Supporting Minority Students at Temple University
Math Mentor Program Temple University
The Math Mentor Program was developed at our large state-affiliated university as a mechanism to support students through the fundamental math courses required for the geoscience major. Math Mentors were junior or senior Geology or Environmental Science majors, and their role was to support students through development of study skills and support, not act as tutors.
Keys to Success
- Developing a supportive culture
- Math is a major barrier to success for our majors, and helping them past this hurdle is critical for retention.
- Mentoring provided valuable skills for future TA positions.
Attracting New Students
Students from outside the department saw flyers and asked to participate. I don't think this actively recruited majors, but it did demonstrate a welcoming and supportive community.
Supporting Our Majors
Math requirements are number one reason students leave the EES major without graduating. Some students take five, six, seven or more math classes to satisfy a two-course requirement. The university three-strikes rule means students can only repeat a course twice. EES majors who fail a required math class three times are out of the major, even if they have completed every other EES requirement.
The math mentoring program was created to provide peer coaching for students struggling in their math classes. It does not solve the problem of poor math preparation, but it does reduce anxiety and definitely helps some students as shown by their desire to continue in the program multiple semesters. Ultimately, we found that this program was better implemented as a Peer-to-Peer program, as students often struggled with more than just math courses, and this reduced the stigma of only participating if you were performing poorly at math.
Preparing Students for Careers
We found that we had no shortage of volunteers to serve as mentors, and commonly had more mentors than mentees. This was a mechanism for students to gain skill in mentoring others, which they were able to use on their resume, as well as prepare them for jobs and grad school.
Addition InformationMentee Guidelines (Acrobat (PDF) 19kB Aug25 22)
Mentor Guidelines (Acrobat (PDF) 69kB Aug25 22)
How-to for the Coordinator (Acrobat (PDF) 86kB Aug25 22)