Evaluation of Existing Mentorship Program at Chowgule College
Smt. Parvathibai Chowgule College is a prominent educational institution in South Goa with around 3,000 students, offering graduate, postgraduate and diploma courses mainly in the area of arts and science. The college started a mentorship program around six years back with the aim of supporting students throughout their educational career in the institute.
Under the mentorship program every teacher-mentor has a group of 12-15 students placed under his/her care. The mentor meets the students regularly, builds rapport with them, monitors their grades and assists them with difficulties - academic and emotional.
The management of the college was eager to improve the existing mentorship program and make it more successful and accessible to its students. With this view in mind they approached Sangath to do an evaluation of the program. This evaluation was undertaken in an exploratory and iterative manner using a number of qualitative tools followed by a small quantitative survey to triangulate the findings.
The following themes were explored at each phase of the evaluation:
• The students and the mentors understanding of the objectives of the mentorship program and the role of the mentor.
• Whether the program was found useful and the reasons for the same.
• Positive as well as negative experiences of the program, the benefits gained by students and mentors.
• Qualities and skills that a mentor need possess.
• Suggestions to improve the mentorship program.
• Ensure record maintenance by the respective mentors.
Results showed that a large number of mentees found the mentorship program useful. Those who did not find this program useful gave reasons mainly as related to not being able to meet the mentor or poor mentoring skills of the teacher.
Many mentors have lost interest in the program since the emphasis of the program has shifted to improving grades of those they mentored.For students, the skills of the mentor and availability are most important.
Many mentees have experienced a number of positive outcomes from the program which include helpful academic advice, sorting out logistic and administrative difficulties faced or even just having someone to talk to.
The mentors too, have had positive experiences in terms of fulfilling relationships that they have developed with their mentees.
The mentees and the mentors had a number of suggestions to improve the program some of which include increasing the number of meetings between mentors and mentees, having an orientation on the roles and expectations for both and skills training for the mentors.
Although mechanisms have been developed, few mentors are able to keep adequate records, indicating a need for better orientation on record keeping.
Based on the findings a number of recommendations were given to the management of the college, some of which include:
*Having specific and regular time slots in the official time table for mentors and mentees to meet.
*To manualize the roles and responsibilities of the mentors so that new teachers can be inducted.
*Regular trainings be held for the mentors
*To expand the scope and have a rigorous monitoring and evaluation strategy.