Mentorship programs perform well for equity students
Australia-wide mentorship programs specifically designed for equity students are performing exceptionally well, new research has found.
As part of the research led by Curtin University Associate Professor Susan Beltman and funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, mentorship programs offered by 39 universities were mapped across three stages: enabling, engagement and employment.
Universities have used various programs, including those involving mentoring, to support students from groups that are underrepresented in higher education – ‘equity groups’. While mentoring has been shown to have benefits for all students as well as those from equity groups, research has typically examined programs in one university or for one particular equity group and little is known about the extent of such programs across Australian universities.
Objectives and methodology
The project had three aims:
- to create a map showing the extent to which mentoring programs are used in Australian universities to support students from the different equity groups during the different phases of university life: enabling, engagement and employment
- to examine the extent to which features of a cross-section of programs aligned with existing best practice in mentoring guidelines and benchmarks
- to point to areas that need further research or that could inform current practice.
Research was conducted in two stages:
- Stage One: Existing websites and publications were systematically searched to determine how many mentoring programs existed in 39 Australian universities. These could be general programs that would include students from disadvantaged groups, or programs that explicitly targeted equity groups.
- Stage Two: University contacts from programs explicitly targeting equity groups were invited to complete a survey detailing features of the programs related to aspects such as program aims and structure, selection and support of mentees and mentors and program evaluation.
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