Mays Mentor Program Now Includes Over 100 Faculty

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

With 20 more faculty members added for the 1995-96 academic year thus far, the Benjamin E. Mays Mentoring Program continues to gain in both strength and popularity.
This year, 110 faculty have committed to participate in the Mays Program, up from 90 last year. The number of faculty mentors has quintupled since the program was founded prior to the 1991-92 academic year and, said a program administrator, has enriched th e lives of AHANA students in immeasurable ways.
"This tremendous growth is the result of faculty members who are caring and concerned about seeing AHANA students prosper," said Director of AHANA Student Programs Donald Brown. " They want to see the students consider careers in teaching and academia so the students can someday replace them."
According to Brown, the program attempts to ameliorate the potential isolation and loneliness often experienced by AHANA students by pairing them with faculty members willing to develop a relationship and follow them th rough their four years at Boston College. This year, 130 students are involved in the program.
Faculty mentors meet regularly with one to three student partners to review their academic progress and assist them with developing strategies for success. Together they attend activities sponsored by the Mays Program as well as other social activities -- such as lunches, dinners, plays, athletic events and lectures -- and collaborate on research projects, when appropriate.
The success of the program is evident, Brown said, noting that all of the 15 students in the inaugural class graduated last May. New mentors have been encouraged by the success of their colleagues, Brown said, increasing faculty participation.
"Faculty mentors have an overwhelmingly positive impact on their student partners as this statistic shows," said Brown. "They want the students to be the best they can be and it seems to be working."
New faculty mentors attended a two-and-a-half day summer institute in June to prepare them for the mentoring role. Since mentors and students come from a variety of cultural and racial backgrounds, Brown said, the annual institute offers sessions on cross-cultural communications, responsibilities of mentors and techniques for building relationships. Students part icipated as well, telling their stories and describing how mentors have helped them make the transition to university life.
An additional training program will take place this fall and faculty interested in joining can call Chris Johnson, a graduate student who is coordinator of the Mays Program, at ext. 3358.

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