Leadership ELR Information for Mentors

The Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) is a graduation requirement for all Elon University students. The ELR expands upon the Five Elon Experiences (leadership development, global engagement, internships, undergraduate research, and academic service-learning) by providing a structure to facilitate and encourage students to practice close observation of the world around them and reflect insightfully about those observations. Students may complete this by fulfilling two units of experiential learning.

The Leadership ELR requires at least one semester to complete the following:
  • Hold a leadership position on campus and complete the Leadership Development Workbook or
  • Complete a Common Good Initiative and complete the Leadership Development Workbook

Approved leadership positions can include a role/title within an organization, campus program, or classroom experience where the student is learning or engaging in leadership practice.  To meet the Leadership ELR requirements, students must engage in at least 20 hours of activity during the duration of the project or leadership experience.

Whether a student completes the ELR for a formal leadership role/position or through a self-identified initiative to create positive change, completion of the workbook will enhance their experience by providing them with the opportunity to reflect on and improve their leadership.  Each student will identify an advisor or mentor to help guide their ELR experience.

The Role of the Mentor

A Leadership ELR Mentor will guide the student through the process. They will be involved in “checkpoints” identified in the Leadership ELR Workbook, where they will meet with students and help them reflect on their experiences, leadership understanding and learning using the reflective prompts. As students develop their own understanding of leadership and how it shows up in their work, these conversations help students identify strategies to become a more effective leader. Mentor “checkpoints” are outlined in the student’s Leadership ELR workbook and include the following:

  • Action Planning & Goal Setting: Using components of the leadership self-assessment and the Social Change Model of Leadership worksheets, students draft ideas around questions/prompts below. Students are asked to share their ideas and thought switch their Mentor, discuss their goals and/or learning opportunities, and actions they plan to take to accomplish their identified goals.
    • Questions/Prompts: Reflect broadly on what you’ve learned about leadership. What are your leadership development or skill development goals? What would you like to do better? What changes would you like to have made by the end of your ELR experience? Thinking more specifically and related to your leadership role or project, what actions do you want to take within that context to improve as a leader? Why is this a goal?
  • Understanding Your Leadership Role: Students reflect on understanding their role and its purpose to the group, organization, or community they are a part of and leading in. Mentors review students’ responses to the following prompts and provide feedback:
    • Questions/Prompts: How do you see yourself helping to advance the goals of the organization/group?  What other leadership roles exist within the group? What role do you play in relationship with those other leaders? What is your unique contribution?  How have you maybe not engaged as successfully as you’d hoped and what did you learn from it?
  • Mid-Experience Evaluation with Mentor: Mentors are given evaluation questions to complete about their student’s leadership skills role modeled. Mentors are encouraged to complete the evaluation midway through the student’s leadership experience and then meet with the student to discuss the feedback.
  • Understanding Your Organization/Role: Students will be asked to take a critical examination of their environment to identify trends, patterns, and hidden influences that impact the organization/group. The analysis, corroborated with research on leadership-related topics, will be reviewed with feedback by the Mentor.
  • Capstone Reflection: Students will be given reflective questions to process through and write responses that capture an overview of their experience. Mentors review their reflection and meet to provide further feedback.

Elon’s Center for Engaged Learning put together a great resource to use that includes additional reflection questions in their Facilitating Integration and Reflection on Leadership Toolkit

For more information on the role of a mentor for the Leadership ELR, please contact Tierza Watts, the Director for the Center for Leadership, twatts6@elon.edu