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Staff mentoring at DIT: A review of four programmes

Author - Leslie Shoemaker


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Introduction

Staff Mentoring at the Dublin Institute of Technology is quite ambiguous in terms of its definition and purpose, as well as the impact it has with retention issues. The purpose of this paper is to provide a research review regarding the profile of the typical first-year student as well as to compare four current staff-mentoring programmes in DIT Kevin Street.

For the purpose of this paper, a staff mentor is defined as an individual who meets the following criteria:

- he/she has been appointed to this position by his/her department;
- their role is to provide ‘support’ to first year students – this can include information regarding class/lab changes, referrals to other DIT services, information regarding attendance and/or marks, etc.
- the student population is aware of this individual and of the role he/she serves.

It was difficult to create a broad definition for staff mentor because this particular terminology is not endorsed by DIT: other titles such as tutor, mentor and adviser are utilised in separate departments and schools. As a result, there often appears to be much confusion about the exact role these staff members serve and how each person is meant to implement their identified tasks. In part this situation is a consequence of the lack of DIT policy regarding the position and its expectations. It also reflects the individual nature reflected in each DIT site, the six different faculties, departments and even in specific courses.

 


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