Title: Student Mentoring
Presenter: Samuel Pitman (Mentoring Officer)
Faculty / Division: Division of Student Services
School / Unit:
Session Type: Interactive Discussion
When: Friday, 19 November 2021 @ 11:15am – 12:15pm)
Rapid and unpredictable change in an increasingly volatile professional and academic environment necessitates new forms of accessible, adaptable, and authentic student engagement. Mentoring – a major university student support, retention, and success strategy with wide-ranging benefits for university stakeholders – provides an answer (Collier, 2015; Lunsford et al., 2017).
In this session, you will:
- Explore how mentoring supports student success.
- Use the orders of worth framework to identify opportunities and challenges for Charles Sturt students, staff, and the wider community.
- Conceptualise and co-design mentoring interventions that create better outcomes for students and staff.
The Charles Sturt Mentoring Program partners with all areas of the university to co-design, implement and support timely and targeted peer support that increases student sense of belonging, empowers students to find and access relevant support services, and helps students develop their skills, abilities, and self-confidence. These outcomes have been recognised as key drivers of student retention and success (Collier, 2015; Kahu and Nelson, 2018).
We adopt Collier’s (2015) conception of mentoring, focusing on mentoring programs as formal, ongoing student support programs in which one peer provides career development and psychosocial support to another over time. In recognition of the modern student journey and fluidity between “student” and “professional” stages of life, we also recognise alumni and industry mentors as peers in the learning community (Heagney & Benson, 2017).
Charles Sturt Mentoring is funded under the Federal Government Indigenous, Regional and Low SES Attainment Fund to strengthen first year experience and retention, graduate outcomes, and aspiration and domestic enrolments among key university cohorts. The program has also been submitted as a National Priorities Industry Linkage Fund case study, building professional, peer and research networks, connection across industry, university and research communities, and student employability, job-ready and leaderships skills required to succeed in industry.
Boltanski & Thévenot’s (1999) pragmatic sociological orders of worth framework categorises the higher order principles invoked in policy discourse. Analysis using the orders of worth framework finds that Australian universities commonly invoke market, civic and prestige arguments when justifying and promoting mentoring programs. By embracing the multiple “heterarchies of worth”, we can construct conceptions of good mentoring from multiple stakeholder perspectives – constructing programs that excel in recruiting and retaining students, reconnecting with collective student welfare mission, and increasing the alumni community and industry connections.
In this session, we will observe Charles Sturt’s challenges through these lenses, and generate opportunities for bespoke mentoring support that empowers students as learners, professionals, and individuals.