Bengal Connect is a mentorship program designed to establish meaningful connections between first-year students and University faculty and staff. All Idaho State students should know that someone at the University truly cares about their success and is available to help them navigate higher education. With first-year student retention in mind, the Bengal Connect program launched in Fall 2021.
It is well documented that a lack of connections with others, including faculty and staff, will limit a student’s ability to navigate challenges and take advantage of helpful resources and services.
At the University every day, many faculty and staff provide much-needed and critical support to Idaho State students. Bengal Connect is not meant to replace those meaningful interactions and critical support networks. Instead, this program engages more mentors in the process and supplements efforts already underway by many departments and programs. In Fall 2022, all first-year students will receive a Bengal Connect mentor.
Mentor Sign-Up Form
If you have questions about the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty and Staff Mentors
Engaged and committed mentors are key to Bengal Connect’s success. University mentors need to provide genuine care, attention, and support to their assigned students. It is important to also recognize that student needs will differ, and some mentees may not be receptive to in-person meetings.
Mentors should, at a minimum, foster channels of communication with their assigned mentees and be available if a need arises. Mentors will be assigned a small group of mentees at the beginning of the fall semester.
What is expected of mentors?
- If you haven't already, attend one of the brief training sessions to learn best practices and program expectations.
- Mentors should establish contact with their assigned students early in the semester. At this point, introductions should be made and contact information exchanged.
- As necessary, but at least once a month, meet in a group setting with all assigned mentees. Group meetings will be held on campus in a public space. For example, a meeting may include grabbing a coffee or lunch in the Student Union. A meeting could also include attending a soccer game or walking around the Quad. The University will reimburse the cost of on-campus meals.
- Be available to answer mentee questions and connect them to University resources. Resources may include counseling, Benny’s Pantry, tutoring, scholarships, and student leadership.
- As needed, provide feedback to Academic Advising about the academic-related challenges of mentees.
How will students be assigned to mentors?
In September, each mentor will receive an email with a list of four to five students to assist during their first-year transition to college. The Office of Advising will check in with mentors once a month throughout the year to ascertain progress and answer questions and address concerns. Students will be randomly assigned to mentors.
What if the mentees do not respond to mentors?
The students selected for this mentoring program may not have developed the skills necessary for academic success in college. They may fail to regularly check email or respond in a timely manner, which may require mentors to make multiple attempts. Mentors should not be discouraged if a mentee does not respond immediately, but keep reaching out and laying that important groundwork for when the student does respond. In the meantime, if just one student were to show up to a “group” meeting, mentors should feel free to hold that meeting, but should also follow the guidelines for a group meeting provided above.