University Mentoring

I subscribe to an e-mail newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education.  This morning’s posts contained two articles concerning mentoring.

In the first article, “An Australian University Boosts Retention With Mentoring”, the university now has a student-led mentoring program after research found that 95% of the students who dropped out before graduation had not talked with anyone.  As a result of the mentoring program, an estimated 300 students are prevented from dropping out each year, saving approximately $3.2 million (US) in tuition.  It makes me wonder about what we are doing here in the US.  President Obama has made increased college graduation rates a priority.  Everyone thinks it is going to cost more money.  Has anyone thought of using a personal approach as part of the solution?

The second article, “Midcareer Mentoring, Part I” explores the need for career guidance for tenured faculty.  It seems that mentoring programs for those new to the profession are common, but those who have several years of experience face complications within their professional lives such as research, publishing, required service work, administration positions, and exploration of other positions at other institutions.  Usually, there is no one to confide in or to turn to for advice.  Why is that, and how can mentoring programs help these professionals who are areas of influence continue to reach their full potential?  (I guess I’ll have to watch for Part II.)

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