Augusta University introduces student mentorship program

Augusta University
Augusta University(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 11:45 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University has announced a new initiative to begin this fall, Jags4Jags Mentoring Program.

The Jags4Jags Mentoring Program enhances the new student experience by linking first-year students one-on-one with a peer mentor. Students are paired with someone invested in their success. A person ready to listen, inspire, help navigate challenges and recognize opportunities.

Students will learn what to expect in school, how to approach challenges, and gain career advice and valuable insights, while mentors will build their networks and develop skills to become better professionals and leaders.

The new program was introduced by Amy Abdulovic-Cui, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics.

Abdulovic-Cui is one of the first two Provost Faculty Fellows at Augusta University, and the new program is part of her fellowship.

“When I was named one of the inaugural Provost Faculty Fellows, we were given a list of areas Augusta University wants to focus on for helping achieve our aspirational imperatives, and student retention stood out to me because there is lots of research and literature out there about how peer-to-peer mentorship programs help with retention and help students succeed,” Abdulovic-Cui says.

According to Abdulovic-Cui, research shows that when a student has between three and five interactions in any given month with a peer-to-peer mentor, they are more likely to succeed academically and stay enrolled.

In today’s world where technology gives people easier access to communicate, those interactions don’t have to be limited to in-person and can extend to a text, phone call, Teams or Slack chat, or any other number of communication channels.

“When first-year students step on campus and are already paired with a mentor who has been through what they are experiencing, they have a connection that forms a strong bond, a relationship, and that helps with self-worth and that can help students be more successful,” she says.

One area where students tend to struggle is knowing what resources are available to them. Resources like scholarships and other forms of financial aid, support services like success and writing centers, and organizations for both personal and professional development can sometimes seem out of reach to students who might feel overwhelmed.

Having a peer-to-peer mentor who knows how to navigate the college landscape better can help a first-year student tremendously, organizers said.

Jags4Jags will mark the first time all the different mentorship programs will be under one banner. It’s a way of not only offering new mentorship opportunities for students who want a mentor and those looking to become mentors, but it’s also a way to streamline current mentorship programs.

“I am excited about what this new mentorship program will offer, not only to first-year students who will benefit from having a mentor but also for our older students who will find value in the training they will receive and the experiences they will share with first-year students,” said Neil J. MacKinnon, Ph.D., executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This program will enhance the entire student experience here at Augusta University by instilling more of a sense of community and family, and that in turn will help with retention as we aim to strengthen our student population through retention.”