Roxbury Community College’s (RCC) Mentoring for Success, which supports first-generation college students at RCC with one-to-one mentoring relationships spanning two semesters, has hosted three Ambassadors over the span of four years. The successes of their program illustrate how hosting an Ambassador can take a mentoring program from newly created to successfully operating. The positions have changed from year-to-year with the program’s development and growth, and have built on the work of the previous Ambassador: from research and development, to program implementation and evaluation, to continued expansion and revamping the program to fit the students’ and colleges’ needs.
Lise Hagen, the Ambassador at RCC from 2010-12, was responsible for a wide range of duties, including recruiting, training and matching mentors; developing a mentor orientation and training; providing match support to ensure the continuity of the relationships; and more.
Elizabeth Clark, director of student life and student engagement/supervisor of the Mentoring for Success Program, says that determining project scopes for the Ambassadors are based on evaluations of the program throughout the year. They track target goals in areas like mentor and mentee recruitment, match retention, match satisfaction, and improvement in mentees’ personal and academic development. These factors help them create new target goals for the upcoming year to help strengthen the program or expand in a previously untapped area.
She says their Ambassadors have been key to the growth of the mentoring program. ”It has been built from the ground up with the help of Ambassadors and Mass Mentoring. Our Ambassadors have continued to meet and exceed their goals, or have created alternative solutions for goals that were met with challenges.”
Elizabeth says that they’ve continued to apply for Ambassadors due to the continue success in the expansion of their program. “We receive ongoing positive feedback from our faculty, staff, and students involved in the program, as well as support from the RCC community. Ambassadors have proven to have the personal capabilities and external support from MMP to continue elevating the program.”
For program directors thinking of applying to host an Ambassador, Elizabeth recommends finding the balance between providing structure to help the Ambassador start, and flexibility so he or she can bring his or her own ideas.
“Regardless if you have a successful mentoring program or one just starting, it’s important to keep an open mind to the potential an Ambassador can create for your program when you work together.”