From the moment a student decides to attend BYU-Idaho, they are assigned mentors and given support tools to help them succeed and persist to graduation. BYU-Idaho is a special place where both faculty in the classroom and employees in the student workplace mentor students. Every employee is a mentor.
To improve mentoring on campus, the Student Success Council created the I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard. Now that the Advising Center has used the tool for the past few years, faculty and student employee supervisors are invited to log on and use it as well.
The I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard allows faculty to gauge how students perform in their classes based on their cumulative GPA, grad-plan status, at-risk tiers, GPA trends, advising, and class history. Watch this informational video describing the dashboard explaining in detail how to navigate the program.
Academic Advising Director Sam Brubaker says that as advisors have used the dashboard, his team has discovered its potential for student success grows when others are involved.
“Originally, this was created to help advisors work with students, but as we’ve continued to see a greater need of departments collaborating together, in a web of connected mentorship with students, that’s when this tool was expanded to not just be advising specific, but for anybody in a mentoring function,” Brubaker said.
John Fisher, associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, corroborates Brubaker’s sentiment. As a faculty member that teaches both on campus and online, Fisher expressed the importance of using this unique tool to help his students succeed in his classes.
“The biggest benefit that I’ve seen on the mentoring dashboard is my ability to catch those struggling students sooner, rather than later, and try to intervene by meeting with them or providing additional resources for them, whatever their needs may be,” Fisher said.
The I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard allows faculty members to see trends in their students’ academic achievement from past semesters. Fisher says this can be extremely helpful in knowing what students he should focus more attention on in his classes.
The dashboard also aids faculty in situations where multiple mentors work with an individual student. Faculty and advisors can see what outreach has already taken place to help a student in the past to better understand the individual’s situation.
“What this tool does, is it allows conversation in a mentoring relationship to be passed between one faculty member or advisor or other departments. There is just greater continuity in the care for a student to better be aware of their unique situation and needs based on past conversations,” Brubaker said.
The tool is especially helpful in showing which students need extra attention and help, but to learn about mentoring principles that will assist you in becoming a better mentor, visit byui.edu/mentoring. The website includes answers to questions such as: Who can I mentor? How do I mentor? And who else can help my students in an emergency situation?
“This website gives a lot of context to the I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard tool and how to mentor,” Brubaker said. “I think the focus is on the tool as a way to help, but the mentoring website is kind of the instruction manual on how to engage in mentoring.”
Fisher says using the I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard has changed the way he teaches and mentors his students.
“The tool has literally become part of who I am as a faculty member, because it allows me to reach students better,” Fisher said. “And I would just encourage everyone to use it more.”
There are a variety of reasons why a student may be struggling in classes, including disabilities, mental health, working too much, or having difficulty with financial obligations. By visiting the BYU-Idaho mentoring website, faculty will find guidance on how to help address a variety of these scenarios that may cause students to fall behind.
Fisher expressed how much students appreciate when their teachers reach out to them to mentor and help them.
“I get a lot of emails back from students saying things like, ‘thank you for caring,’ or ‘I didn’t even know that anyone was watching or aware of me.’ ‘I really needed this.’ ‘I’ve really been going through a hard time,’ and on and on. Anyway, it has allowed me to extend assignments, reach out more often, and meet with students one on one to help resolve some of the roadblocks that they are facing,” Fisher said.
All full-time employees can access and explore the I-Plan Mentoring Dashboard found at www.byui.edu/mentoring.
As with any university system containing protected student data, use of this tool requires compliance with FERPA; users may only access records when there is a legitimate “business need to know.”