University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 3/1996
Mentoring program helps incoming and current students prosper

     When freshmen arrive on campus, they often are  confronted
by an overwhelming amount of information. During this busy and
confusing time, it can be very reassuring to hear from
upperclassmen in their chosen majors that it is possible to
process all this information and survive that first hectic
     To help new students prosper is the goal of the Department
of Individual and Family Studies' student mentoring program,
which began last fall.
     "The freshman year is a time of difficult transition,"
Marion Hyson, department chairperson, says. "The mentoring
program can help students through this period and help them to
develop into successful students and graduates."
     The program pairs mentors-recommended by members of the
student and faculty advisory boards within the department-with
several new students, or "mentees."
     Prospective mentors are sent a form during the summer,
asking them to participate and to attend the New Student
Orientation, where they meet their mentees.
     Mentors and mentees are matched according to their majors,
which include early childhood development and education; family
and community services; and human development and family
     Undergraduate coordinator Julie Wilgen says mentees are able
to leave the orientation with the names and phone numbers of
their mentors.
     "It is a real plus for these students," Hyson says, "to each
have a piece of paper with the name of a person who will give
them a call
     Besides being able to answer many of the new students'
queries concerning programs, clubs, selecting classes and
professors or about campus life in general, mentors also serve as
role models.
     Additionally, the mentoring program helps mentors develop
their leadership potential, something that Hyson says is very
important in her department.
     "Individuals who are recommended to be mentors are
motivated, enthusiastic and academically successful," Hyson says.
"They are the type of graduates we want to produce."
     To monitor the program's progress, a survey was conducted to
see if mentees had made contact with their mentors and to give an
overall evaluation of their experiences.
     The results indicated that, while some students used the
program more than others, the vast majority had been in touch
with their mentors.
     "I think the effort put into organizing the program was well
worth it," Wilgen says. "I also think that students who took
advantage of the program felt that it was very helpful."
     "I'm excited about what we have done so far," Hyson says.
"I'm looking forward to developing the program further and
supporting its progress."
                                               -Jerry Rhodes