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Mentors need Street Smarts & Spiritual Fruits
Author: CTL
Published: 20/06/2019


held at Education 3008, from 12:45 – 13:45
This Auxin presentation by Ms Shona Lombard explored the unique support that can be offered when senior students mentor first-year students in the extended degree programme (EDP).  Mentoring can make a profound contribution to the successful integration of these students, often the first generation undertaking a university career.
The title of this Auxin presentation, The Fruits of the Spirit mixed with Street Smarts, was inspired by one of the senior students who acted as a mentor, when asked to reflect on what the qualities of a good mentor would be.  She responded that a mentor needs to be street smart and also to possess the fruits of the spirit as described in the New Testament: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Auxin attendants found it particularly useful when Ms Lombard shared such examples of the mentors’ own voices.

Ms Lombard introduced the Auxin audience to the background of the peer mentorship programme within EDPs since 2015.  She also introduced the theories and literature she explored in a FIRLT-funded study to develop the current version of the mentor programme, and this lead to meaningful interdisciplinary discussion in the Auxin session.  In the current version of the mentor programme, mentors aim to create a safe space within which first-year EDP students are able to interact with their mentors, senior EDP students.  Thus the mentor sessions are focused on sharing experiences related to transitioning the gap between school and university, rather than on academic content, which is supported and developed in other programmes.

The quantitative and qualitative data, together with annual evaluation processes, have indicated that the mentor programme does indeed provide safe, supportive and challenging spaces that promote critical and creative thinking which can result in positive behavioural changes for both the mentees and mentors.
Since 2017 the presenter has also been involved in the co-curriculum accreditation process of the mentor programme so that mentors’ work can be acknowledged on their academic transcripts. As an example of an experiential learning process (Kolb, 1984), this mentor programme provides ample opportunities for transactions between the mentees' and mentors' personal knowledge and the social knowledge gained through interaction with each other in this space of development.

The Auxin attendants engaged with the presenter on sharing best practices across faculty contexts, and in their feedback indicated that her study’s theoretical grounding was the most appreciated aspect of the session.
To listen to a podcast of the session, please visit:
For more information about literature on the topic, feel free to contact the presenter:
Ms Shona Lombard []
 Picture 1:  Ms Shona Lombard with a group of mentors who successfully completed the mentorship programme.