Campus Horsens educates Danish and international mentors

Students from Campus Horsens
In week 33, 52 VIA students attended a mentor seminar at VIA Campus Horsens, and they are now qualified to work as mentors for the new Danish and international students.

Along with the 12 mentors who were qualified earlier this year, the 52 mentors must act as academic and social partners and helpers of the new students. 

The work of the mentors is in line with the work of the tutors, which first of all is about welcoming the new students and making sure that they have a great start. The task of the mentors is to create a safe study environment, where they can contribute with their study experiences and help make the course of study as smooth as possible for the new students. 

At the same time, they are in charge of hosting at least four meetings with the new students (mentees) during the first semester to make sure that the new mentees get the social and academic support they need. Each mentor has between six and ten mentees. 

Seven study programmes are part of the project 

There are seven study programmes (Civil Engineering, access course for the Civil Engineering programme, Architectural Technology and Construction Management, Production Technologist, ICT Engineering and Mechanical Engineering (Danish and international programme)) who participate in the project of educating mentors. 

The first team of mentors was qualified to start their work in the spring semester 2013, and both mentors and mentees have given positive feedback in terms of their experiences. As such, the plan is that all the study programmes within technology and business at Campus Horsens must have mentors for the spring semester 2014. 

Johs. Simonsen from the Architectural Technology and Construction Management programme at Campus Horsens is the project manager of the mentor programme, and he is looking forward to collaborating with the mentors: 

”The starting point of the mentor project was actually based on a political decision to put focus on student retention. With this project, we try to equip the mentors with the qualifications they need to make a difference when working with the new mentees,” Johs. explains and tells more specifically what the mentors will learn:

”They learn how to deal with different personalities, and they learn question-asking techniques so they are able to talk to their mentees about more than just wind, weather and soccer. The mentors are furthermore trained in how to host a meeting and educated on the rules of ethics and confidentiality”. 

I know the feeling 

It is always a great challenge to start your higher education studies as there are many unknown factors to address. The challenge of the international students is the greatest, as they must not only get used to attending a new study programme. They must also get used to a new country, a new culture and a new language,” Johs. Simonsen points out: 

”Coming to Denmark is a radical change to many of the international students, and we therefore have an important job in terms of helping them integrate. As such, it is essential that we have a team of mentors, who can help them find their way here at VIA”. 

Yuanjia Chen is from China and enrolled on the third semester of the Architectural Technology and Construction Management programme, and she is one of the new international mentors: 

”I know the feeling of being all alone in an entirely new country, studying an entirely new programme. Therefore, I think that my experiences can help me in guiding the new students. Now, I have also achieved some great tools during the mentor programme that can help me in talking with and motivating the new mentees, and also help me deal with different kind of problems”. 

Aarhus Tech and EAMV in Holstebro are also participating 

The Architectural Technology and Construction Management programme at VIA in Aarhus and Holstebro are structured in a way where the students are enrolled the first three semesters at Aarhus Tech or EAMV (Erhvervsakademi MidtVest) and the last four semesters at VIA. 

Therefore, students from the Architectural Technology and Construction Management programme at Aarhus Tech and EAMC have also participated in the project to the great delight of Project and Operations Coordinator, Louise Krogh Andersen, from Aarhus Tech, amongst others: 

“I think that our students will greatly benefit from participating in the project, because they will learn how to use some great tools which they will not only benefit from as mentors but also in their future careers. There is a great deal of self-management when having to coach others and this knowledge is something which the students will also benefit from when they join the business community”. 

Mentor coordinators and other helpers 

All mentors are affiliated with a mentor coordinator at their own study programme (the coordinators are teachers or student counsellors), and during the mentor programme they will gain an insight into what the student counsellors, the student chaplain and the psychologist can contribute with. 

In this way, they will get an overview of who they for example can go to, if they are in contact with a student who in some way is in need of help which goes deeper than what the mentors themselves are able to handle. 

Purpose 

The purpose of the mentor project is: 

  • To support the students to help them realise their academic and personal potential during their studies and their future careers 
  • To create a basis for an active course of studies for the individual student 
  • To encourage the students to share their knowledge across the class years 
  • To put focus on the school’s study environment and surround it with respect 
  • To ensure effective student counselling 
  • To strengthen the students’ affiliation with the school 
  • To retain more students on the individual study programme.