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The Faculty Mentoring Program: The Mindset, the Magic, the Merits

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Sandy CohenThis week, we not only explore another of the 2010 – 2011 Grants, we learn more about mentoring with Sandy Cohen (Mathematics, Tarpon Springs).

Describe your project. Did the project end up being significantly different then the original plan and why?

The project consisted of pairing up full time faculty with adjunct faculty in the mathematics department at the Tarpon Springs campus. The pairings were assigned according to classes taught, day/ evening classes, and the location of classes. It was suggested that there be at least three forms of communication between mentor and mentee during the semester. This could include-mail, phone, and notes left in mailboxes.

What was the chief accomplishment of your project? What problem did you solve?

The chief accomplishment was that full time faculty became acquainted with the adjunct faculty and was available to them to answer any questions with regards to policies and procedures, exams, and required Angel attendance to name a few areas. This provided for more continuity in the department with regards to common final exams and other faculty commitments.

What were the results? Did you see a numeric increase or a qualitative improvement?

The faculty in the department became closer and I think had fewer questions for our program director and her administrative assistant.

Did YOU learn anything from the project? Did you make any changes to your teaching style or content?

I was able to incorporate some new strategies in my classes by interacting with my mentees. I was able to help my mentees emphasize certain key concepts and to discuss different ways to get students involved in their learning.

Can another teacher use your project? How can they implement your learning?

We were able to use the last meeting of the year to discuss how full time faculty were able to help their adjunct mentees. The mathematics department has put in place a mentoring program for the third consecutive year. Sometimes we change the mentees and if the chemistry is good, we keep the teams in place.

Do you have plans for a follow-up project/additional research? If you did a grant again, what would you do differently?

I would change a few things if I were to write another proposal. I would make the assignment of mentors voluntary. I think, for a program like this to be successful, you need dedicated faculty who believe in the program. They are more willing to contact their mentees and have a stronger relationship with them.

Thanks, Sandy, for sharing your hard work and your insights into the fun and challenges of grants!

Remember all faculty, full-time and adjunct, are eligible for CETL grants. If you think your department could benefit from a mentoring program, talk with your department head and then apply for a grant to help you get started.

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