Mentoring Programme

This programme aims to forge ties between current students at ESCI-UPF and new students who have just arrived at the school to study for a bachelor’s degree. It offers new students from a wide range of backgrounds additional support with settling in and getting their bearings in their new university surroundings. The programme is also available to higher-year students with special needs and any other students who request it.

By giving current students the chance to volunteer as mentors, the programme also offers them a valuable opportunity to engage with an enriching variety of students while acting as a guide, strengthening bonds with students from other years and honing their personal skill set.

As they arrive for their first year at ESCI-UPF, every new student is randomly matched with a higher-year student studying for the same degree to act as their mentor: helping them settle in, answering any queries they might have and offering them insight and advice on classes, university life and life in Barcelona. Rooted in cooperative peer learning, each mentor–mentee pairing is composed of a higher-year student who has volunteered to serve as a mentor and a new first-year student (or occasionally an existing student who has asked to be matched with a mentor). Their collaborative effort aims to strengthen ties between students in general and between different year groups in particular, encourage greater communication, bolster students’ sense of belonging and encourage them to make the most of the range of university services available to them.

Information for Mentors

Who can become a Mentor?

Students in their 2nd or 3rd year of a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioinformatics or in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Marketing.

Profile of Volunteers

Prospective mentors should have the following skills:

  • Proactive approach.
  • Keen interest in helping students settle in and in strengthening ties within the ESCI-UPF community.
  • Assertiveness and ability to empathise.
  • Good oral competence.
  • Discretion.
  • Solid understanding of how the school works and the range of services it offers and a good command of the resources required to find this information.
Goals of the Programme
  • Help new students settle in and play an active role at the school.
  • Strengthen bonds between students.
  • Empower students.
  • Improve crosscutting communicative and social competences.
  • Raise students’ awareness of the range of services available to them.
Mentors' Role
  • Support and guide new students during their first term, and possibly for the remainder of the academic year, by giving them tips based on their own experience as first-year students, answering any queries they have about university formalities, offering them advice on how to pick subjects and think about which areas they might want to specialise in, recommending study techniques and work habits and offering them their own personal support to deal with the common causes of anxiety during their first year at university.
  • Inform their mentees about the range of services on offer from both ESCI-UPF and UPF.
  • Answer any queries their mentees might have and guide them towards the appropriate service, department or website where they can find the relevant information.
  • Forge a proactive relationship with their mentee.
  • Provide information on the range of technological and teaching tools available, including their purpose and how they work (SIGMA, Aul@ESCI, etc.)
  • Create an environment for dialogue and learning between mentor and mentee that goes beyond the mere transfer of information to become a space for mutual growth.
  • Contact the programme coordinator if any issues arise which the mentor is unable to deal with personally.
  • Provide feedback to the programme coordinator to help identify common questions among mentees, pass on any problems they have had as mentors, put forward any suggested improvements, etc.
  • Coach students on how to approach their course by stressing the increased demands of a degree course compared with their previous learning experiences at school and college.

Information for Mentees

Who can be a Mentee?

On enrolment day, all new bachelor’s degree students at ESCI-UPF will be given the name and contact details of the volunteer they have been matched with to act as their mentor

Higher-year students who wish to be matched with a mentor may request to join the programme by applying to the annual call for volunteers at the end of the third term or by contacting the Inclusion Office

Mentees Rights
  • Mentees can expect to receive personalised support to help them settle in at the school and find their feet in the university environment, together with full information on the range of services and resources available to them.
  • Mentees can expect any queries, questions and personal details they share with their mentor to remain strictly confidential.
  • Mentees may request to be matched with an alternative mentor if they feel mismatched.
  • Mentees can expect to receive answers and solutions to their questions and queries in good time, while understanding that some questions may take longer to answer than others.
Mentees Responsibilities
  • Mentees should keep all matters discussed at their meetings with their mentor strictly confidential.
  • Mentees should sign the Mentoring Agreement at the start of the programme and the mentoring record every time they attend a meeting or activity.
  • Mentees should inform the programme coordinator of any incidents that occur over the course of their mentoring period.

