Information for Mentors

The main objective of the FASS Mentoring Program is to help to build an encouraging and supportive learning environment and sense of identity and belonging for all students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, especially for incoming first year students. In working towards achieving our primary objective, we might just happen to have a bit of fun along the way too ;-)

What is a mentor?

mentor and first year

Being a mentor is not quite the same as being a friend. Of course you could well become good friends with the first year students you are mentoring over time, but initially the relationship will be basically for the first year students' benefit.

It's also important to distinguish between the role of a mentor and that of a tutor. In your role as a mentor, you may well give general advice about learning at University, but you will not be asked to tutor those you are mentoring in a particular academic discipline.

We also want to highlight the difference between a mentor and a counsellor. You should give support to the first year student, but you shouldn't take responsibility if professional counselling is needed (this issue will be discussed further in our training sessions).

Your job as a mentor is to help to create an encouraging and supportive environment for our new first year students. You may do this in a wide range of different ways. These could include:

  • providing practical information and handy hints
  • sharing your experiences
  • lending an understanding ear at times of stress
  • giving lots of praise and encouragement
  • directing the first year student to other networks and sources of support available on campus
  • arranging opportunities for first year students to meet each other and widen their social and support networks

Who will I be mentoring?

We'll match you with a group of four to eight first year students. Mentoring a group of students, rather than one-to-one matching, is more effective in helping everyone feel part of a supportive learning community. The students in your group will have each other to turn to as well as you, and quite soon you'll be able to step back and let them get on with it!

We'll match mentors with first year students primarily on the basis of degree programs. However, we may not be able to make a 'perfect match' every time. We'll certainly do our best!