Honors Mentor Program

mentor program shield

The Mentor Program is a unique leadership-development opportunity designed specifically for Honors College students. Through this program, Honors mentors guide small teams of Honors freshman through an iteration of HONR 19901: The Evolution of Ideas. This follows a transformational leadership model, meaning that mentors cultivate collaboration and leadership skills in their small teams, while refining their own leadership and collaboration skills in the process. HONR 299: Mentors, a concurrent 8-week course designed to compliment the mentor's 19901 experience, provides students with a structured environment for learning leadership and collaboration fundamentals as well as reflecting on their experience. Thus, mentors learn through experience, as they apply leadership concepts and strategies they have gained from program training and coursework.

Interested in returning to the program or becoming a mentor for the first time? Click on the link below. Applications are due by the end of Thursday, Feb. 1. You can learn more about the program below or by attending the Mentor Program Callout on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 6-7 p.m. in the STEAM Lab. If you have specific questions, please email the Director of the Honors Mentor Program, Dr. Adam Watkins (aewatkin@purdue.edu).

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Program Goals:

  • To cultivate leadership development through programmatic training, experiential learning, and peer-to-peer coaching.
  • To support HONR 19901 learning outcomes: critical thinking, collaboration, and interdisciplinary learning.
  • To empower Honors students to shape their community and promote its values.

Mentor Roles:

  • As a liaison between Honors faculty and first-year students, Mentors facilitate small group projects in recitation and thus learning outcomes related to collaboration, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary learning.
  • Mentors promote identification with the Honors College community and its values through recitation teamwork and group bonding.
  • Mentors coach first-year students on the skills necessary to be a successful Honors student and to be a leader within the Honors community.
  • Mentors take agency over their own development through active engagement with HONR 299 and training retreats, self-directed skill management, and purposeful reflection.

For more on the Mentor Council and a description of what mentors gain from their experience, please click here.

Outcomes for Mentors:

There are three overarching goals for HONR 299 and the Mentor Program at large: to enhance self-development, critical thinking, and leadership skills. As with any experiential-learning context, the achievement of specific learning outcomes is dependent on each participant’s interest, intentionality, and effort. Below is a list of learning outcomes and competencies that the mentor experience affords engaged students:

  • Self-Understanding and Continuous Learning: mentors will assess their strengths and enact behavior management strategies to further cultivate their skills.
  • Communication: in addition to exercising oral and written communication, mentors will utilize active listening and observation skills. They will also distill and synthesize group ideas, both in their reports to faculty and in their efforts to guide group discussions.
  • Systems Thinking, Planning, and Problem Solving: mentors exercise planning skills by assisting in the development and execution of recitation projects; they also develop problem-solving skills as they help their groups navigate challenges in order to complete project goals and achieve learning outcomes. Mentors will also hone their systems thinking as they identify linkages between student competencies, project challenges, and course objectives.
  • Organizational Behavior, Teamwork, and Collaboration: as a project facilitator, mentors witness first-hand how project-teams operate and evolve, learning along the way good practices for collaboration and overall group effectiveness.
  • Ethics, Personal Responsibility, and Cultural Intelligence: mentors gain an understanding of the expectations, values, and personal responsibility that go with leadership opportunities. They also learn to appreciate and leverage diverse talents, backgrounds, and perspectives, both for their inherent worth and for their value to group effectiveness.

Mentor Criteria and Selection

To become an Honors Mentor, the student must be enrolled in the Honors College with good standing and must successfully complete the application process. Apply here.

Selection Process

  • Mentor Callout: Interested students can learn more about Honors Mentors by attending our upcoming callout Tuesday, Jan 23. Please see HNN for details.
  • Interviews: By February 9th, promising applicants will be asked to participate in a twenty-minute interview, which will take place in mid-February in Honors Hall. Interviews will be conducted by Mentor Council members and other prior mentors.
  • Final Decision: Reports from both application assessment and interviews will be used in the final decision. Final selections for new and returning mentors will be made in early March.

Mentor Commitment

Mentors enroll in HONR 299: Mentors (2 credits), which provides instruction on recitation activities as well as leadership development. HONR 299 meets once a week for the first eight weeks of the Fall semester. Mentors will also commit to attending a section of HONR 19901. This section meets twice a week for the first eight weeks of the Fall semester. Mentors choose a 299 /19901 pairing that works for their schedule, and they work with the faculty member assigned to that 299 /19901 pairing at a later date.