Mentors may improve retention

Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services has developed a new mentor program to improve diversity, increase retention and promote inclusiveness at TCU. The department is organizing the program to help with retention rates among international students and minorities.

Sandhya Klein, mentor program coordinator, said the program is also expected to increase the diversity on campus, a widely-debated issue over the past year.

Klein said mentors will refer students to the proper source on campus who deals with the student’s particular issue.

“Mentors will help inform students of important dates on campus, such as the last day to add/drop classes or something as casual as where to go to get a burger at midnight,” Klein said.

Minorities make up 14 percent of TCU’s enrollment, while the international enrollment is 3 percent, said Greg Trevino, Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services director.

“Together the students form a pretty powerful group, but we want to help them branch out and associate with what is the majority on campus,” Trevino said.

Trevino said he is excited about the new program and the opportunity to provide incoming freshmen with a resource to be successful.

“Being successful is a key piece for retention,” Trevino said. “We want them to do well in academics and to just fit in.”

Klein will spearhead the program with assistance from Trevino and members from the Office of Admissions and Campus Life.

“We’re trying to make this one big, inclusive university,” Klein said. “We want students to get a TCU education regardless of ethnicity.”

Victoria Herrera, an assistant director of admissions recruiting, said she feels the program has the potential to be a success.

“I think it would help tremendously for the students,” Herrera said.

Applicants for the mentor program can range from freshmen to juniors. The goal for the program is to have around 80 incoming freshmen participate in the project.

“The mentors should be able to provide support and have knowledge of TCU,” Klein said. “We want any student at TCU that wants to have an impact.”

The program will meet once a month beginning in the fall to discuss the progress of the students and take part in different social and educational activities, Klein said. Mentors and their students will meet at least once a week, she said.

Other universities, such as SMU and University of North Texas, have implemented similar programs on their campuses, Klein said, but this is the first program of its nature organized at TCU.

Training for mentors in the program will take place this spring. The deadline for applications is March 1.