Peer mentoring case study
Name of Scheme Computer Science Department - Student Mentoring
Contact Alan Hayes - Director of Undergraduate Studies Computer
Tom Robertshaw (Undergraduate Student) - Head of Student
Mentoring 08/09 Computer Science Department
Summary Students from the Department make themselves available to give
advice on academic/general topics and be a friend to first years.
Aims To provide help with subject topics; advice on University life
outside of studies; and where necessary to direct students to the
best place to get further support.
To make sure that every student has a peer to talk particularly
where they do not have the confidence to approach the official
channels in the first instance.
Background to the A mentoring scheme had been running for a number of years.
Scheme However, its effectiveness had waned and meetings were
infrequent. A student in the department who, along with many of
his fellow students had struggled with the level of first year work,
decided to develop and run the scheme.
Description The scheme is co-ordinated by a volunteer student, who reports to
the Director of Studies.
Recruitment of Mentors: Mentors are recruited largely from the
second year as the experience of the first year is still fresh in their
minds. The student co-ordinator sends e-mails to students and
makes a brief presentation in lectures to encourage mentors to
Training of mentors: In the past the Director of Studies held a
session on dos and don’ts. There are plans to increase the
Composition of groups: The scheme is aimed at all first years.
Approximately 6 mentees are assigned to each mentor by the
Meetings: At the start of the year, a quiz was organized, with
food and drink provided by the department, to which all first years
and second years student mentors were invited. Approximately,
one third of the first year turned up to the quiz and the evening
was a great success.
The content of meetings is driven by the mentees. Sessions have
focused predominantly on subject topics. Other issues discussed
have included societies/activities, problems with housemates and
tips on househunting.
Frequency of meetings: Meetings are held at the request of the
mentees. The frequency of meetings also depends on how many
hours mentors are willing to give to the scheme.
Duration: Scheme runs all through the academic year. In the
future, there are plans to begin recruiting mentors prior to the
summer break the previous year.
Time Commitment: Mentors spend approximately 2 hours a
week with mentees.
Evaluation and Impact Approximately one third of first years were in touch with their
mentors. First year retention rates have significantly improved.
Future plans Recruit mentors earlier, perhaps so that mentees can contact
them before even arriving at University.
Ask mentees and mentors to fill out a questionnaire partway
through and at the end of the scheme to identify strengths and
weaknesses in the scheme.
Conduct more social events, and perhaps even a social event for
just the mentors to bond.