MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XVII No. 5
May/June 2005
Provost Responds to
Professor Postol's Allegations
International Students and Scholars:
A Legacy for MIT and the U.S.
Lorna Gibson New Chair of the Faculty
Back to the Future
Academic Expectations
Strengthening TA Training
Faculty Mentor Program:
A Growing Success
Advising and Mentoring of Undergraduates
Mission to Banda Aceh:
Excerpts from a Journal
Summer Without Summering;
Slave Huts, Bonaire
The Purpose of Poetry
Survey Says:
Faculty Approve of Updated Lunch Program
Alumni Attitudes and Involvement
Tenure and Promotion
[from the 2004 Faculty Survey]
Have you ever considered leaving MIT? [from the 2004 Faculty Survey]
Printable Version

Faculty Mentoring Program: A Growing Success

DAPER's Varsity Sport Faculty Mentor Program, initiated in January, 2005 has already seen remarkable growth since its inception. The goal of the program is to promote faculty and student-athlete interaction, by linking each MIT varsity athletics team with a faculty member. The faculty member acts as an advisor and mentor to the athletes on the team, and is available to discuss academic challenges and undergraduate life in general. Seventeen matches have been made thus far, with 15 faculty members participating:

  • Baseball John Hildebidle, Literature
  • Basketball (Men) Richard Gilbert, Mechanical Engineering
  • Kim Vandiver, Ocean Engineering
  • Basketball (Women) Karen Willcox, Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Fencing (Men) Peter Dourmashkin, Experimental Study Group
  • Fencing (Women) Peter Dourmashkin
  • Football Jim Hansen, Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences
  • Lacrosse (Women) Shane Frederick, Sloan School
  • Pistol David Trumper, Mechanical Engineering
  • Sailing (Coed) Peter Fisher, Physics
  • Sailing (Women) Peter Fisher
  • Skiing (Alpine) Larry Young, Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Soccer (Women) Terence Heagney, Sloan School
  • Squash Whitman Richards, Media Arts and Sciences
  • Swimming/Diving (Men) Leigh Royden, Earth Sciences
  • Swimming/Diving (Women) Leigh Royden
  • Tennis (Women) Hank Smith, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Track and Field (Women) Beth Coleman, Center for Media Studies

A Faculty Mentor Dinner was held in March, convening current faculty mentors, coaches, and student-athletes. Among the topics discussed were goals of the program and opportunities for interaction between faculty members and athletes. Faculty members shared their experiences with the program thus far, many of them noting that they feel they have benefited personally from the relationship.

The program has allowed faculty to get to know students on a more informal basis.

One mentor states, "I am happy to talk with them about anything and everything...and host them for hot chocolate at home after practice." This mentor also arranged for a Special Topics Subject based on the team's interests in artificial glaciers.

Faculty mentors also realize the importance of their guidance and counsel. Says one mentor, "I want to make sure these athletes have a clear perception of the value of what they do off the playing field. Leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, setting and achieving goals - these are all things learned in varsity sports, not to mention dealing with disappointment, defeat, and other challenges.. I think I can help them see this, and hope I can be of help in other ways as well." Another mentor adds, "I look forward to the opportunity to meet and talk with students in a setting where they are the ones with expert knowledge. In such a setting, students may feel more comfortable asking questions and seeking advice."

If you are interested in becoming a faculty mentor, there is still an opportunity to get involved. The following teams are still in need of mentors:

  • Heavyweight Crew (Men)
  • Lightweight Crew (Men)
  • Lightweight Crew (Women)
  • Open Crew (Women)
  • Cross Country (Men)
  • Cross Country (Women)
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics (Men)
  • Gymnastics (Women)
  • Ice Hockey (Men)
  • Ice Hockey (Women)
  • Lacrosse (Men)
  • Rifle
  • Soccer (Men)
  • Softball
  • Tennis (Men)
  • Track and Field (Men)
  • Volleyball (Men)
  • Volleyball (Women)
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for one of these teams, or if you have any questions about this program, please contact Kari Hebert, Sports Administration Intern, at 4-0391 or

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