Increase college student retention, achievement and engagement
What Is It?
Connected Scholars is a research-informed course designed to meet the needs of high schools, colleges, and universities interested in implementing a mentoring program for its students. Instead of matching students with assigned mentors, students are trained to understand the value of building their social capital and then, learn and practice networking and relationship-building skills to expand their social networks. The goal is for young adults to develop life-long skills that will benefit their academic, professional, and personal lives.
- Networking skills
- Identifying supportive adults within one’s network
- How to identify and recruit new mentors
- Developing and maintaining a relationship with mentors
- Beneﬁts of building social capital
- Identifying life goals and developing plans to achieve them
- Being an engaged and appreciative mentee
- Overcoming challenges to networking
- The value of building social capital to achieve life goals
- How to build their social support networks
- How to identify mentors from within their existing networks
- Help-recruiting and networking skills
- To develop relationships with potential mentors
Initial studies of the effectiveness of the Connected Scholars indicate that students:
- Build knowledge, skills, and feelings of self-eﬃcacy related to networking and connecting with mentors
- Increase students’ willingness to seek support from others
- Improve relationships with instructors and staﬀ on campus
- Increase their GPAs, especially for first generation college students
Who Wrote It?
Private: Dr. Janis Kupersmidt
Dr. Kupersmidt is the President and a Senior Research Scientist at innovation Research & Training (iRT). She is also a licensed clinical child psychologist focusing on delinquent, aggressive, and substance abusing youth. During her research career, she has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on approximately 50 grants or contract awards and has published over 80 papers, chapters, and books on the topics of aggression, delinquency, social information processing skills, peer relations, substance abuse, prevention, mentoring, mindfulness, media literacy education, and positive youth development. In addition, she has authored or co-authored many evidence-based prevention programs including the Aware, Connected Scholars, Media Detective, Media Ready, Media Aware, Preparing for Mentoring, and Buddy Builder programs. She has conducted numerous training workshops around the world and completed over 150 presentations at scientific conferences. She is the co-editor of a book, Childrenâs peer relations: From development to intervention, published by the American Psychological Association Press. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, and then, retired as an Associate Professor at UNC-CH to found iRT.
Private: Dr. Sarah Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Suffolk University. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a masterâs degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on prevention and intervention programs for children and adolescents, with a particular interest in youth mentoring. She has authored a number of publications, including studies on school-based mentoring as well as on youth-initiated mentoring, a new model of mentoring which empowers adolescents to recruit mentors from within their existing social networks.
Dr. Stella Kanchewa
Dr. Kanchewa is a clinical psychologist who completed her doctoral training in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University
of Massachusetts Boston. Her research focuses on risk and resiliency in adolescence, with a specific interest in youth mentoring/intergenerational relationships as a preventive intervention.
Private: Dr. Jean Rhodes
Dr. Rhodes is the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has devoted her career to understanding and advancing the role of intergenerational relationships in the intellectual, social, educational, and career development of youth. She has published three books, four edited volumes, and over 100 chapters and peer-reviewed articles on topics related to positive youth development, the transition to adulthood, and mentoring. Dr. Rhodes is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research and Community Action, and was a Distinguished Fellow of the William T. Grant Foundation. She has been awarded many campus-wide teaching awards for her advances in pedagogy and scholarship, including the Vice Chancellorâs Teaching Scholar Award, the Student Government Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Chancellorâs Outstanding Scholar award at UMB.
How long does the training take?
Two-day comprehensive training workshop
Where is it held?
The training can occur at your site or at the iRT office.
What topics are addressed?
Topics include the history and research on youth-initiated mentoring; the conceptual framework and logic model; how each lesson relates to the model; and suggestions for teaching each lesson.
Are there any additional requirements for teaching the program to students?
Yes. You complete a 1-hour, online certification test after attending the training workshop and receive a certificate of completion.
“It made me more aware of how I should be networking more and how networking isn’t as hard as it seems.”
- Instructor’s Kit (consisting of digital instructional materials and access to the website for 2 years) = $200
- Scholar’s Workbooks = $4.60 each with minimum purchase of 30
- After the second year, access to website materials is $25 for two years
- On-site teacher training and/or bulk purchases = contact us for a quote at email@example.com
- Low college completion rates, especially among first-generation students and students from low-income families
- College engagement varies dramatically across students
- More educated parents have broader social networks
- Youth from affluent families have a wider range of informal mentors
- Cultivating mentors is a lifelong skill that is rarely taught
of children from the lowest family income quartile earn a bachelor’s degree by 24 years of age
of children from the highest family income quartile of families earn a bachelor’s degree by 24 years of age
of college graduates strongly agreed that their professors either encouraged them to pursue their hopes and dreams, or cared about them as a person
How It Works
How is the program delivered?
Your staff or faculty teach the classes in-person to students. The Teacher’s Manual, Scholar’s Workbooks, and multimedia presentations are delivered to you and your students electronically.
How long is the program?
- 15 lessons (50-75 minutes each)
- 1 hour Transition to College panel
- 1.5 hour Networking Event
What is included in the instructional materials?
- Teacher’s Manual containing:
- Scripted lesson plans
- Interactive discussions and small group activities
- Role plays and skill-building activities
- Scholar’s Workbooks
- Multimedia presentation slides
- Program evaluation materials
- Teacher Certification Test
- Program evaluation materials including grading rubric
- Certificate of Completion for teachers who attend the teacher training workshop and pass the certification test
How was it developed?
The in- and out-of-class activities and writing assignments included in the Connected Scholars program are based upon pilot studies, teacher feedback, and ﬁndings from research on topics such as:
- college entry, retention, achievement, and graduation
- mentoring eﬀectiveness and student-initiated mentoring
- eﬀective goal-setting and planning skills
- networking strategies