What Do I Do and Where Do I Go From Here? Mentoring at an Open Door Institution

Friday, January 7, 2011: 9:30 AM
Room 101 (Hynes Convention Center)
William Benedicks Jr. , Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, FL
Benedicks will focus on the mentoring problems inherent in a 2-year open door institution. The diversity, economic concerns, preponderance of first generation students, nontraditional students and students testing into academic support courses, blur the lines between mentoring, advising and counseling.  Generally speaking, the nature of the community college student means much of your time is spent explaining general education requirements, major and minor options, the transfer process and institutional choices. Unfortunately, while a critical step in the educational future of our students, few faculty members are trained to, or ready to, facilitate the process. Yet, we must. For those students you do connect with the relationship is mutually rewarding, and if successful, short-lived.  In essence you help students establish the template for their academic career somewhere else. They go, and oftentimes keep in touch, but by the time you get to know them they are gone.

            Adjuncts provide another mentoring opportunity at Tallahassee Community College.  Tallahassee is home to Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. There is no shortage of graduate students wanting to adjunct at TCC. The result is a somewhat unique opportunity to mentor as they transition from the rigors of graduate school to the role of an adjunct professor in a community college.  Experience illustrates that this is an onerous task and another area in which they have received no preparation.

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