Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Subgroup on Catalog of Campus Mentoring Programs

Summary of the Mentoring Catalog Project


Our project focused on implementing a comprehensive catalog of all of the mentoring programs available at University of Illinois. Although several registered student organizations at University of Illinois offer mentoring programs, an organized list of such mentoring programs is not available or broadcasted to the student body. Thus, through our project, our group hoped to take advantage of the resources already available at our university in order to inform our fellow students about these mentoring programs.


During the first couple weeks of working on the class project, our technologically challenged group took time to get familiar with the survey service through Google. A couple of us (AKA Alessandra) were anxious to get the survey out as quickly as possible. Yet spending time thinking about how to make the questions even better turned out to be really beneficial.

Soon, we had a survey that asked all the right questions. We then divided up all of the registered student organizations on campus and contacted these organizations through our survey in order to get information regarding student groups. Our survey was short, yet comprehensive so that we could receive the right information without alienating those groups that would not have time to fill out a lengthy survey.


Over twenty different groups- from religious groups to academic groups- responded to our survey. We then complied all of the results that we received in an organized document. Still, the question lingered of how we were actually going to distribute this information? We knew that we wanted our project to have a lasting effect. The projects of our classmates gave us a hint. We decided to contact the coordinators for the college introductory courses to see what they thought about our project. All of the LAS 100, ENG 100, and BUS 101 coordinators were more than willing to work with us in getting our information out to the incoming freshman this fall.

Plans for the future

We have several plans for the future that we hope to implement during this week, over winter break, and throughout next semester. First, in class, Tyler mentioned the idea of working with the Division of General Studies. Thus, before leaving for break, Alessandra is going to contact this division and discuss our mentoring program with them, just as we did for LAS 100, ENG 100, and BUS 101. .

Second, we plan to link the document to a netfile or a certain webpage so that students can access the information online.

Third, to reach out to students other than freshman, this week each of us is going to take an hour to put up our work in the campus buildings- in classrooms and on bulletin boards. We also plan to distribute the document as fliers in the Union and other campus locations after break, upon getting approval from the university.

Fourth, beyond winter break, Nashrah volunteered to keep the information updated. On the bottom of the catalog, we are planning to write a note insisting that if any changes or additional information comes up, to contact her e-mail address. She will update the “master list” with new contact information and new organizations.

We hope that more organizations will come forward with mentoring programs in the future, once this catalog becomes more advertised and distributed. When Nashrah leaves next year, she will find someone else to “carry the flame” as we eloquently said in class.


The main reason why we believe that our group was successful was because we always kept in mind – “How can we be the most effective with the resources and the time available to us?” We are very proud that our project left something concrete to help students make the most out of their time at University of Illinois.

By: Alessandra Musetti, Nashrah Maryum, Greg Eisenmann, and Fred Sollberger

1 comment:

  1. The catalog you have produced is good and interesting. Students should find it useful. One might very well ask how much further could you go with this idea - both in offering additional information about the programs and in keeping the catalog up to date. Nowadays, thoughts about this sort of thing turn to crowdsourcing, letting students and mentoring programs as well contribute directly to the directory in a meaningful way and then how to present those contributions in a manner that is useful to students.

    This ties into the next issue. Based on your efforts you should have good confidence that the information you compiled will be broadly distributed. That is a first level measure of impact. You likely want a second level measure of impact - namely that the students who receive the information read it and occasionally act upon it, when the need arises for them. How can you learn about this?

    If students would fill it out, a survey would work. But why should students fill out the survey? What good is that to them?

    The beauty of a crowdsourcing approach, if you could get it to work, would be that it could deliver on the survey function as well as the previous functions. Ongoing active participation would demonstrate the information does have substantial use value.

    Do note that I'm not expecting Nashrah, as the sole junior in your group, to carry the baton of crowdsourcing here. I mean it rather as a thought for possibly involving students outside our class, including at least one computer geek who can work out the back end stuff.