As a comprehensive, full service university, Purdue Calumet takes great pride in offering a vast array of support services designed to help students overcome challenges in their quest to earn a Purdue degree.
While we are proud of the services we offer and remain ever open to new ones we can introduce to promote student success, there is one valuable service we do not provide. Actually, it is not that we do not provide it—it is there, all right. It is just that to get the most from it, students need to find it on their own.
I am referring to the support of a mentor—someone who can identify with the difficulties our students experience; someone who has been there, done that; someone who can offer an encouraging word, some valuable advice, an idea to pursue, career contacts to explore or perhaps some tough love. Mentors can be faculty or staff members, alumni or community partners.
One of the qualities of this university I have come to admire and appreciate since arriving here last summer is that our faculty members are deeply committed to their students. Their office doors are open. They willingly work with our students, frequently through the complexities of busy, complicated lives. They understand that pursuing a university education, as important as that is, is not the only significant priority of our students.
Most of us who have journeyed down a success track can identify someone who was there for us, someone we could turn to with difficult questions, someone who could help us focus more clearly on goals and aspirations, someone eager and willing to share their insider perspective with us, complete with what it takes to get there.
An effective education produces valuable learning—from classes, labs and experiences. But relationships also can fuel valuable learning, and, from my perspective, there’s no more valuable learning relationship than that between a student and mentor.
Thomas L. Keon,