University of Vermont

The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI)

Think College Vermont @UVM/CDCI Mentor Program

Think College Vermont is now hiring for the Fall 2014! Semester!

Are you looking for a career-building experience? Would you like to help make college a reality for Vermont students with intellectual disabilities? Think College Vermont @UVM/CDCI is looking to add 6-10 mentors to our stellar UVMentor team. We are offering $9 per hour for up to 15 hours per week during the semester. Please feel free to apply!

As indicated in our application, at least a two semester commitment is required in order to be considered for the position.

Applications must be submitted no later than 4:30pm on Friday, December 12, 2014, to be considered for the Spring 2015 semester team.

Student Mentors

Peer mentors are central to the program because they directly contribute to a fully inclusive experience at UVM. Mentors are peers that assist and guide a Think College student as they prepare for productive employment and independent living within the community. Mentors also provide support for successful inclusion in college classes and other campus activities.

Mentor and Student at the UVM Cyber Cafe, Vermont

UVMentor: Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions were adapted from materials developed by Think College Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston. Please feel free to visit their website.

Q. What is a UVMentor?
Student and Mentor pose at the UVM etiquette banquet table A. A UVMentor is a person who works to “even the playing fieldâ€￾ for students with disabilities in postsecondary education. A mentor is someone who knows the student’s strengths and weaknesses and uses that information to provide individualized support in an academic environment. During class they may accompany the student to provide cues about expected behavior as well as interpret instructions and materials in a way that the student can understand. Furthermore, the mentor may teach the student to communicate his or her own needs to the school (i.e., instructors, tutors, peers, the disabilities services office/ACCESS, student advisor, etc.).

Q. What should a college instructor do differently for a student with a UVMentor?
A. Nothing. Ideally, the instructor should have the same expectations for all the students in the class, including students who have UVMentors. It is advisable for the instructor to have clearly defined expectations for academics, classroom behavior, etc. The instructor should also let every student know what those expectations are from the onset of class. All students should be held to the same standards.

Q. Should the instructor direct questions to the UVMentor?
A. No. The instructor should direct all questions and communication to the student.

Q. Will the mentor give the answers to the student on tests?
A. No, never. The goal of the mentor is to teach the individual strategies to become a successful college student and then fade from the picture. The mentor may teach the student how to prepare for tests and how to take them. However, the mentor will never give the student answers to test questions or do the work for the student.

Q. What happens if the UVMentor is unexpectedly absent one day?
A. A plan should be developed at the start of the semester outlining steps to be taken should the mentor not be able to attend on a given day. The people who should participate in the development of such a plan include the student, his/her family, the program manager, the instructor, and ACCESS.

Q. Is a UVMentor a tutor?
A. A UVMentor may at times provide some of the same services as a tutor, yet they are different. A major difference between a tutor and a UVMentor is that a mentor typically attends class with the student. A mentor does not simply help the student with the course material after class, but coaches the individual in how to be a successful student. This may include recognizing social cues within the classroom, learning how to use a textbook, learning how to respond to instruction, etc. Additionally, a UVMentor may help a student access tutoring services; use the writing or math labs, and other resources.

Q. Who pays for UVMentors? Does the college pay?
A. Currently, the program's grant funding pays a UVMentor's hourly wage. They are privately contracted under the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. The college does not pay for the UVMentors.

Student out of focus in the foreground with mentor in focus and smiling in the background

Q. Will the mentor attend all classes? For the whole semester?
A. Ideally, the goal of the mentor is to fade from course participation as the student develops skills and becomes more independent. When this happens, will depend on the individual needs of the student. The student will also be encouraged to use natural supports. Natural supports are people and supports that individuals naturally use when they need help rather then using paid assistance. For instance a UVMentor may help a student utilize a study group (which would be a natural support). Another example is if the mentor helps the student make friends with a note-taker so the two could discuss course material informally.

Q. Does ACCESS need to know if there is a UVMentor?
A. The disabilities services office prefers to know, so that they can better coordinate services. UVMentors will also likely attend the student's appointments with their ACCESS specialist to coach them on communicating their academic needs.

Q. What should I do if the UVMentor is not effectively supporting the student or if the student is not effectively utilizing the UVMentor?
A. It works best when there is open communication between the student, the family, the instructor, the UVMentor and the program manager. Additionally, the program manager will occasionally supervise the UVMentors. The program manager will also continuously monitor mentor updates and student reflections. As a team, we should determine if the mentor and student should continue to work together.

Q. What services does the college offer to students with disabilities?
A. Each college will offer a slightly different array of services. It is best for the student to meet with the staff at the disability services office (ACCESS @UVM) to discuss what specific services the college can offer. It is the student’s responsibility to disclose that s/he has a disability to ACCESS, offer documentation of that disability, and ask for accommodations. This all occurs within the first week or two of the semester; the student will meet with their assigned ACCESS specialist to determine their needs and put together a letter for their professor, which outlines potential accommodations.

Student Mentor and Student work on an iPad at UVM, Vermont

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Last modified November 25 2014 12:51 PM

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