WVU-P offering student mentor program

PARKERSBURG – Struggling students at West Virginia University at Parkersburg no longer need to figure out how college works by themselves thanks to a new mentoring program in place this fall to increase student success.

The Riverhawks Mentorship Program, as it is being called, is an opportunity for students to learn the skills necessary for the college world from teachers at the university, said Katie Wootton, director of marketing and communications at WVU-P.

The program is led by Christine Guns, coordinator of developmental education at WVU-P, Wootton said.

“Our ultimate goal is to increase completion rates for new students as well as those considered to be at risk,” Guns said. “Eventually, I would love to see all new students participate in the program,” she said.

The program has over 200 participants for the fall semester, who will be split between 20 staff members at WVU-P, Wootton said.

A test-run of the Riverhawks Mentorship Program began over the summer with 11 students who were already enrolled in Striving Toward Expectations and Program Success, also known as English 91, Wootton said.

Each student was provided with a campus mentor to meet with throughout the semester and discuss topics including time management, attendance, note taking, prioritization and workload management, Wootton said.

Students participated in instructional workshops throughout the program, Wootton said. These workshops taught strategies for dealing with college classes and provided students with practical items such as pens, highlighters and note cards, Wootton said.

The original run of the mentorship program was over at the end of July, and the students celebrated the program’s completion with a luncheon and an awards ceremony, Wootton said.

Jessica Woolum participated in the program over the summer at WVU-P, Wootton said.

“I loved this program and hope it continues on throughout the years,” Woolum said. “It’s like I have two advisers because my mentor helped me with everything from scheduling to financial aid,” she said.

Lisa Kelley was happy the program was available to her, and found the information helpful.

“Coming back to school after 24 years after high school graduation was a bit overwhelming to say the least,” Kelley said. “This program helped me out a lot,” she said.