Scholastic Connections was started in 2001 in response to a prolonged and destructive hate mail campaign of an alumnus aimed primarily at mixed race couples. Created by Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and alumnus Syl Jones (’73), Scholastic Connections is believed to be the first of its kind in the country combining financial incentives and mentoring opportunities.
Mentors are drawn from the pool of alumni of color providing them the opportunity to give back to the University in a unique and profoundly meaningful way and allowing them to reconnect with their educational roots.
Scholars are selected through an application process – five new Scholars are selected each year.
In addition to the personal growth and development of the Scholar, career planning and development are expected outcomes of the work of the mentoring pairs.
There are three main prongs of the SC work:
1) Mentoring pairs – Alumni Mentor working with an Augsburg Scholar
2) Buddy System – new Scholars are paired with returning Scholars and given assignments of specific things to learn about each other
3) Large group work – we come together as a whole a number of times throughout the academic year to work and learn about each other. We also partake in cultural activities.
Because the program is about success it is necessary to celebrate success and we do that by having two major events a year: 1) the fall Gala Kick-off presents the SC recipients for that year to the Augsburg community and 2) a graduation recognition celebration acknowledging those Scholars who are graduating and their Mentors who are moving on.
Goal: To form a mentoring community that recognizes, supports, challenges and inspires our students and ourselves.
1) Support students as they continue at Augsburg University
2) Frame the Big Questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What are my gifts, skills and talents? How can I best serve the world?
3) Assist in discerning vocation
4) Prepare students for life after Augsburg
5) Come to know and support each other
Objectives for New Mentors
- Establish relationship with your student
- Begin asking the Big Questions
Objectives for Continuing Mentors
- Deepen and broaden relationship with student
- Assist student to discern his/her vocation
- Career planning: student shadowing you, networking
Features of a Mentoring Community (Sharon Daloz Parks)
Provide a network of belonging
Ask big enough questions
Encounters with “other”
Habits of the mind – Dialogue, critical thought, contemplative mind
Worthy Dreams (vocation)