Barry McNamara  |   Published August 10, 2016

ACI grant

Monmouth receives $11,900 to strengthen peer mentoring
Monmouth College has received a grant that will help the liberal arts college expand its peer mentoring programs.

An $11,900 grant from the Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) will support the College’s transitional programming and also provide emergency funds to students, said Michelle Merritt, Monmouth associate dean of students and director of student success.

“This gives us an opportunity to help the students in a financial way,” she said. “For example, we can help them pay for books with the emergency funds. The transitional programming will also be a big help to students in need. Our peer mentoring programs were effective last year, with students reporting they had a better understanding of what was required of them in college and by their professors. I’m excited that we’ll be adding the ACI program to the ones we already have in place.”

Monmouth offers entering students peer mentors through programs such as Bridge and New Beginnings. Last school year, the Fighting Scots athletic teams assigned mentors to new members of its 22 varsity teams.

This fall, student orientation leaders will serve as mentors for each of the College’s 19 sections of “Introduction to Liberal Arts,” a required course for first-time freshmen.

The ACI Peer Mentoring Program supports students who arrive at member institutions with risk factors that could prevent them from graduating. The program matches those students with junior and senior peer mentors who faced similar challenges when they entered college.

By building a “relationship bridge” between students and the larger campus community, the program provides an early warning system that can anticipate and address the challenges students face.

“Our goal is to boost graduate rates among students who may not have the family resources or experience to succeed in college,” said ACI Executive Director Mick Weltma. “So far, the results of our Peer Mentoring Program are so encouraging that we are taking steps to grow it to all ACI member campuses.”

During the 2016-17 academic year, ACI’s Peer Mentoring Program will involve a total of 130 mentees and 30 mentors across the seven-member campuses, which represent urban, suburban and rural settings in Illinois. Last year, the program was in place at three colleges.
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