TLFSS PEER MENTORING PROGRAM
INTRODUCING CTN’S TEACHING AND LEARNING FOR STUDENT SUCCESS PEER MENTORING PROGRAM
Catch the Next’s mission is to increase the educational achievement of Latinos and other underserved students and to close achievement gaps in Texas. CTN accomplishes this mission by empowering students to catch college and career dreams, while recognizing the equally important role of empowering faculty, staff, administrators, and institutions to more fluidly fulfill their professional and educational missions and visions. The Teaching and Learning for Student Success Peer Mentoring Program thus creates a community of learning, coaching, and mentoring focused on nurturing the whole professional to improve individual and institutional performance and effectiveness. Such a community of learning depends on the participation of a sustained network of scholars, authors, and community leaders who can support the instructional and professional development of our faculty in the classroom and of our staff sustaining the Ascender Model in colleges across Texas.
At Catch the Next, we recognize the importance of nurturing the whole professional. Whether for students, faculty, staff, or administrators, mentoring is useful and powerful in understanding and advancing organizational culture, providing access to informal and formal networks of communication, and offering professional growth. Mentoring is a vital aspect of personal development and the concept of value of care. Indeed, developmental and continuous mentoring may address a variety of faculty and staff career needs over a period of time. Faculty, staff, and administrators can develop as leaders through the receipt of professional and institutional information such as support, sponsorship, and stimulation; advice, assistance, and guidance; and/or feedback and direction toward goals. In addition, often just being exposed to the stories, testimonials, and experiences of leaders across a variety of fields can give voice to latent goals and desires among upwardly mobile college professionals. According to Wright and Wright (1987), “Not only does mentoring develop the professions; by not mentoring, we are wasting talent. We educate, and train, but don’t nurture.” In other words, professionals involved in mentoring are more likely to have opportunities to develop both professionally and personally.
WHO ARE TLFSS PEER MENTORS?
Teaching and Learning for Student Success Peer Mentors come from four general categories of professional leadership:
- Scholar mentors are published faculty in higher education from throughout the United States, who are committed to improving educational outcomes for Latino/as and other underserved students.
- Author mentors are published writers in or outside of academia who have distinguished themselves and whose writings contribute to our mission to contextualize college curricula across disciplines with texts that represent our students’ experiences, backgrounds, and communities.
- Community Leadership Mentors are leaders within and outside of academia who have distinguished themselves professionally and who continue to serve their communities.
- The Knowledge Development Work Group is comprised of CTN staff, scholars, college institutional research staff, and interested faculty and staff who collect, compile, and implement research with CTN data.
- CTN staff, fellows, and practitioners contribute to the implementation of the program through college coaching, site visits, professional development, and participation in research and evaluation through the Knowledge Development Work Group.
As an interdisciplinary community of theory and practice, peer mentors share a common mission. They:
- Share an understanding of themselves as agents of change
- Share common practices and a common discourse
- Share a deep understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of their approaches
- Provide access to nationwide networks of experts
- Share with faculty and administrators career advice and their personal experiences of integrating culture and family with academic and professional success
- Are role models of success from within their community and serve as resources to college teams
WHAT DO PEER MENTORS DO TO SUPPORT STUDENT, PROFESSIONAL, AND INSTITUTIONAL SUCCESS?
TLFSS AUTHOR MENTOR, SERGIO TRONCOSO, EXPLAINS HIS WORK WITH CTN STAFF AND THE ROLE OF PEER MENTORS IN THE CTN MISSION.
Just as our practitioners aim to holistically support students, the Teaching and Learning for Student Success Peer Mentoring Program aims to holistically support the whole professional. We support individuals and institutions through professional development of the faculty, staff, and administrators by offering professional growth opportunities, such as presenting best practices in our series of institutes, providing peer coaching and guidance, and presenting original research and writing in our Catch the Next Journal of Ideas and Pedagogy. In addition to access to the Catch the Next coaches, members have access to our peer mentors, a wide network of scholar, author, and community leadership mentors from throughout the United States.
In addition, peer mentors share their work and relate their own experiences in the effort to increase higher educational access and outcomes for educationally underserved students in our monthly Teaching and Learning for Student Success webinar series as well as at our professional development institutes. The webinar takes place on the third Thursday of each month at 3:00pm CST and is open to the public. Anyone interested can register for the 2017-18 Teaching and Learning for Student Success Monthly Webinar Series here.
In addition to participating in the webinar series and professional development institutes, peer mentors also visit colleges at their convenience and serve as guest speakers within and outside of the classroom. In some cases, when a peer mentor resides in a community where one of our colleges is located, the peer mentor could provide opportunities for the participation of community college faculty, staff, and students in leadership and community activities. Peer mentors thus support CTN’s mission of encouraging students and faculty to contribute to their communities.
Indeed, CTN’s Peer Mentoring Program connects university and community college faculty as well as community leaders and authors. CTN’s peer mentors are leaders within and outside of academia who serve as mentors and collaborators with CTN faculty and staff at partner community colleges. They also serve as role models to our students and as a resource to our initiative in the expansion process.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
For more information about the Teaching and Learning for Student Success Peer Mentoring Program or to learn how to become a peer mentor, please contact Lydia CdeBaca at LkJXSkdPAE1KS0xPTU9uTU9aTUZaRktAS1ZaAEFcSQ@nospam.
Keep up with what’s new in the TLFSS Peer Mentoring Program by liking the Catch the Next Facebook page and following us on Twitter @catchcollege.