AUC Launches Life Mentorship Program For Students
In an effort to support students in navigating their educational journey and future careers, The American University in Cairo (AUC) launched the Life Mentorship Program (LMP) to provide academic, career and personal support through individual mentoring by faculty, alumni and entrepreneurs. Ahmed Tolba, associate provost for strategic enrollment management, and associate professor of marketing at AUC said: “We first launched the Faculty Mentorship Program with 20 faculty mentors and 40 students in Spring 2017. After the success of the Faculty Mentorship Program, we launched the Alumni Mentorship Program, along with the Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program in Spring 2019. We now have 42 faculty members matched with 80 students,” said Tolba.
So far the program has served 180 students since its launch. According to May Ramy, director of academic initiatives and mentoring services, LMP has mentors from diverse fields, backgrounds and professions. “Our faculty mentors are from all academic disciplines at AUC and our alumni mentors have diverse backgrounds including: finance and investment, petroleum, IT, banking, life coaching, marketing, management and consulting, and community development. In addition to entrepreneurial mentors from many different industries and fields.”
Through the Alumni Mentorship Program, students get to discover the different career paths ahead of them and through the Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program, they are matched with entrepreneurs and business experts to help them put their start-up idea into action. “During the interviewing process with the students, we discovered that we have more than 30 students with promising start-up ideas. So, it was great to know that the mentees are already matched with mentors who can pass on their experiences and business advice to them to take their businesses to the next level,” said Tolba.
To ensure that the students receive the best outcome from the program, Tolba explained that they have conducted professional development programs over the past two years to ensure that the mentors are always up to date with the best mentoring techniques. “We also needed to bring their awareness to what facilities and resources are available at AUC so they can best serve the students. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure that the mentors know how to deal with students if they need psychological help or if they have a disability that requires support from a different office. The Center for Student Well-Being also provided training to the faculty on when to stop mentoring if a different kind of help is needed and where to head for professional help on campus.”
Mentoring is a critical component for creating an environment where AUC students could thrive personally, socially, and academically. For George Angly, business administration junior, the faculty mentorship program has proved to be a positive experience: “I feel so lucky that I joined the Life Mentorship Program since its launch. With a different mentor every semester, I believe I have developed a better understanding of myself, my desires, and my passion. A relaxed conversation with your mentor is all what it takes to gain wisdom and view life from a different angle.”
Tolba explained that the program has not only positively affected students but also managed to enrich the life experience of the mentors. “We have also witnessed a strong interest from AUC alumni to give back to AUC by dedicating time and offering mentorship to students.”
Alumni mentor Nadine Moussa ’97, who is an author, coach and marketer, said: “It is a great honor to be part of AUC’s Life Mentorship Program, a small token of giving back to our glorious days at AUC. I personally did not have the privilege of a mentor guiding me in my earlier career... I see the benefits it provides to younger fellow AUCians, helping to guide and support them, and offering them a true invaluable service.”
At the end of each semester, LMP team requires the feedback of the members of the program, through a questionnaire. Feedback on the program has been positive: more than 80 per cent of the enrolled students expressed their extreme satisfaction with the program, and more than 80 per cent of the alumni mentors wish to continue mentoring students. By the end of 2020, the plan is to serve 200 students and expand the network of alumni mentors to 120.
Developing a digital network platform is also part of the future development plan of the LMP. “We are planning to launch a digitized system that automatically matches the students with their respective mentors, instead of the ongoing matching process done by our team. Such platform should engage and benefit all of AUC community and highlight the existing opportunities and possibilities for the students,” said Ramy.