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Southwest Mentors Advancing Retention, Teamwork, and Success (SMARTS) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship in which a faculty or staff member provides guidance to a student who is working toward successful graduation. The mentoring relationship develops as a student seeks advice and guidance from an assigned faculty or staff member who offers solutions to academic and career planning questions and challenges. The mentoring relationship is formed outside of regular classroom activity and within the confines of all institutional policies, rules, codes of conduct, and regulations.

What is a mentee?

A mentee is a student who volunteers to partner with a Southwest faculty or staff member for mentoring. The mentee will receive advice and guidance related to academic and career planning questions or challenges that may arise.

What are the criteria for becoming a SMARTS mentee?

New and returning students can participate in SMARTS.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is a Southwest faculty or staff volunteer who is willing to devote individual attention to an assigned student. A mentor answers questions and provides guidance to a mentee.

What are the criteria for becoming a SMARTS mentor?

Mentors must be employed by Southwest and express a sincere passion for assisting students to achieve both academic and career entry success. Like mentees, mentors must be willing to commit the time required to partner with a mentee in order to offer every opportunity to support the development of the mentoring relationship, participate in all SMARTS meetings and events, and submit all required documents. There is no experience necessary to participate as a mentor. The Office of Student Retention and Graduation will provide necessary orientation and support.

What does a mentor do for a mentee?

A mentor will meet with their mentee during office hours; communicate by email, phone, or other media. Discussion topics range from how to navigate the college campus and utilize student resources to the identification of career interests and how to prepare an academic plan. A mentor will introduce their mentee to various campus services and key personnel who can assist the mentee in successfully achieving their goals.

Are there any actions that a mentee cannot ask a mentor to do?

A mentor cannot replace a service that is offered by Southwest for which the mentor is not responsible. A mentor is not a tutor or editor and cannot negotiate mentee grades. Mentors and mentees will be advised of their individual roles during mentor/mentee orientation sessions and in the Mentor Toolkit handbook.

How much time does mentoring require?

The mentor and mentee commitment is minimally one hour per week. The mentor and mentee work together to set a regular meeting schedule for the duration of the academic semester. Communication can be in person, through email and other forms of media. A calendar of required SMARTS events is disseminated at the mentor/mentee orientation.

What are the benefits of being a mentee?

Mentees have the privilege of being introduced to faculty and staff members at Southwest with whom they may not otherwise have contact. Mentors also serve as a direct link and quick reference to registration and other processes of the college. Additionally, mentors can support the academic advising mentees receive from their academic program faculty. The results of having a mentor are that mentees tend to participate more frequently in classroom and extra-curricular activities, gain more real life experiences, and have higher graduation rates from the institution at which they started.

What are the benefits of being a mentor?

Faculty or staff participation as a mentor is considered a commitment to Southwest students and to the overall institution. Mentors lead the way to the development and sustainment of a student-centered culture with a primary focus on student success. By becoming a mentor, the energy and enthusiasm from faculty and staff can contribute to the welcoming and comfortable learning environment Southwest wants to maintain and set the stage for garnering personal support for students throughout their college career.

How do students join SMARTS?

Complete the Student Mentee Information Sheet found at the SMARTS website. Click submit, and the Project Coordinator will contact you regarding the SMARTS orientation and other requirements.

How do faculty and staff join SMARTS?

Complete the Faculty and Staff Information Sheet found at the SMARTS website. Click submit, and the Project Coordinator will contact you regarding SMARTS. Email Project Coordinator Donna Fitchpatric if additional information is needed.

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