Davis Educational Foundation Awards Student Mentorship Grant to Stonehill

August 3, 2015

In recognition of Stonehill’s track record in transformative education and its forward-looking ideas about how to help each student create a successful college and post-graduate blueprint, the College has been awarded a major grant to enhance its current mentorship and advisement outreach to students.

This September, the two-year, $233,800 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation will allow Stonehill to launch Think. Act. Lead: A Path to Each Student’s Story, an expanded college-wide integrated academic, professional, personal, and spiritual mentoring program.

 “As a relatively small college, we are already very student-centered. Thanks to the Davis grant, we can now refine and enhance our mentorship model, providing more one-on-one attention to individual students and going deeper in how we engage them with the range of faculty and staff expertise. Moreover, with Think. Act. Lead., we will be working with students from their first to their last day at Stonehill to make sure they are fully prepared for life and career after graduation,” explained Dean of Academic Achievement Craig Almeida who will co-lead the project with Dean of Students Kevin Piskadlo.

After four years of participating in Think. Act. Lead., each student will be able to answer the question, “Who am I and how have my experiences shaped the person I am today?” The program’s three stages are:

THINK: From the moment they arrive on campus, students will be engaged in thoughtful conversations. Faculty and staff will encourage them to explore who they are and to articulate their academic, professional, personal and spiritual goals. Students will be challenged and mentored on how to connect with peers, faculty and staff so that they can be more effective in taking the initiative in charting their own course in college and in life.

ACT: Students will plan their growth through a course of study and co-curricular experiences. This course of action will allow them to pursue evolving interests, reflect on them in a meaningful way, discuss them with others, and determine what experiences should be next.

Strategically constructed, the plan will contain required and desired courses, as well as co-curricular experiences integral to the student’s development. It will allow students to better understand and visualize the possibilities ahead and what they need to do in order to achieve their goals.

LEAD: Each student will acquire skills, qualifications, competencies, and confidence that will enable him/her to secure and assume positions of leadership.  Students who desire to hone their leadership abilities will have the opportunity to participate in a new leadership certification program that the College will be offering.

“A goal of Think. Act. Lead. is that each senior will be able to state what the appropriate next step is for him or her after graduation. The deliberate, evaluative, and strategic process a student uses to plan his or her academic and co-curricular path will be critical in preparing for life after Stonehill and will enhance the likelihood for success,” said Almeida.

The Path to Student Success

  • Davis funds will be used to train Stonehill staff involved in mentorship and to seek expertise and advice from outside experts. In addition to supporting a ramped-up mentorship program, the grant will help to enhance technology tools and resources to improve how faculty and staff communicate with, share information about, and support students in their progression through Think. Act. Lead.
  • Given the goal of being more proactive than reactive in assisting students, an early alert system is critical. This will allow mentors to communicate with each other and with departments when a student presents with particular needs, interests, or concerns.
  • The grant will help to enhance the existing interdisciplinary, student-centered Integrating Democratic Education at Stonehill (IDEAS) program. This enables students to become more active learners and leaders in their education by team-teaching courses in which they engage their peers in intellectual conversations on topics and ideas about which they are passionate.
  • A program assessment system will track and evaluate the progressive experiences of all students during their four years of undergraduate study. The methods will include student survey responses, focus groups, student portfolios, and grades to determine if they are meeting the established outcomes during the stages of Think. Act. Lead.

“Through a deepening of our mentorship program and this increased attention to student engagement and individual reflection, students will achieve their goals, from attending graduate school to obtaining satisfying jobs to finding opportunities to give back to our communities through volunteering. The list goes on and on because they will have the tools to Think. Act. Lead. in ways that are individually fulfilling,” said Piskadlo.

When designing Think. Act. Lead.: A Path to Each Student’s Story, the proposal team was guided by the College’s mission to educate “the whole person so that each Stonehill graduate thinks, acts, and leads with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world.”  To read the proposal that secured the Davis Educational Foundation grant, visit here.

The Davis Educational Foundation

The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc