Location

Green and Gold Room

Event Website

http://uenr.warnercnr.colostate.edu

Start Date

23-3-2012 3:35 PM

End Date

23-3-2012 3:55 PM

Description

Student-professional mentoring programs provide an experiential learning opportunity capable of broadening the intellectual content of instruction by integrating theory and practice, increasing student motivation through applied knowledge, and encouraging students to develop their skills as independent scholars (Millenbah and Millspaugh 2003). In the spring of 2008, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State University offered a new course at the request of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks entitled “Applied Habitat Management” (WL400). This experiential learning course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop a wildlife habitat management plan in a small group setting for local landowners. The “Student To Empowered Professionals (STEP)” mentoring program was created to aid the instructor with the course as well as provide students with additional expertise and professional resources during the course of the semester. Unexpected benefits of the STEP program have included development of professional communication and social skills; increased exposure of students to various branches and professionals in the field of natural resources; opportunities for professional networking, exposure, and potential job placement; and opportunities for professionals to “give back to their profession” by mentoring a student. Limitations of the program based on surveys of both students and professional mentors have indicated that students need an incentive to make the program work, geographic distance between mentors and students can be problematic, and initial administration of the program was time consuming for the instructor. However, 94% of students and 100% of mentors involved in the program would recommend keeping it as a tool in the classroom. Future goals for the program are to find ways (financial or otherwise) to encourage employers to grant employees “release time” for continued participation in the STEP program, re-evaluate which metrics to use to gauge the success of the STEP program in order to obtain future funding/publications, and explore ways to make it into a national program in the wildlife and fisheries sciences.

Comments

Citation: Rupp, Susan P. 2012. Students to Empowered Professionals (STEP) Mentoring Program: A Case Study. UENR 9th Biennial Conference. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Plenary/17/

 
Mar 23rd, 3:35 PM Mar 23rd, 3:55 PM

Students to Empowered Professionals (STEP) Mentoring Program: A Case Study

Green and Gold Room

Student-professional mentoring programs provide an experiential learning opportunity capable of broadening the intellectual content of instruction by integrating theory and practice, increasing student motivation through applied knowledge, and encouraging students to develop their skills as independent scholars (Millenbah and Millspaugh 2003). In the spring of 2008, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State University offered a new course at the request of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks entitled “Applied Habitat Management” (WL400). This experiential learning course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop a wildlife habitat management plan in a small group setting for local landowners. The “Student To Empowered Professionals (STEP)” mentoring program was created to aid the instructor with the course as well as provide students with additional expertise and professional resources during the course of the semester. Unexpected benefits of the STEP program have included development of professional communication and social skills; increased exposure of students to various branches and professionals in the field of natural resources; opportunities for professional networking, exposure, and potential job placement; and opportunities for professionals to “give back to their profession” by mentoring a student. Limitations of the program based on surveys of both students and professional mentors have indicated that students need an incentive to make the program work, geographic distance between mentors and students can be problematic, and initial administration of the program was time consuming for the instructor. However, 94% of students and 100% of mentors involved in the program would recommend keeping it as a tool in the classroom. Future goals for the program are to find ways (financial or otherwise) to encourage employers to grant employees “release time” for continued participation in the STEP program, re-evaluate which metrics to use to gauge the success of the STEP program in order to obtain future funding/publications, and explore ways to make it into a national program in the wildlife and fisheries sciences.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Plenary/17