Students Together Empowering Peers (STEP), formerly known as PUEDE, is one of the most highly efficient mentoring programs offered at the University of Redlands. The mission of the STEP program is to provide resources and support for first semester, first generation college students in order to ease their transition into higher education.
Since its inception in 2003, over 300 students have benefitted from both the formal and informal mentoring offered by the STEP program.
Returning students participate in a rigorous training during the spring in order to practice the skills necessary for being an effective mentor. Additionally, these future mentors create a schedule in which they will enact in the fall for the first-year students. Each participating first-year student is matched up with a mentor based on academic interests and character.
For the 2010-2011 year, we had our highest number of participants, with 48 mentees (first-year students) and 24 mentors. The mentors were teamed up to create sessions that included information on how to get involved, academic advising, cultural discussions, scholarship opportunities and more that were presented on a weekly basis. The formal aspect of each session lasted approximately an hour and a half, followed by direct mentoring for the last half hour.
The success of this program is not solely dependent upon the weekly sessions but relies heavily upon out of the classroom experiences such as informal outings with mentors as well as weekend trips planned by the students. In this manner, we empower the students by giving them the autonomy to create sessions that will further their experiential learning.
For more information on this program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.