Mentoring is one of the pillars of Indiana State University (ISU). The school offers an assortment of both formal and informal options, including programs that serve distinct student populations. Others involve peer mentoring or drawing on an axis of faculty-staff-alumni to lend their guidance and support.
After winning a five-year, $2.38 million dollar grant in September from the U.S. Department of Education’s competitive Strengthening Institution Program, ISU is amping up to enlarge its mentoring opportunities.
Research has shown the transformative effects of mentoring on students, especially for those who come from impoverished backgrounds. “Relationships matter,” says Josh Powers, associate vice president for student success at ISU. “That is at the core of mentoring. It’s particularly important for marginalized students to feel like they matter and someone is investing in them.”
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Exact numbers are hard to come by, but Powers estimates that at least one-third of ISU students have taken advantage of a mentoring program at one time or another. For example, Destination Success, in the College of Technology, uses faculty and outside alumni to mentor women in technology; the Mentoring Assistance Program (MAPS), run by the African American Cultural Center, helps minority students complete their education.