Pictured (from left) : Back row – Helena Rodriguez ’20, Ryan McColley-Perez ’19, Markus Alonzo ’20, Alex Lockaby ’20, Middle row – Enrique Lopez Ramirez ’19, Danielle Godfrey ’20, Kaylyn Kirkpatrick ’19, Celeste Lundy ’20, Krystal Parks ’19, Hayley Drozdick ’20, Front row – Olivia Martin ’19, Princess Draine ’20, Eniola Lasisi ’19, Maria Villalpando ’19, Kenya Walker ’18. (Texas A&M University)
By Dustin Grabsch, Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs
The College Reading and Learning Association announced this month that it had certified Texas A&M University’s Peer Mentor Training Program on the master level—the highest rating possible—through its International Mentor Training Program Certification process. It is the first time that the association has recognized a student affairs program with this prestigious honor.
“We’re thrilled with news of this premiere level of certification,” said Dr. Daniel J. Pugh Sr., vice president for student affairs. “This is further evidence that the investment we’ve made in our Academic Peer Mentor Program during the past three years is paying off. Our staff and students earned this certification with innovation and hard work. We are working to provide campus residents with the academic resources they need to succeed at Texas A&M, and we are excited about growing the program in the future.”
Administered by the Department of Residence Life, the Academic Peer Mentor Program began in 2015 with four peer mentors in Moses Hall. In fall 2017, more than 2,400 students attended academic sessions offered through the program, and 221 students registered to partake in one-to-one peer academic coaching sessions throughout the semester. Each resident-mentor pair met an average of six times for these academic check-up meetings, during which they set goals, discussed academic experiences, and were connected with campus resources.
Eighteen peer mentors serve the Aggie community on campus through learning styles assessments, an online resource portal, in-person and online office hours, and other academic programs. Residence Life continues to increase the number of peer mentors with a goal of appointing one mentor to each campus residence hall. Research shows that utilizing peer-assisted programs that are research-based and strategically implemented has a valuable impact on college learning programs.
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“The Academic Peer Mentor Program has grown considerably in its offerings to students and its overall success,” said Dustin Grabsch, coordinator for Academic Support Initiatives and supervisor of the peer mentor program. “This is not surprising to us since all of our programs and services were developed through student surveys, focus groups, and ideas submitted by students.”
The College Reading and Learning Association has three purposes in establishing a certification process for mentor training programs. First, certification sets standards and guidelines for the minimum skills and training mentors need to be successful. Next, it inspires mentor trainers to go beyond minimum standards to create training programs that challenge mentors to the highest level of expertise they can achieve. Finally, certification offers campus recognition and rewards for mentors’ successful work by certifying mentors.
The group certifies mentor training programs in postsecondary educational institutions. Now that Texas A&M is certified, it has the authority to certify its student peer mentors who have met the approved mentor training program requirements.
“The certification adds creditability to what we already do,” said Krystal Parks, a senior academic peer mentor serving White Creek Apartments. “Every year our peer mentors go through almost three weeks of training to learn about campus resources, student academic needs, and how to aid the learning process. This certification motivates us to offer our very best to other Aggies.”
In February, Residence Life will recognize academic peer mentors who have 50, 75, or 100 hours of direct mentorship with students at its inaugural Honoring Excellence Awards Ceremony.
To learn more about the Academic Peer Mentor Program, contact Dustin Grabsch at (979) 862-9172 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit crla.netto learn more about the International Mentor Training Program certification.
Read about two senior peer mentors in the Leadership Living Learning Community.
If you are interested in supporting Texas A&M’s Academic Peer Mentor Program or other programs within the Division of Student Affairs, contact Torii Kapavik at (979) 845-4728 or email@example.com.