Share Thoughts on Mentor, First-Year Experience Programs

As SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success is rolled out this semester, students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to provide input on two key components of student engagement — faculty/staff mentor and first-year experience programs.

Project Succeed Discussion Sessions

RSVP at or to

Faculty/Staff Mentor Program

Planning and implementing the new faculty mentor program

Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon in ENG 285

Coffee and lunch will be provided

First-Year Experience

Brainstorming session on FYE and its future at SJSU

Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in ENG 285

Lunch will be provided

Through a U.S. Department of Education Title III Strengthening Institutions five-year grant, a group of faculty and staff members have been working to establish sustainable best practices for student success.

“We want to provide support to students in the first two years,” said Pat Backer, the director of the grant dubbed Project Succeed and a professor in the College of Engineering. “Many of our students are the first in their family to go to college and they are not from traditional college-going backgrounds. They need to learn how to navigate the college environment.”

In its first year, Backer and her collaborators selected five areas of focus that they believed could be sustainable once the grant period is completed. The areas include block scheduling, the mentor program, peer educators and mentors, first-year experiences, and student living learning communities in the residence halls.

The discussion on Sept. 9 will address how to expand on a pilot faculty/staff mentor program that started in spring 2015. Maria Alaniz, a professor in the College of Social Sciences and the coordinator of the mentor program, helped to implement an online portal that matches students and mentors. For more information on the pilot, visit

The discussion around first-year experience on Sept. 23 will aim to answer questions about what type of programs are sustainable at SJSU, what will fit in with SJSU’s culture and what students want. Models could include a general education course, an extended orientation model, or programming in the dorms.

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