One component of the the Blavin Scholars Program is the Blavin Mentor Program that matches each Blavin Scholar with a University of Michigan faculty or staff member to offer additional support and guidance throughout a scholar's time at the U-M. Having a mentor on campus is a great way for Blavin Scholars to connect with a supportive adult around a common interest, learn more about how to navigate campus and available resources, and build their support network. Many Blavin Scholars and Blavin Mentors have referenced their experience with the Blavin Mentor Program as one of their most meaningful experiences at U-M and some of our mentor matches maintain contact after the scholar graduates!
Blavin Mentor Application
To be eligible to serve as a Blavin Mentor U-M faculty and staff must complete the brief Blavin Mentor Application.The Blavin Mentor Applicaiton provides prospective mentors an opportunity to share what they have to offer a mentee in a variety of categories ranging from how academic/career or general support oriented they would like the mentor match relationship to be or if there are specific identities, qualifies, interests, hobbies, careers, or experiences they are seeking to have a connection around with their mentee. Similarly, the Blavin Scholars are asked to fill out a Blavin Mentee Profile that gathers corresponding information.
Blavin Mentor Training
All prospective Blavin Mentors go through a half-day Blavin Mentor Training that covers the following topics: overview of the foster care experience, about the Blavin Scholars Program, the role of a Blavin Mentor. Training attendees gain an understanding of the expectations of the Blavin Mentor Program and the role of a Blavin Mentor as well as some key strategies to being a supportive adult that can be implemented right away in their general work with students.
Blavin Mentors are matched with Blavin Schoalrs through a process that is coordinated by Blavin Program Staff. There are a few different options for how Blavin Scholars can explore possible mentor matches and provide their feedback to Blavin Program Staff.
- Blavin Speed Match Event: An annual event that brings together all prospective mentees and prospective mentors to get to know one another through group activities and brief 1:1 interactions.
- Blavin Prospective Mentor Binder: Each prospective Blavin Mentor submits an application that is kept on file for review by Blavin Scholars. Blavin Program Staff can coordinate brief meet and greets with prospective Blavin Mentors that Blavin Scholars identify as a possible match.
- Natural Mentoring: Blavin Scholars are welcome to identify an existing U-M faculty or staff connection they have that they identify they would like to have as their formal Blavin Mentor. Blavin Program Staff can meet with the identified faculty or staff member and conduct the Blavin Mentor Training so the identified individual is eligible to be a Blavin Mentor.
- Specific Individual Requests: If Blavin Scholars have a very specific request to have a Blavin Mentor that holds specific identities, qualities, interests, hobbies, careers, or experiences and they do not find a mentor match that meets their needs through one of the above matching options, Blavin Program Staff will search outside of the existing mentor pool to identify a possible U-M faculty or staff member who is a match. The Blavin Scholar would then have the opportunity to have a brief meet and greet with the prospective mentor and identify if there is a mentor match and if there is Blavin Staff would train the Blavin Mentor.
Blavin Mentor Match Relationship
Once a Blavin Mentor Match is mutually agreed upon by the Blavin Scholar, Blavin Campus Coach, and Blavin Mentor, the Campus Coach will facilitate a Match Meeting to formalize the mentor match. The match meeting is a time for the Blavin Scholar and Blavin Mentor to learn more about one another, establish expectations and boundaries, and plan their first one-on-one Mentor Meet Up. From there Blavin Mentor Matches are encouraged to meet face-to-face once a minimum of once a month and maintain contact as needed throughout the rest of the month. Blavin Mentor Matches do a variety of activities for Mentor Meet Ups including: meeting up on- or off-campus to chat, engaging in job shadowing and career training, experiencing local cultural events and activities, enjoying a mutual hobby together, or learning something new together!
Throughout the mentor match relationship the Blavin Campus Coach continues to support the Blavin Scholar and Blavin Mentor and is available to address any questions or concerns. The following support is available for Blavin Mentors:
Blavin Mentor Meetings (one per term): an opportunity for Blavin Mentors to connect with other mentors and Blavin Program Staff to share their success and challenges in their mentor role and share collective wisdom of best practices for supporting the success of Blavin Scholars.
Blavin Mentor Newsletter (one per term): a communication distributed by the Blavin Program Staff to share updates and best practices regarding the mentoring component of the Blavin Scholars Program.
Check-ins from Blavin Staff (once per month or as needed): Blavin Program staff will reach out regularly to Blavin Mentors and Blavin Scholars to offer support and answer any questions.