minority engineering freshmen and sophomores. An early intervention and peer-mentoring program, START aims to create useful partnerships among minority engineering students. Students are paired by major, demographics, or both with an upper-class minority engineering student. START mentors act as big brothers/sisters to mentees. START teams meet on a regular basis to discuss a variety of issues, from choice of classes to securing internships. Social activities are held to allow START mentors to interact with their mentees in a non-academic setting. In 2005-2006 the START program involves 40 mentors serving 276 mentees.
At NC State, the Women in Engineering peer mentoring program, WENT (Women Engineers Networking Together) was started in 1999 as an all volunteer program to connect first year students with upper class students in the same major. Pairs are matched one-on-one, and participation is totally voluntary, with solicitation of interest made at the beginning of each semester. At the end of the fall semester, pairs are asked to assess their experience, and either member can request a rematching without prejudice. Pairs are asked to communicate once a week and meet at least once a month. Mentors are given the responsibility for maintaining the
Koehler, B., & Lavelle, J., & Matney, S., & Robbins, M. C. (2006, June), Mentor: Motivating Engineers Through Organized Relationships Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--363
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