ECE Faculty-Undergraduate Mentoring Program
Steps Involved in Completing Your Mentoring Requirement
Before you will be allowed to register for your next semester's classes, you are required to meet with your mentor and submit a completed and signed copy of the appropriate mentoring checklist (EE Mentoring Checklist or CP Mentoring Checklist) to the Undergraduate Office. (As noted elsewhere, students who completed ENEE204 during summer 2003 or earlier are exempted from this requirement.) To encourage you to do more than just the bare minimum needed to comply with this requirement, we have prepared a list of steps that you should follow. This will help you get the most out of your mentoring experience.
- Know Your Mentor
If you do not already know who your mentor is then you should go to "Who Is My Mentor?". Here you will find details about how mentors are assigned, when you can expect to be notified of your faculty mentor assignment, and who to contact if you do not receive notification.
Assuming you do know who your faculty mentor is, you can visit their faculty webpage to find their contact information. You should also review their biography, research interest, etc. so you will "know your mentor". Knowing your mentor's background and interests is important because it might suggest possibilities for developing a more fruitful mentoring relationship.
There are many things you can do to prepare for your mentoring session. If you are a first-year student, you should be ready to talk about why you chose to major in electrical or computer engineering. Also, you might want to ask your mentor how they first became interested in the discipline and why they chose it as a career.
If you are interested in getting involved in research, you should investigate possibilities and discuss these with your mentor. If you are thinking of going to graduate school, you might want to ask your mentor's advice about specific programs. For students having academic difficulty, you should reflect on your study habits and skills as well as the personal, financial, and other circumstances that might explain your poor performance. This information will enable your mentor to advise, counsel, and/or coach you as appropriate. If they are unable to help then they should be able to direct you to someone who can. Whether it is to earn better grades or to start your own engineering company someday, your mentor is an invaluable resource to help you achieve your goals.
The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to prepare a plan-of-action to achieve your goals. Your mentor can help you explore your interests and refine your goals. However, you must first give serious thought to what your interests are and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You should also work to develop a better understanding of your needs and values so that your goals do not conflict with these. Determining exactly what your needs (as opposed to desires) and values are can be extremely challenging. You mentor can advise and guide you through this process. Once you get a grip on these matters, it will be possible to set appropriate goals in harmony with your particular interests and abilities as well as your needs and values. This is necessary if you are to gain control of your career and realize your full potential.
So, if you have not already done so, you need to undertake a general assessment of your personal and academic situation. You should also explore and articulate in detail your engineering interests and set some long-range goals. In a much broader sense, think about what is important to you. What is it you value? You might consider doing some journal work on these matters. There is no substitute for writing your thoughts down if you want to get clear about something. You should begin your journey of self-discovery as soon as possible. Remember, your mentor is someone who can take this journey with you, but you need to be prepared.
- Contact Your Mentor
After you have been assigned a faculty mentor you can expect email notification from them. This initial contact will most likely take the form of a group email with general guidelines on how they intend to handle their mentoring appointments. For example, they may decide to have their mentees email them to set up individual appointments. Alternatively, they might put a sign-up sheet on their door with specific time-slots and have you schedule something that way. Regardless of how your mentor decides to handle this, you should provide your mentor with information about your situation prior to your appointment. You should summarize what was covered in your previous visit(s) and indicate what you would like to discuss in your forthcoming meeting. If you are a first semester freshman or transfer student or just new to the major you should introduce yourself and provide some background information. You should also attach to your email an electronic copy of your unofficial transcript.
- The Appointment
You should try to schedule your mentoring appointments as early in the semester as possible. Faculty will typically have more time at the beginning of a semester than the end. This should make it easier for you to get an appointment. Also, your mentor will have more time to devote to you and your concerns. Even though you will already have sent your mentor an electronic copy of your transcript, you should still bring a copy of your unofficial transcript with you. Be courteous and make sure you communicate your concerns and issues clearly and succinctly, otherwise your mentor will not be able to provide you with appropriate advice and/or direct you to relevant resources.
Make sure you complete the appropriate checklist (EE Mentoring Checklist or CP Mentoring Checklist) with your mentor and have them sign it before you leave their office.
- Review and Document the Meeting
Once you have completed your mentoring session you should take a few minutes to review what was discussed. List specific actions your mentor recommended, options they suggested you investigate, etc. If you decide to take action as a result of your session set specific deadlines both for when you will begin to act and when you want to have the task completed. Make sure you accurately record all of this in writing if you and your mentor have not already recorded these tasks on your checklist. Also, it is highly recommended that you keep a notebook with all of your mentoring materials. This will allow you to more easily prepare for future mentoring sessions, review your progress, and develop future plans of action. It will also help you to maintain your focus.
- Submit the Mentoring Checklist
Once you have finished your mentoring session, you must bring a completed and signed copy of your checklist to the ECE Office of Undergraduate Studies in 2429 A.V. Williams. You will not be allowed to register for your next semester's classes until you submit this form. (Remember, you must also have your pre-registration form approved by one of the staff advisors before you will be allowed to register.)
- Make It an Ongoing Process
Mentoring is "ongoing" in two senses. First, you are required to meet with your mentor every semester before registering for classes. Second, and more importantly, interaction with your mentor is not limited to these required sessions. You should actively work to develop your relationship with your faculty mentor. Seek to interact with them in a sustained way throughout the semester and over the years. Remember, the faculty are there to help you succeed and they want you to succeed. However, they are extremely busy; so, if you are going to make this work, you need to prepare, do things early, and maintain your focus.
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