|Vol. 19, No. 3||Sept. 9, 1999|
Faculty and students at an Each One, Reach One basketball game
Each One, Reach One-UD's mentoring program for African-American students-has received national attention.
"A Call for Mentoring Programs," by Michael D. Hannon, UD graduate student and Each One, Reach One coordinator, was the feature article in a recent issue of The Bulletin, the magazine of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), an organization for professionals in student affairs and development.
ACUI also awarded its Graduate Student Conference Presentation Award to Hannon at its March meeting in Dallas.
Hannon, who earned his bachelor's degree from UD in 1998, is working toward a master's degree in student affairs.
Each One, Reach One began in 1994 and Hannon, who served as a student mentor as an undergraduate, became coordinator in 1998. "I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in this program to support new African-American students on campus," he said.
In Each One, Reach One, an upperclassman is assigned as a mentor to a freshman or transfer student.
The goal is for a smooth transition into University life, to give students a sense of community and to encourage academic achievement.
The program is based on the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa and its underlying Nguzo Saba or seven principles- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
"The mentor can answer questions, advise on academics or social life and ideally be there as a friend," Hannon said. "We match students by major, gender or interests and hold workshops for the mentors before the freshmen arrive. We emphasize the mission of the Center for Black Culture, which is to offer an academic support system for African-American students, to support spiritual growth and to heighten cultural awareness," he said.
On moving-in day, mentors visit the new students, present them with a T-shirt and packet and attend New Student Orientation sessions with them. Then, the Center for Black Culture has a one-day orientation to introduce new students to campus resources and faculty. Each One, Reach One has follow-up sessions monthly to keep the seed planted, Hannon said, such as the lecture this year by noted Florida State University psychologist Na'im Akbar, scheduled for Sept. 29.
This year, 90 mentors signed up for Each One, Reach One, and more than 100 new students participated. Many of the older students were helped by the program when they came to UD and now want to participate as mentors.
Studies have indicated that schools with formal mentoring programs have increased academic performance and retention rates, Hannon pointed out in his article.
He wrote in his article, "The program has helped market the University of Delaware to African-American students. It has contributed to the increased enrollment rate of African-American students, a number that has increased every year for the past six years."
Photo by Jack Buxbaum