Making the Most of
A Guide for Faculty
Thank You Thank you so much for agreeing to become a mentor for a University Scholar. Your expertise, skills, knowledge, and experience will be invaluable to the Scholars as they develop their academic and creative potentials. In this short guide you will find information regarding the role we hope you will serve as a mentor, as well as some guidance about best practices for mentors developed in collaboration with our Faculty Fellows, who are listed to the right. With thanks,
Mentoring University Scholars Program Faculty Fellows Paula Caligiuri, Distinguished Professor of International Business & Strategy
Jonna Iacono, Ph.D.
Erin Cram, Associate Professor of Biology
Director, University Scholars
William M. Fowler, Jr., Distinguished Professor of History
& Office of Fellowships Department of English
Hilary Poriss, Associate Professor of Music Carey Rappaport, Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Darien Wood, Professor of Physics
Who are the University Scholars? The University Scholars comprise a cohort of Northeastern’s most outstanding and high-achieving undergraduates. Drawing from the top 1-2% of the university’s applicant pool, we seek students who not only possess a strong academic record but also are creative leaders with the vision, confidence, maturity and resourcefulness to connect with others and make a positive difference in the world. University Scholars hail from across the United States and around the world and study in all of Northeastern’s colleges. Each University Scholar receives a full tuition scholarship and is expected to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, give 100 hours per academic year in service, and contribute to the fullest extent possible their talents to our community. In addition to financial assistance, we have promised these Scholars the freedom to forge their own unique path through Northeastern with access to the university’s premiere educational and international opportunities. In practical terms, this has meant helping students devise and fund independent research and creative endeavors, providing workshops and trainings on core competencies of leadership, arranging access to visiting speakers, and advising on coursework as well as fellowship opportunities. Together, we are building an engaged, supportive learning community where students make lifelong intellectual engagements and friendships. The metrics of our success are academic excellence, the completion of independent research, exemplary commitments to service, student-driven innovations, and competitiveness for prestigious scholarships, graduate schools, and work placements. In order to make this vision a reality, the university has also promised the Scholars direct access to its most valuable resource: you, its outstanding faculty. Each Scholar is matched with a faculty mentor because, time and again, studies have shown the dramatic impacts that mentorship can have in the lives of students.
Mentorship: • significantly improves academic performance and GPAs • leads to more completed years of education by mentees • increases mentee work ethic • promotes and polishes necessary social skills.
What are the basic expectations and best practices of mentorship? When mentoring a University Scholar, we ask that you meet with your mentee at least twice per semester. Mentoring means being generally available to provide advice and guidance; it does not convey specific promises, such as that you will hire your mentee as a research assistant. Cultivating a productive relationship is, of course, a joint responsibility between mentor and mentee. Some of the mentor’s key functions might include: • Guiding a mentee’s problem-solving and decision-making processes by asking insightful and open-ended questions • Connecting your mentee with valuable opportunities in your discipline • Serving as a role model for academic and professional speech and behavior • Giving objective feedback and practical suggestions • Facilitating your mentee’s self-reflection on his or her progress and goals • Displaying a sincere and enthusiastic interest in your mentee. Some topics you might want to discuss with your mentee include: • Career progression and possible paths • Managing politics in the office or organization • Time management • Networking • How to handle conflict in you career • Work-life balance • Leadership development • Tricks of the trade • Potential challenges they may face on their career path.
In addition, researchers have found that participating in a shared activity with your mentee develops a stronger relationship than simply discussing problems. It is our hope that together (and, if necessary and as available, with funding from the Scholars Program—see the next section), you and your mentee can devise activities that provide opportunities for academic and professional development. Such activities might include: • Attending presentations, lectures, or conferences together • Having the mentee assist you in research or other projects • Attending networking events • Introducing other faculty members or campus visitors who might be beneficial to your mentee • Attending career development seminars. We understand that everyone has busy schedules, but you have the potential to shape a young Scholar’s future, so the time you spend may be more beneficial than you realize. University Scholars reach us at a formative time in their lives. You will be a primary source of information and guidance for these young adults, thus making face-to-face meetings imperative for each student’s success in college and beyond. We want to make these students the best they can be here at Northeastern, as well as prepare them for success in graduate school or the professional world. Your help is vital to that success.
What are the benefits of being a mentor? The University Scholars Program provides mentors with an array of resources for building relationships with their mentees. These resources are aggregated and discussed in greater detail in the Faculty Resources section of the University Scholars website. Highlights include: • Complementary membership in the Council on Undergraduate Research, providing access to a trove of materials designed to support and promote highquality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. • The University Scholar/Mentor Engagement (US/ME) Fund: With advance notice and submission of an online application, funding up to $250 is available to faculty who wish to enhance interactions with Scholars beyond the classroom, e.g., for field trips, informal outings, attending campus events. • The Scholars Research Assistant Program: Funds up to $2400 are available for faculty members to fund a University Scholar in a research assistant position. • Online bibliography of resources on mentoring and student development, including many that are available online or for loan from the University Scholars Office. The University Scholars are a collegial and warm group, and we hope that you will enjoy getting to know a talented and ambitious young person for whom you will become a role model. You will also have the opportunity to attend Scholars Program functions and expand your network of contacts as you meet the other faculty and administrators who advise our students. Including your mentee in your work or research could potentially provide you with valuable assistance while simultaneously providing the Scholar with an opportunity for learning and growth. Finally, you will be a part of an important institution and program, helping to shape future young professionals.
Thank you once again for mentoring a University Scholar. Your efforts have a significant, meaningful impact on the lives of our students. If you have questions or ideas about mentoring in the University Scholars program, we encourage you to contact the Director, Jonna Iacono, at email@example.com.
What Scholars Say about Mentoring
My faculty mentor reached out to me, offering a spot in one of his classes and suggesting an event we could attend together. As a freshman it was difficult to know how to “network,” but after initially sharing a coffee, I had a good basis to start reaching out to mentors on my own.
–Stephanie Eisemann CAMD’17 When I first came to Northeastern, I was seventeen and clueless. Although I had a lot of interests, I wasn’t necessarily sure how to direct my enthusiasm. My mentor’s first and foremost priority was to further my personal growth. She has taught me to be patient with opportunities and to focus on a few things at a time. I’ll always be grateful for the perspective that I gained from her.
–Wendy Chu CSSH’16
While I was a student in his class, my mentor helped me narrow down my professional interests to find a co-op that suited those interests. The next summer, he advised me on an independent research project of my choosing, pointing me in the right direction and helping me think outside of my comfort zone.
–Rose Leopold CSSH’16 My mentor has helped me locate research opportunities and also introduced me to other faculty working in the field. I was thrilled to meet researchers whose interests aligned with mine, but with whom I hadn’t yet been able to take a class.
–Alex Kis, DMSB/CSSH’18
University Scholars & Office of Fellowships 411 Richards Hall Northeastern University 360 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115 617.373.7044 firstname.lastname@example.org Find us online @ northeastern.edu/fellowships/ northeastern.edu/undergraduateresearch/
Published on Sep 4, 2015