As participation in higher education widens with concomitant increases in the number and diversity of commencing students, so does the need for programs that will support their transition and retention. In response to this need, a growing awareness of the value of mentorship in Australian universities has resulted in the introduction of peer mentoring programs for students in many institutions. Mentorship, however, can take many different forms. This chapter reports on a model of academic (faculty) mentorship for commencing science students belonging to a range of defined disadvantaged groups. The program was initially funded by an internal grant, with voluntary participation by eligible students. At the end of the first semester, participants overwhelmingly endorsed the program as having enhanced their transition experience and improved their prospects for academic progress and retention. Despite reduced funding, the program was retained over two subsequent years with slight modifications based on student feedback, together with consideration of its most effective elements. The success of this academic mentorship program demonstrates the potential value of such approaches in the university retention and success of disadvantaged students.
The authors would like to acknowledge Monash University for funding the inaugural academic mentorship scheme, and the School of Biological Sciences for continued support and funding that enabled the program to continue for three years. We especially thank all students who participated in this academic mentorship program, and for their valued perceptions and thoughtful feedback.
Rayner, G.M. and Beckman, J. (2019), "The Use of an Academic Mentorship Model to Enhance the Transition, Retention, and Success of Disadvantaged Students in Higher Education", Hoffman, J., Blessinger, P. and Makhanya, M. (Ed.) Strategies for Facilitating Inclusive Campuses in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 117-130. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120190000017009
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