MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXII No. 4
March / April / May 2010
New Opportunities Toward Nuclear Disarmament: Reviving Faculty Roles?
Is President Obama Reducing the Probability of Nuclear War?
MIT in Action in Haiti
MIT Medical Director Discusses Changes: Community Care Center Proposed
The MIT Medical Department 1901-2004:
A Very Brief History
Academic Integrity
The Chancellor and Student Deans Ask Students to Share "What's On Your Mind?"
Arthur C. Smith
Richard K. Yamamoto
New AT&T and Sprint Nextel Transmitters Promise Better Cell Phone Coverage
Graduate Fellows Build Community
The Foremost Resource Students Need
is Your Time
MIT Center for International Studies:
Student Training and Faculty Funding
MIT Finance Initiating Digital Tools and Services: ePaystubs Available in June
MIT Professional Education: Summer 2011 Short Course Proposals
U.S. News & World Report:
Graduate School Rankings 2001-2010
MIT Publications Online
Printable Version

The Foremost Resource Students Need is Your Time

Allysa Piché

If you are reading this article, I would bet the balance on my loans to MIT that you had a mentor at some point. The importance of that individual or those individuals in your life is assuredly invaluable. However, I wonder if you have reached out to mentor someone else?

I write to you today on behalf of the Mentor Advocate Partnership program (MAP). It is a volunteer mentoring program for MIT first- and second-year undergraduates designed to foster their holistic development along both academic and non-academic dimensions. The MIT Office of Minority Education (OME) initiated MAP believing that building strong relationships throughout the college experience plays an integral role in academic success and personal satisfaction at MIT.

Studies have shown that students who are integrated and involved in both the academic and social mainstream of campus life are more likely to graduate [Brown, O. B. (1995). Debunking the Myth: Stories of African-American University Students. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa.] and have greater satisfaction with their collegiate experience [Bowen, W. G., & Bok, D. (1998). The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.]. Specifically, students who report strong ties with faculty or staff and high quality interactions with peers generally fare better on key measures of collegiate success than those who fail to make these institutional connections [Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Light, R. J. (2001). Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press]. Thus, satisfaction in and about the college experience for many students is directly linked to the quality of peer and adult interactions.

MIT staff and faculty serve as mentors and help participating students, known as “protégés,” build their networks, monitor personal well-being, offer encouragement, and provide a proactive support layer.

The partnerships in the program are designed to extend for two years, but we encourage the connection between mentor and protégé to continue after this formal period ends. Designed to complement the current undergraduate advisor system, MAP aims to provide a sincere community of support between the community of mentors and protégés at MIT.

In September, students and mentors will attend a kick-off and orientation event where they meet each other for the first time and, through training, learn how to make the most of the mentoring relationship. Throughout the academic year, mentors and protégés attend MAP events and are encouraged to meet informally a few times per semester. Together, they create goals for the mentoring relationship, clarifying details such as the best way to get in touch with each other and the best times to meet.

Curious to be a mentor but don’t know where to start?

We have trainings for protégés and mentors as well as support staff to lean on when you have questions. During this past 2009-2010 academic year, Institute Ombudsperson Toni Robinson explained what to expect and good ways to start out in a mentoring relationship. During January’s National Mentoring Month, MAP held a joint session in which all participants were invited to speak with and discuss the different models of mentoring with Dr. Mary Rowe, an adjunct professor who teaches a course on conflict management at the Sloan School of Management.

All formality and not enough good old-fashioned fun?

To encourage a strong community where protégés and mentors can find resources and a close-knit group, MAP holds events on and off campus, such as our spring event at the MIT Museum, and just-for-fun events, such as our competition in which program participants were encouraged to deliberate the finer points of local ice cream.

My purpose in this article was to remind you that your most valuable resource in a student’s mind is your time. If interested, please e-mail me at with any questions or fill out a mentor application online at:

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