Enhancing inclusion, experience, and academic performance: peer-to-peer mentoring for equity group students in an Australian regional university
Boyd, B, Alexander, K, Wallin, M, Lake, W, Cumings, R & Callahan, R 2019, 'Enhancing inclusion, experience, and academic performance: peer-to-peer mentoring for equity group students in an Australian regional university' in J Hoffman, P Blessinger & M Makhanya (eds.), Strategies for facilitating inclusive campuses in higher education: international perspectives on equity and inclusion (Innovations in higher education teaching and learning), Emerald Publishing, London, UK, pp. 71-86. ISBN: 9781787560666
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This chapter describes an undergraduate peer-to-peer mentoring program, UniMentor, at a regional Australian university, which aims to support students in equity groups. Key benefits identified are: enhanced retention rates; improved academic performance; and strengthened social networks. While the focus is on commencing students (mentees), significant positive outcomes for thirdyear mentors are also apparent. Internal and external challenges that may influence access to mentoring among students include shifting institutional support and roles and curriculum change. Enablers include training, clarity of purpose, strong support networks, and fostering student sense of ownership. The effect of disciplinary culture on uptake and effectiveness of mentoring is also important. Overall, the program compares well against published frameworks of successful student mentoring. Nevertheless, critical questions remain regarding the effectiveness of general versus targeted mentoring programs for students in equity groups.