Mountaineer to Mentor Program

Executive Summary

The purpose of the Military to Mountaineer Mentor Program is to create proactive services and transitional support so that the responsibility for a successful transition need not fall upon the returning individual alone. Student veterans frequently seek contacts with other veterans as a way to validate their experiences and aid in the successful transition to college. By creating the Military to Mountaineer Mentor Program, faculty and staff are provided opportunities and tools to better understand the kinds of military experiences that may be absent from their own set of experiences or knowledge base. In turn, learning about a servicemembers experiences compliment a campuses’ broader commitment to diversity and social understanding.
As the needs of veterans transitioning from the military to college extend beyond required documentation and making sure educational benefits are assessed, mentoring student veterans will provide the much needed partnership that can:

  1. assist student veterans with successful transitions
  2. honor student veterans perspectives, and
  3. create a seamless transition so student veterans can navigate the path of higher education and the challenges that it entails.

Mentors (Faculty/Staff/Alumni/Student Veterans):

Military to Mountaineer volunteers are needed. Student veterans, faculty, staff, and alumni can assist incoming and current student veterans and military members’ transition into the university through individual meetings and e-mail correspondence. This is an informal mentoring program that matches veteran students to faculty and staff members. Your time and care are the only requirements. The amount of time you commit is at your discretion! Mentors will have their names and contact information posted on the veteran’s website for the student to select the mentor that best fits them.

Mentees (Students):

The Military to Mountaineer Mentorship Program was established to ensure that student veterans have the proper guidance through their educational journey by being connect with experienced student staff and faculty members at WVU. Mentoring is an extremely powerful tool for student development. A mentor can assist in expanding educational, career and personal goals while helping to resolve issues and problems before they become serious. This program will assist in reducing achievement gaps that exist for student veterans, increase diversity awareness at WVU, its mission, and the importance of student veterans as members of our campus community.


Activities

The programming series offered to the student veterans include a variety of group activities, discussion, and events committed to bringing about mutual understanding and respect among all individuals and groups at West Virginia University. Each of the 11 programs will focus on a theme related to the goals of the project and are described as follows:

Session 1: Meet and Greet

Participants meet in the WVU Mountainlair to familiarize themselves with peers, faculty and staff

Session 2: Meeting with mentors and mentees

Mentors and mentees should meet two times a month during the semester. Address short-term and long-term goals/progress/challenges

Session 3: Meeting with mentors

Identify areas of effectiveness and improvement and modify program accordingly

Session 4: Teambuilding

White Water Rafting
Designed to be fun, fast, and challenging. Promotes organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills

Session 5: Wrap up of fall semester

Participants meet to celebrate the end of their semester and to reflect on their experiences

Session 6: Diversity Fest

Students will choose a program to attend during diversity week and discuss with mentor

Session 7: Meeting with mentors

Identify areas of effectiveness and improvement and modify program accordingly

Session 8: Meeting with mentors and mentees

Mentors and mentees should meet two times a month during the semester and continue to address short-term and long-term goals/progress/challenges

Session 9: Challenge Course Program

Course made up of various high and low rope problems that create solving initiatives. In turn, every obstacle can be related to a challenge to a college experience

Session 10: Community Service

Students work as a team and choose a service activity in the Morgantown or surrounding community. Groups will then research the type of social issue or problem that their community service project is focused upon.

Session 11: End of Year Wrap-Up

All participants will have an end of the semester cook-out at “Operation Welcome Home” location at Mylan Park. This will allow them to reflect on their experiences during their first year at WVU


Evaluation

In order to measure the extent to which the Military to Mountaineer Mentoring Program achieves its goals, several different methods will be used. Details are below:


Goals

The Military to Mountaineer Mentoring Program will initially consist of a planning phase for the summer 2014 semester and implementation phase in fall 2014. It will offer a series of six programs over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year (September – May). The goals, expected outcomes, and completion timeframe of the programming series are as follows:

Goal 1

The programming series will have a positive impact on retention rates of student veterans

Expected Outcome: At least 80% of students will report that they plan to return to WVU the following fall semester

Timeframe for Completion: This will be self-reported by students in May 2015

Goal 2

The programming series will have a positive impact on a student veterans academic standing

Expected Outcome: At least 80% of students will have cumulative grade point averages of at least 2.0 by the end of the spring 2015 semester

Timeframe for Completion: May 24, 2015

Goal 2

Student veterans will report that participation in the mentorship program and the programming series helped them to be successful

Expected Outcome: At least 80% of student veterans will report that their participation in the mentorship program helped them to be more successful as a student

Timeframe for Completion: May 24, 2015