Faculty and Staff Mentors Connect Students to the University
By Marilyn Primovic
The Fontaine Center at the University Health Center matches students with faculty and staff mentors to make them feel connected and supported at the University.
To do this, the Fontaine Center collaborates with campus units, such as the Office of Student Conduct, to provide students with the opportunity to receive encouragement and guidance through mentorship with a faculty or staff member.
“We have a great partnership with Student Conduct, and some of our students in the program are not part of the conduct process,” said Liz Prince, director of health promotion and the Fontaine Center. “We receive referrals from various campus partners, and students may self-refer to the mentor program, as well.”
Prince said the Fontaine Center recognized the need for a mentorship program after looking at data about students in their program feeling as if they were not connected on campus.
“Their academics were solid, and on the surface, it did not matter how many student groups they were involved in on campus,” explained Prince. “Something was missing.”
These students were more likely to utilize alcohol as a coping mechanism for socializing and less likely to seek support on campus, she explained.
“We needed to figure out how to make students feel connected and a part of the family here at Georgia,” said Prince.
She said the collaboration with Student Conduct was key since many of the students that are referred to the Fontaine Center’s programs are going through the conduct process.
“We noticed when you pair someone with a mentor, it provides them with goals and opportunities to focus their energy on the future instead of engaging in other types of behavior” said Barrett Malone, director of Student Conduct.
He said Student Conducts holds in-depth conversations with students to hear their story and present them with beneficial options.
“We listen to the students we meet with and ask them if there is anything missing from their college experience,” said Malone. “We tell them that we have this program that can connect you with a mentor to develop career goals and a sense of purpose. Then we ask them if this opportunity interests them.”
He explained how that Student Conduct wants all of its students to be successful by realizing that a mistake does not define their future, and the Mentor Program is a tool to help them move forward.
“If we didn’t care about students being successful, then why would the University bother to intervene,” said Malone. “We hold students accountable, but we want to work with them to be successful.”
Prince said they work hard to connect students with mentors that can relate to them.
“We take hours and hours sometimes to match a faculty member with the student,” said Prince. “We really look for the little nuances to match them together.”
She said these little commonalities help the mentor and student relate and see each other as human.
Jason Rudbeck, senior lecturer in the Terry College of Business, started mentoring in the spring of 2015, and he said it is a rewarding experience for both the mentor and mentees.
“Almost all my mentees have found new direction and purpose, learned to better plan and organize their lives, and become more involved in extracurricular activities,” he said.
He said he works with his mentees to ensure their resumes are well-written and professional to prepare them for their next steps.
“It is a very rewarding experience to see students grow,” he said.
He said his mentees contact him even after the program to say hello in later semesters.
“They were all doing great, and this really speaks volumes about the program’s success and value to the University,” he said.
Students have reported that it is valuable for them to have a person to talk to without worrying about being judged, said Prince.
Prince explained, “It is that extra person, extra connection, who can say, ‘Hey, it’s okay. Let’s go for a walk. We can talk this through.’”
The Fontaine Center and Student Conduct invite faculty and staff members to sign up to become mentors in this program.
Visit https://www.uhs.uga.edu/mentor/mentor-program for more information.
247 Memorial Hall
Athens, Georgia 30602-3115
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The Office of Student Conduct is located on the 2nd floor of Memorial Hall. It is the white building located next to Sanford Stadium. When visiting our office, check in at room 247 located in the hallway between the Hooper Street and Reed Alley entrances to Memorial Hall.
Report a Potential Conduct Violation
Individuals interested in submitting a report of potential Code of Conduct regulation violations should do so in writing. Reports not submitted in writing will be independently verified prior to beginning a conduct investigation. Reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged violation. For individuals filing a report, a meeting can be arranged with a staff member in the Office of Student Conduct to discuss the conduct process. Reports should be submitted to Rebecca Scarbro, Associate Director for Student Conduct, by calling 706-542-1131 or emailing email@example.com.