Auburn University at Montgomery partners with Mentor Collective to launch new mentorship program for transfer studentsPosted on October 12, 2020 by OUMWordPressDev Auburn University at Montgomery and Mentor Collective have formed a new partnership that will match peer mentors with transfer students to help them stay on track for graduation. The partnership with Mentor Collective, an organization that works with colleges and universities to develop student success programs, will help AUM increase retention and a sense of belonging among its transfer student population, said Joy Clark, AUM’s associate provost for undergraduate studies. “Our long-term strategy is to create an environment for students to be successful throughout their academic journey at AUM,” Clark said. “Research indicates that if students can get connected to the university, get connected to their fellow students, their major, and their future, they can overcome many barriers to get there. We see Mentor Collective as a tool that complements the programs we have in place and enhances our ability to connect the students to their future.” During the Fall 2020 semester, all incoming and new transfer students will be invited to join AUM’s Mentor Collective. The partnership provides students with the opportunity to be matched with a university peer mentor who is trained to provide guidance. Peer mentors will also share their experiences with new students and answer their questions about studying and college life at AUM. “Students will be provided a platform and materials to discuss their plans and goal-setting activities to foster meaningful conversations with their mentors throughout the year,” Clark said. Last fall, AUM earned a $2.16 million, Title III Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand support for student success through peer mentoring, develop a new center for community engagement, and build faculty development opportunities. Clark, who served as co-investigator for the grant, said AUM’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan also includes a goal outlining these enhanced pathways for student success. Sameer Pande, associate provost for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said the Mentor Collective partnership also aligns with AUM’s core values for offering a student-centered experience and promoting citizenship and community engagement. “The synergies created by this initiative, in conjunction with the implementation of the new Strategic Plan and the Title III Grant, will augment the resources dedicated toward student access and success, which is a top priority for our university and AUM Provost Mrinal Varma.” AUM’s Mentor Collective program is especially important during a time when two recent surveys suggest that students want more ways to establish personal connections as part of their college experience. “We believe that Mentor Collective empowers students’ voices by recognizing the importance of relationships in students’ academic journey,” Clark said. “Peer mentoring is a high-impact practice shown to increase students’ sense of belonging and drive student success. We hope that students will also use Mentor Collective as a platform to voice feedback on how AUM can provide ongoing support to them.” How to join Mentor Collective at AUM AUM’s Mentor Collective is actively enrolling students and peer mentors for the 2020-21 academic year. If you are interested in learning more about Mentor Collective at AUM, please contact Dr. Joy Clark at [email protected].