The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) prepared for their upcoming mentorship program launch with a training session for the academic societies involved. The session discussed the logistics of the program, as well as what student mentors should expect moving forward.
The mentorship program will be made up of upper-year students from a variety of different academic societies, including the English and Drama Students Society, the Sociology and Criminology Society, the Undergraduate Commerce Society, and the Political Science and Pre-law Association, among others.
The program is scheduled to be up and running around mid-October, and will allow first year students the chance to get advice and academic knowledge from someone who has already been through what they are experiencing.
The mentorship program will have two separate positions: mentors and mentorship directors.
Mentors will act as points-of-contact for students who have any questions, either academic or otherwise. The mentors will then be able to connect the students to the correct resources and offer them advice.
Mentorship directors will select mentors for students and ensure that the number of mentors matches the size of the program.
The training session was led by the UTMSU’s VP University Affairs Andres Posada.
While presenting, Posada told students he hoped that the mentorship program would help make UTM more communal by having students help one another to achieve their goals stating, “the role of a mentor is to engage a student to a level of experience.”
“Every student has different needs and wants […] this is where the mentorship program comes into place,” he continued. “We’re building a community to help each other grow.”
Representatives from the Office of the Registrar also presented at the training session.
Associate Registrar, Student Success Sherry Yuan Hunter spoke about the necessity for mentors to understand the gravity of their position.
“[The mentorship program] is a phenomenal opportunity to do something very meaningful and make UTM a better place for students,” stated Hunter.
In her presentation, Hunter told the future mentors that they may have to give their mentees information about program requirements, finances, and course selection, and warned them that they should be wary of what they know and don’t know.
“You should refer students to the proper resources […] and be working closely with your departments.”
When asked about where mentors will be holding their office hours, Pasada stated that the UTMSU were still “finalizing specific rooms for booking,” and were looking into spaces in the students’ centre and on campus for mentors to be able to meet with their students.
All information about mentors and their office hours will be available on the UTMSU’s website under the clubs and academic societies tab. Once the program launches, the website will include the area of study, the mentor for each program, their name, biography, as well as when and where their office hours will be.
The main goal of the mentorship program is to create one-on-one relationships between first-year and upper-year students that will continue to foster a strong sense of networking and collaboration on campus.
When asked if the program will include all areas of study, Posada told The Medium he hopes that “as time goes on more programs will be included until [the mentorship program] involves all programs.”
This article has been corrected.
- September 27, 2018 at 12 a.m.: Sherry Hunter changed to Sherry Yuan Hunter
- September 27, 2018 at 12 a.m.: “mirror the services offered by the Office of the Registrar’s Academic Advisors” was removed