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ERIC Number: EJ987248
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0748-478X
Jackson, Nancy Mann
CURRENTS, v38 n7 p34-39 Sep 2012
Two years ago, members of a strategic planning committee at Woodberry Forest School set a goal to re-engage African-American and Hispanic alumni, many of whom had lost touch with the Virginia boarding school for boys. One of the committee's ideas was to launch a mentoring program to connect current minority students with minority alumni. Two years in, the program has 26 mentors for 34 participating students, and more minority alumni are visiting campus, forging connections, and making gifts to the school. There is no one effective way to arrange a student-alumni mentoring program. Each institution must determine what works for its students and alumni. Alumni relations professionals who lead successful mentoring programs recommend starting slow. Building partnerships across campus can also ensure that a mentoring program will be a success. As with any other program, it's important to be flexible and willing to make changes if they are warranted. When students and alumni commit to a mentoring program, they need to know what they're getting into--what is expected of them and what they can expect to gain from the program. The most successful programs clearly communicate this information to both groups. Even when expectations are clearly stated, there are bound to be some students or mentors who don't follow through. Student commitment is one of the biggest challenges to producing a successful mentor program. Launching and maintaining an effective student-alumni mentor program can be more work than one might initially think, but the benefits make it a worthwhile effort. While the relationships or interactions are generally one-on-one, they have a far greater effect. The alumni mentor program makes outreach global and, at the same time, brings the world directly to students. The program also helps the university by making those alumni bonds stronger and demonstrating to students what being an active alumnus looks like. It is all win-win.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia