The Job of the Mentor
You have been selected by the department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at UMBC to serve as the language mentor to a cluster of undergraduate students, residing on the Intercultural Living Exchange floor in Harbor Hall. The clusters are grouped into one of five target languages (Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Japanese). Mentors will report directly to the Intercultural Living Exchange Coordinator and will be expected to assume the following responsibilities:
Mentors will develop and implement educational and cultural programs designed to improve language skills, promote an appreciation for values and traditions from diverse cultures, and an understanding of and competence for communication across cultures.
Mentors are expected to promote a feeling of community among the members of the language clusters by encouraging interaction with other members of the UMBC community (mentors and faculty especially) in an informal setting. As members of the campus residential community, mentors are expected to abide by Residence Hall and all UMBC rules as described in the Residential Life Policies and Procedures and the Code of Student Conduct.
Mentors will distribute materials to cluster participants, coordinate social/educational functions, and evaluate participants for assignment of P/F grade for the one-credit of independent study.
Mentors are expected to foster an environment in which students are encouraged to speak and feel comfortable speaking the target language on a regular basis as they are guided toward achieving a desired level of oral proficiency.
As you monitor the participants in your cluster please keep in mind that they have signed a commitment to uphold the expectations of the ILE by participating actively and regularly in the language activities and by attempting to speak the target language as much as possible. Your faculty liaison will be available to assist you should you have difficulty getting participants to fulfill these expectations.
Faculty liaisons for the various clusters are as follows:
French: Dr. Marie Deverneil
German: Dr. Brigitte May
Spanish: Dr. Robert Sloane
Japanese: Prof. Yasuko Nadayoshi -Walcott
Chinese: Dr. William Brown
Structure of the Program
Weekly Cluster Meetings
Cluster participants are required to meet with you on a regular basis- at least once per week- at a convenient time for you and the entire group. These meetings are to be devoted to language activities. Keep a weekly attendance log. Attendance at these gatherings is a critical factor in determining the P/F grade for the independent study credit as well as residency renewal for the next semester/ academic year. The following is a list of possible activities that you may want to plan with your cluster. Other activities should be cleared with the ILE coordinator. Possibilities include:
* Informal conversations during meals
* Informal oral presentations by residents, faculty or invited guests
* Tea and coffee hours
* Game nights
* Song fests/ Karaoke activities
* Cultural dancing
* Luncheons and dinners for guests who speak the target language
* Cluster mingles
* Culinary/ craft projects
* Theatrical presentations
* Literary readings
* Field trips
* Holiday celebrations
After each cluster meeting, please record the date and theme of the event in your Cluster Meeting Record Log. Weekly cluster meetings are not optional. ILE participants will sign up for a committee in the beginning of the semester in order to help organize activities in one of the following categories:
Each cluster is expected to sponsor at least one event per semester for the larger UMBC community. This specifically refers to events targeted to other UMBC students of the target language. Some examples may include inviting all students of the target language on a museum trip or to a cultural celebration.
In addition to language cluster events, ILE residents and their mentors are expected to coordinate one ILE event per semester. Students and mentors must help organize, set up, and attend these events. At least one of the ILE events should be open to and advertised in the broader UMBC community, perhaps including cultural exchanges with international students.
University Events and Programs
Mentors will encourage ILE participants to participate in the planning of intercultural events for the UMBC community at large, such as International Week or the International film series.
Mentor Meetings with the ILE Coordinator
Mentors are required to meet bi-weekly with the Intercultural Living Exchange Coordinator. Attendance is mandatory. These meetings serve as a vital link in the ILE floor communication. Mentors will assist the coordinator in planning floor events and report on the status of the respective cluster. Mentors may also schedule one-on-one appointments with the coordinator as necessary.
The link between the Intercultural Living Exchange Program and the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics is crucial to the success of the program. Mentors are expected to communicate regularly with the faculty liaison and to keep the liaison updated regarding the status of the cluster. Mentors should try to organize activities that foster interaction between the cluster and faculty of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics.
