The $10,800 grant, provided by the ECMC Foundation, will fund a new Linfield mentoring program. The ECMC Foundation granted more than $76,000 to the Oregon Independent College Foundation for a series of peer mentoring projects on nine OICF-member college campuses, of which Linfield is one.
The projects are meant to increase retention among students from underrepresented populations, including students of color and those who are the first in their family to attend college. The programs match older students with first-year students to help these new students connect with the campus and build friendships. Research suggests that peer mentoring can be an effective method to increase student retention between the first and second year.
Linfield's program, as yet unnamed, features six student mentors who work with groups of six to eight first-year students, using a program called StrengthsQuest to identify and more fully understand personal strengths as they pursue their education. The program also includes weekly meetings and organized events that bring all mentors and mentees together.
The grant provides an opportunity to build upon existing relationships at Linfield, according to Preston.
"The new mentoring program will team new students with continuing students who have been successful," Preston said. "The mentees will have frequent, one-to-one contacts with their mentor that will provide support and encouragement in ways that we hope will foster student success."