The Elon University mission statement describes a foundational belief in how our “academic community transforms mind, body and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience.” Underpinning Elon’s thriving and supportive learning community are meaningful relationships occurring everywhere students learn — from classrooms to global study to campus employment to residence halls and student organizations — and with all members of our community, faculty, staff, advisers, supervisors, peers and alumni. These powerful, supportive, and mentoring relationships fuel an Elon education.

A softball player and softball coach standing in a batting cage area.

A student and their mentor walking down a sidewalk with a brick building in the background.

A student tutor and their tutee sitting at a round table looking at a laptop in Elon's walk-in tutoring services center.

Professors sitting at a table in Elon's Design Thinking facility during a conference.

Why Mentoring Now?

While mentoring is already a purposefully designed outcome of Elon’s renowned engaged learning and high impact practices, discussion of enhancing relationships and mentoring dominated the 18-month planning process for the Boldly Elon strategic plan. Recognizing and building on our leadership, the Elon community called for a bold vision to advance student success by ensuring the outcomes of mentoring relationships are available to all Elon graduates by 2030.

The Work Ahead

With this goal in mind, President Connie Ledoux Book convened the Mentoring Initiatives Design Team in 2022. The group is charged with envisioning an infrastructure to support how we will provide all students with multiple pathways, skills and agency to build a network of meaningful relationships and mentoring networks with a community of peers, faculty and staff. These relationships should undergird all areas of students’ development:

  • Intellectual
  • Interpersonal
  • Identity
  • Socio-cultural
  • Wellness
  • Career

The work of this implementation team is to design, pilot and suggest next steps for a multi-year plan devoted to supporting student, faculty and staff capacities for high-quality mentoring, including but not limited to structures of support, resources and budgets, integration with other programs and initiatives, and a scaffolded set of structures across the curricular and co-curricular student experience.

Elon University was extremely fortunate, due to a grant written by Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement, to be accepted into the inaugural cohort of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Learner Success Lab to focus on mentoring. The team will begin by reviewing the ACE self-study full report, meeting with the steering committee to review and discuss their work, and carefully considering their recommendations and frameworks. The self-study committee’s interviews with students, faculty and staff; definition package; and working group reports should be seen as foundational to support the tasks below.