An award-winning program supporting academic mentoring by students for students has celebrated 10 years of commitment to the RMIT community.
The Student Learning Advisor Mentors (SLAMs) program provides academic peer-to-peer mentoring for more than 64 business courses in the College of Business.
Lila Kemlo, Manager, Student Learning Support, said: “SLAMs is a quality support program, valued by both academic teaching staff and the student community.
“This unique model of academic peer assistance provides an example of best practice in the provision of student support.“
SLAMs commenced in 2005 with 112 mentors supporting 380 students with their academic learning across 8 core business courses.
Ten years later, SLAMs has more than 200 volunteer mentors and each semester the program supports more than 2,500 students across 64 courses in Melbourne.
To date, more than 11,000 students have benefitted from the SLAMs program.
In 2009, the mentoring program was launched at the RMIT University Vietnam campus in Ho Chi Minh City before expanding to the Hanoi campus in 2011.
“Ten years of evidence indicates that this form of mentoring actively integrates international and local students in a common cause – assisting students in learning how to learn,“ Ms Kemlo said.
“As a result of this program, mentors and mentees have an enhanced engagement with the university community and increased motivation and desire to succeed with their academic programs.“
SLAMs received RMIT Teaching and Research Awards in 2009 and 2012.
In 2013, the program was awarded an Australian Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for developing an inclusive and sustainable peer mentoring program for a diverse student cohort that improves the student experience.
In addition to the mentor roles, a number of SLAMs are recruited each semester to become student advisers in the Student Success and Retention Program, also managed by Ms Kemlo.
This call centre style operation sees mentors phoning students who have been identified as “at risk“’ or “potentially at risk“ of academic failure and engaging them in conversations that lead to changed learning behaviours or referrals to appropriate services for support.
“The effect of this early intervention program has already had significant effects on both pass and retention rates,“ Ms Kemlo said.