Student studying. Credit: Shae Ashamalla / Mustang News

The Advanced Inclusive Mentoring Program (AIM) will be piloted during the first three weeks of the Summer I session – Monday, June 26 to Friday, July 14 — to provide engaging faculty training resources to promote student success through positive and inclusive mentoring.

The training is free and will be open to faculty, staff, post-doctorates and graduate students who mentor students participating in research, scholarly and creative activities. 

“There are a ton of different ways to mentor and a ton of great ways to mentor and participating in AIM is an opportunity to reflect on what your current mentoring practice is, especially with a focus on inclusion and equity, if there are any areas where you want to build some additional capacity, change a process or make something more transparent,” Director of the Office of Student Research and liberal arts professor Jane Lehr said. 

Student involvement in high-impact practices such as research, scholarly and creative activities can boost student success – particularly when associated with strong mentorship. Learning the best practices for mentoring is a critical component of facilitating student success, according to the sign-up form website

The hybrid program will consist of 35 short videos across six learning modules and accompanied by six synchronous zoom-based discussions, designed to “build and strengthen a community of practice around mentoring at Cal Poly,” the website states.

The program is designed to run like a “book club” where participants work on online material independently through an asynchronous learning format and then meet on Zoom for a 50-minute discussion about each module.  

Those interested in signing up must be able to participate in at least four of the six discussion meeting times, which are shown on the sign up form website.

AIM was a program developed at Cal State Long Beach and has since been packaged and shared with other California State University campuses.

“What makes AIM different from other mentoring programs is because the program was made by and for the Cal State system, which is predominantly undergraduate and some master’s students; it doesn’t assume the mentor training is for PhD and R1 students,” Lehr said. 

Participants who meet the requirements stated in the CTLT Stipend Eligibility Policies are eligible to receive a $300 stipend for completing the program. 

Those who receive a stipend will be expected to produce and share an artifact of their participation, such as an updated or annotated policy or practice by July 28. Participants who don’t receive a stipend have the option to participate in this assignment. 

Those who aren’t available to participate during the current program dates, but are interested in being notified for future program offers are still encouraged to fill out the form. 

Lehr, Program Director of the Empowering Autistic Scholars program Luna Larson and Associate Dean of College of Engineering Bridget Benson have participated in a ‘train the trainer session’ to learn how to facilitate the conversations while running the program this summer. 

“So far only three of us at Cal Poly have really engaged with it [AIM] and we’re super eager to learn from the participants this summer about what they think and what we might need to adjust for Cal Poly context,” Lehr said.

The program is co-led by the Office of Student Research, The Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT), College of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURPs) and the Empowering Autistic Scholar Program.

“We’re really eager for people to share what’s currently working in their research groups or labs because there’re so many great examples of really thoughtful mentorship happening here and we don’t talk about our particular approaches, even in our departments,” Lehr said. “So the opportunity to talk across apartments and colleges and see what works in some other spaces can give us more resources in addition to what AIM is providing.” 

Those interested in participating are asked to fill out the online form by June 16.