Calendar of Activities

July
  • Campaign launched to call for students to volunteer as mentors.
  • Students sign up to volunteer as mentors.
  • Mentors receive training on the programme led by the programme coordinator.
September
  • All new students are given the name and contact details of the mentor they have been matched with.
  • All mentors are given the name and contact details of the mentee they have been matched with.
  • Welcome session.
  • First meeting between mentors and mentees (ideally in person).
  • Start-of-term meetings to cover relevant issues at this point of the year.
  • Volunteers are free to decide on the form their mentoring relationship will take and which actions to carry out, while ensuring that they cover all areas of interest to their mentee. This information will be shared with all volunteers at the start of term.
October
  • Informative talk for volunteers. Open to the whole university community.
  • Monitoring of mentees.
  • Mentoring Agreement signed and submitted to the programme coordinator.
November
  • Informative talk for volunteers. Open to the whole university community.
  • Monitoring of mentees.
December
  • End of term.
  • End of mentoring period for volunteers who do not wish to continue to serve as mentors past this point.
  • Volunteers who wish to do so may continue to serve as mentors and thereby receive course credits in recognition of this extracurricular activity.
  • Feedback to the programme coordinator.

The mentoring programme will continue over subsequent terms with talks and monitoring activities, including a termly meeting with the programme coordinator. A final meeting at the end of the academic year will serve to assess results and gather suggestions for improvement.

Mentoring

All volunteer mentors may call upon the programme coordinator at any time for support and help in solving problems, as well as to pass on details of any incidents that have arisen.

The only formalities that mentors are required to follow are to submit the signed Mentoring Agreement, to complete the test or task to check they have attended the training activities and to keep a signed record of their meetings with their mentee. These documents will be required if mentors want to earn course credits for this extracurricular activity. This option is only available to volunteers who commit to carrying out the role of mentor for the whole academic year and thereby put in the necessary hours to earn ECTS credits. Further information is given in the section on Course Credit Recognition.

Students who only volunteer as a mentor for the first term are not required to prepare a report but will be called to attend a face-to-face or online meeting at the end of the first term to give their feedback on their experience and make any suggestions to improve the programme.

Mentoring Documents

Mentoring Agreement

All mentor–mentee pairings should sign a Mentoring Agreement, in which they agree to keep all matters discussed between them strictly confidential and to ensure that their mentoring relationship makes a positive contribution to the school’s social environment. Mentors should submit the signed agreement to the programme coordinator during the first weeks of the first term.

Mentoring Record

If both mentor and mentee mutually agree to continue their mentoring relationship for the remainder of the academic year, they should keep a signed record of their meetings, including a summary of the matters discussed at each one, as well as the hours spent at any training or monitoring activities.

By agreeing to continue their mentoring relationship, mentors agree to the following points:

  • They should inform the programme coordinator of their intention to continue their mentoring relationship for the remainder of the academic year in good time (before the end of first-term classes).
  • They should complete and sign a series of documents and keep a signed record of their meetings and any activities attended. They will need these documents to earn course credits for their extracurricular activity.
  • They should attend a series of group training sessions over the course of the academic year. Details of these training sessions will be posted on the Google Classroom set up for this purpose. These sessions will require participants to do a test or task to check that they have assimilated the information provided at the sessions. This test or task will not be graded but will be marked Pass/Fail.

The contents and details of the various phases of the programme will be explained at the first training session for volunteers and will be set out in full in the documents posted on the Google Classroom set up for this purpose and accessible by all mentors.

Course Credit Recognition

By volunteering as a mentor, you can earn course credits for extracurricular activity from UPF (maximum 1 ECTS credit per academic year). To do so, you need to show that you have carried out a minimum number of activities throughout the academic year:

  • Attend the initial training session for volunteers in July.
  • Attend at least 6 hours of the training sessions held over the course of the academic year and show that you have assimilated the information provided at the sessions by taking a short test or completing a task worked on at a session, which will not be graded but will be marked as Pass/Fail.
  • Carry out activities to help mentees settle in and play an active role in university life at the start of term and at any other time they ask for help or further action, and offer prove of this by submitting the duly signed mentoring record.

