Recognizing the importance of mentoring relationships for success and well-being not only in college but beyond, Elon University’s new strategic plan, Boldly Elon, leads with an ambitious agenda:
Through a groundbreaking mentoring model, students will learn to build developmental networks that include peers, staff and faculty, as well as others beyond the university.
This lifelong constellation of mentors will emerge as a hallmark of an Elon education, engaging all students in developing essential skills and fluencies – writing, speaking, creative problem solving, collaboration, intercultural learning, data competency, media literacy, ethics and personal and professional agility.
– Boldly Elon
Conceptualizing mentoring through a constellation model offers myriad opportunities to support students’ learning and development. However, the large-scale aims of Boldly Elon, that all students will develop multiple meaningful relationships in a mentoring constellation, have not yet been enacted in practice in higher education. Further exploration of this framework is critical.
In order to conduct a careful study of the current landscape of mentoring in higher education and at Elon, an Elon team worked with the American Council on Education (ACE) on their new Learner Success Lab (LSL). Elon was one of ten institutions in the inaugural cohort.
Led by Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Amy Allocco, Nancy Carpenter, and Sylvia Muñoz, a steering committee comprised of 14 faculty and staff colleagues from across the institution conducted a self-study and review of existing activities and capacities related to Mentoring for Learner Success. In her charge to the committee, President Book described the work of the ACE LSL as an “on-ramp” for future planning and implementation of the mentoring initiatives in Boldly Elon. The LSL culminated in a set of recommendations to be considered by a future implementation committee.