The Department of Residential Life and the Intercultural Living Exchange Director work hand in hand to ensure quality of the Intercultural Living Exchange Program for the residents who choose to live there. Mentors are expected to support this relationship as well.
As residents in an on-campus, undergraduate dormitory, mentors must abide by the rules of the residence hall and other guidelines as stated in the Residential Life Policies and Procedures. Mentors should also work together with the Resident Assistant and the Community Director to promote a strong sense of community and cooperation in the residence hall.
Although RAs are trained as conflict mediators and assist in resolving roommate and apartment-mate conflicts, the leadership position of the mentor establishes him or her as a role model for the ILE residents. Your duties are primarily linguistic and cultural. However, you are expected to lend assistance if you are called upon by the RA effort to resolve any problem that might occur in your cluster. Mentors are expected to use good judgment and to foster appropriate norms in their cluster.
Materials, Equipment, Resources
Each cluster will receive a semester allowance. The use of this allotment is up to your cluster as long as the money is used for selected language activities and programs. It is strongly recommended that you use the funds wisely (i.e., not for dining in restaurants or purchasing cleaning items). You may not purchase alcohol with the allowances. Please see the coordinator for information on how to best access these funds. PURCHASES MAY NOT EXCEED $50. You will not be reimbursed for purchases exceeding this amount. Purchases may be made and reimbursed for events providing that you have a food waiver in advance. Please notify the coordinator two weeks in advance in order to secure a food waiver for the event and to provide you with the necessary funds for your purchase.
Participants in the Intercultural Living Exchange have top priority to the multi-purpose room of Harbor Hall. Please see the coordinator for reservations of the multi-purpose room.
The coordinator will be responsible for publicizing the events of the ILE. You may prepare your own material to have distributed (flyers, etc) and have it copied and distributed by the coordinator, or you may have the coordinator design the publicity materials for you.
The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics will provide secure storage for files and equipment for the mentors.
Participation in Additional Clusters
Occasionally, an ILE resident will participate in cluster activities for more than her or his assigned cluster. The two-cluster resident is welcome to participate in activities for the second target language but will be graded only according to participation in cluster activities for the declared target language. Interest in other cultures and languages in addition to that of the target language is encouraged and it is expected that mentors accept and support members of other language clusters showing interest in their language cluster.
The residents in the ILE will be renewed for the spring semester pending a grade of P for the fall semester. Failure to live up to the expectations of the program is grounds for a grade of F as well as dismissal from the program. In this case, the Director, the Faculty Liaison and the Mentor will engage in a discussion with the student participant in deciding whether renewal for the spring semester is an option. All students must re-apply for the new academic year. Renewal will be influenced by participation the previous academic year but will not be guaranteed.
As a mentor, you must recognize that in fairness to student residents and in order to effectively fulfill the responsibilities of your university position, it is imperative that you maintain a professional separation between your personal activities and the private lives of the students you supervise. Your effectiveness rests upon these students’ perception of your fairness and judgment. When a mentor blends her/his official relationship with a personal relationship with one or all of the cluster members under her/his charge, the desired effectiveness is greatly compromised.
Please remember that the participants have chosen to participate because we have promised an immersion environment to enhance their language skills. Please try to facilitate this as much as possible.
Guidelines for Mentors of the Intercultural Living Exchange
* Speak the Target Language as much as possible.
* Share your culture with your cluster as well as members of other language clusters.
* Follow Residential Life regulations.
* Work closely with the ILE Coordinator, your Faculty Liaison, and the Program Director.
* Promote student-faculty interaction.
* Hold high standards for your residents and yourself.
* Create a safe and welcome environment in which all participants will Feel comfortable to practice and make mistakes without being judged.
* Plan ahead.
* Be creative.
* Motivate your students.
* Have fun!
Intercultural Living Exchange
Mentor Statement of Commitment
I understand all of the duties and obligations that this position entails. I pledge myself to work in harmony with my language cluster to the fullest extent. As an employee of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, I am also aware that if I fail to execute any of these responsibilities in an acceptable manner, this position can be terminated at any time during the academic year.