First-generation Faculty and Staff Needed

First-generation faculty and staff members interested in mentoring first-generation students are needed for a new program at UT.

Sherry Cummings, professor and associate dean in the College of Social Work, is spearheading the effort. The Student Success Center, in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Student Life, will oversee the First-Generation Mentoring Program for incoming Promise scholarship students.

The project needs fifteen faculty or professional staff members who were also first-generation college students and are willing to serve as mentors for fifteen first-generation, first-year students during the 2013–2014 academic year.

“This is a wonderful way for first-generation faculty and staff to share their experiences and make a difference in the life of a first-generation student in that all important freshman year,” Cummings said.

The goal of the program is to support first-generation students as they transition to college, provide them with role models, increase their awareness of UT resources and culture, enhance their success skills, and help ensure their retention.

Faculty and staff mentors will share their life experiences with their mentees, assist them in navigating the university system, help them determine their personal strengths and weaknesses, and guide them in seeking appropriate campus resources.

Faculty and staff mentors will commit to six monthly face-to-face meetings—three per semester—during the course of the academic year. There also will be an orientation meeting at the start of the fall 2013 semester and a closing celebration at the end of the spring 2014 semester. The program will provide support for mentors throughout the academic year.

First-generation faculty or professional staff members who would like to serve as a mentor are invited to complete the application no later than May 15.

For more information, contact Cummings at scumming@utk.edu.

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