The following table shows the time to be devoted to each activity over the three terms, giving a total of 25 hours over the course of the academic year.

Initial training session 1 h
Attendance at scheduled meetings with mentee At least 12 h
Participation in training activities At least 6 h
Termly meeting with the programme coordinator 3 h
Preparing documents 1 h
End-of-year feedback meeting with mentors 1 h

Mentoring Programme FAQs

Are all students required to take part in the mentoring programme?

No, it is a voluntary programme. Its purpose is to help new students settle in and find their feet as they begin a bachelor’s degree at ESCI-UPF. It is also open to any higher-year students who would like to be matched with a mentor.

How long do volunteers have to serve as mentors?

Volunteers should serve as mentors for at least the first term. However, mentors and mentees may mutually agree to continue their mentoring relationship for the remainder of the academic year. In this case, mentors should attend a series of monitoring activities over the course of the academic year.

Who can become a mentor?

Students in their 2nd or 3rd year of a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioinformatics or in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Marketing with a keen interest in playing an active role in welcoming new students to the school and getting to know it better themselves.

When can I sign up?

The annual call for volunteers opens at the end of the third term (in June or July).

Can I earn course credits by volunteering as a mentor?

No course credits are awarded for the initial mentoring period (first term).

Mentors may earn course credits if both mentor and mentee mutually agree to continue their mentoring relationship for the remainder of the academic year. Mentors should communicate this decision to the programme coordinator before the end of first-term classes and will be required to undertake a series of additional obligations over the course of the academic year.

Can I earn course credits by doing activities over the course of two different academic years?

No. Course credits may only be earned by completing the initial mentoring period (first term), followed by attending a series of training sessions and keeping a signed record of the meetings you hold with your mentee over the course of the same academic year.

How can higher-year students request to be matched with a mentor?

The mentoring programme is open to any higher-year students who would like to be matched with a mentor to offer them support during their time at the school. Simply sign up when the call for volunteers opens at the end of the third term (in June or July) or contact the Inclusion Office.

What does a mentor have to do?
  • Welcome new students to the school.
  • Offer support to new students during their first term or to any higher-year students who have asked to be matched with a mentor.

Mentors who decide to continue their mentoring relationship for the remainder of the academic year are required to attend group training sessions and keep a signed record of their meetings with their mentee.

How is the programme monitored and assessed?

The programme coordinator monitors mentors’ and mentees’ engagement with the programme over the course of the academic year.

Mentors will be required to show that they have assimilated the information provided at the sessions by taking a short test or completing a task worked on at a session, which will help them earn course credits for extracurricular activity.

Mentors are not required to prepare a report but should keep a signed record of their regular meetings with their mentee. At the end of the year, you should give feedback to the programme coordinator on your experience of the programme in general, including any specific problems that arose and any suggested improvements.

How do new students benefit from having a mentor?

At the start of term you will be randomly matched with a higher-year student studying for the same degree as you who has volunteered to act a mentor. Your mentor will be able to draw on their own experience to help you settle in, learn the ropes, offer you advice and assistance and answer any questions or queries you might prefer not to put to members of staff at the university.

Your mentor will email you to welcome you to the school and will be on hand throughout your first term at face-to-face or online meetings to offer you support, answer your questions or queries, make sure you know about the resources available to you and fill you in on academic and day-to-day life at ESCI-UPF.

What happens if I don’t want to continue as a mentor or mentee?

The mentoring relationship can come to an end in several ways:

  • Naturally at the end of the first term, which marks the end of the initial phase to welcome new students to the school.
  • At any time, at the express wish of either the mentor or the mentee (this does not need to be a mutual decision).
  • If the programme coordinator deems that the mentor is not complying with their obligations, either by neglecting their meetings with their mentee or by failing to do the required tasks, in which case they will not be eligible for any course credits for this extracurricular activity.
  • If compatibility issues arise or if the mentor no longer possesses the skills required to carry out the tasks expected of them.

Coordinator

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