An example of evaluated HE outreach mentoring scheme in US high schools
Posted in Views by Katherine Lawrence
The US has 4 million military-connected students and HEIs increasing recognise the benefits of supporting this cohort. I came across an interesting evaluation of a university mentoring scheme which was evaluated over 3 years, each evaluation results feeding into alterations to the programme to be evaluated the following year. Interestingly, it focuses on evaluating the impact on the university students on the premise that changing the perception and understanding of these students about the target group of mentees will have a long term impact on society. As the detailed project report concluded:
As more higher education institutes recognize military students as an underserved diversity group that should be supported, this program could spread to many more schools in the region, and could also serve as a model for hundreds and thousands of colleges and universities across the nation who could leverage student volunteers to provide support to diversity groups in the community and especially to schools with military-connected students. Furthermore, this program is an example of a university-based program that helps educate students about military students. This education may have a long term impact on these students. Some of them will become professionals who will understand better military students, and others will be citizens with an appreciation and understanding of the challenges faced by military families, the sacrifices they make, and their contribution to our society. (Benbenishty et al. 2014)
The research team's peer-reviewed article demonstrated the value both to the young people students worked with, but also to the students' appreciation of the context for military families. Interestingly the team decided, based on the first year's evaluation, to switch from a dedicated strand of the mentoring programme being only for military-connected students, to including these students across the University's full mentoring programme, with a module for all mentors about the context for military families, in order to spread awareness.