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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.34 – Explorations in Learning and Mentoring: Students Learning from Students

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McMaster University is committed to transforming the undergraduate student experience. The vision of the President, Dr. Patrick Deane, outlined in his letter to the McMaster community entitled "Forward with Integrity," identifies the student experience as a key area for attention as the University re-examines its mandate and mission. Having received a grant awarded to applicants proposing ways to advance the President's goals, we developed a second-year, one-semester course entitled "Explorations in Learning and Mentoring" which was offered for two hours a week from September to December, 2013.

The primary goal of this course was to identify and recruit peer mentors who could serve as student success leaders for McMaster's Learning Portfolio in the next academic year. Students’ individual goals and interests drove their explorations and they shared their discoveries with each other throughout the term. The course was facilitated rather than taught so that students could develop their own learning goals and mentoring skills.

In our session we will briefly outline key features of the course including the student-driven nature of the content and the focus on the use of the electronic portfolio platform. We will focus primarily on the issue of establishing and maintaining a viable peer-mentoring program for the Learning Portfolio in the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University. The peer mentors we seek to cultivate focus on the task of supporting students wishing to develop their Learning Portfolios. Given both the benefits and pitfalls of peer mentoring programs, our main objective is to solicit feedback regarding the recruitment and cultivation of peer mentors and the ways their services are best employed.

We are especially interested in feedback on two issues as we enter the phase of preparing student volunteers to be mentors:

How can we best ensure that peer mentoring meets the needs of both mentors and mentees?

How can we overcome resistance to being a mentee and should we?

Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
A239 McArthur Hall

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