Academic Advising and Peer Mentoring
All PharmD students are assigned an advisor when they begin the program. Advisors can offer assistance to students in numerous ways, including: selecting electives, offering advice during academic difficulty, career planning, and mentoring. It is each student’s responsibility to know the identity of his or her advisor. Every student should schedule a meeting at least once a semester with his or her advisor, even if the student is not having academic difficulty.
The PharmD advising house program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is purposefully developmental – aiming to meet the needs of unique PharmD students. Academic coaches are expected to serve as guides and mentors for an assigned subset of students. The School has installed Advising houses (or “Pharmalies”) in an effort to build community across the advising and mentoring spectrum. Through this community, Pharmalies aim to:
- To provide a mechanism by which faculty, students, and staff can take care of and look out for each other across a rigorous PharmD program.
- To promote collective well-being of community members by building a larger, stronger network of support and advocacy.
- To facilitate group learning across the curriculum and co-curriculum by providing a way to share experiences (together we learn more).
- To increase feelings of belonging and mattering across all students.
- To promote holistic student learning, growth, and development.
- To monitor the quality of experience trends that may be a call to action for School leadership.
NACADA (National Academic Advising Association) is the leader in contemporary advising practice and administration and serves as a useful resource for all faculty advisors. NACADA also provides a clearinghouse of resources for advisors regardless of level of experience.
Prescriptive or Developmental advisor, which are you? In the past, advisors were primarily viewed as experts both within the content area and university — telling students what to do, how to navigate the system, which decisions to make, and how to solve their problems (prescriptive). Now the advising pendulum has swung to incorporate an expanded definition of advising that positions the advisor as mentor and guide leading students through holistic growth opportunities (developmental).
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) provides guidelines and regulations for the sharing of student information and records. All advisors should be well informed regarding FERPA guidelines.
The Advising Appointment: While there is no textbook format for an advising appointment, this NACADA resource will be useful for both the advising novice and expert. The resource overviews advising session techniques for advisors.
Other Advising Resources:
The Peer Mentoring Program within the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy promotes the successful transition of new students to the PharmD experience. Peer Mentors are paired with new PharmD students to add an additional layer of support and advocacy throughout the first year of study. Peer Mentors provide guidance on all things related to the doctor of pharmacy program while also serving as a consistent point of contact for questions and referral.
Highlights for New Students
- Access to a seasoned PharmD student to help with transitioning and orienting to the program
- At least one face-to-face mentoring meeting each semester
- At least one group-mentoring social event during the first year
- Consistent information sharing from peer mentor regarding involvement opportunities, class-related suggestions, and other quality-of-life topics
- A single source of peer contact to ask questions or seek clarifications
Goals of the Peer Mentoring Program
- To facilitate a successful, holistic transition (academic, personal, cultural) into the PharmD experience
- To expose new PY1 students to model behaviors, dispositions, characteristics, and competencies of successful PharmD students
- To increase the sense of belonging and satisfaction among PY1 students
- To foster and grow a productive community of colleagues and scholars among PY1 students
- To empower new PY1 students to become responsible, intentional self-advocates and decision-makers regarding their PharmD experience
- To provide peer-based resources and advocacy for new/transitioning PY1 students
Expectations for Peer Mentors
- Current PY3 student in good academic standing (3.0 cumulative GPA or higher)
- Available to serve as a peer mentor for both the fall and spring semesters
- Must complete peer-mentor training prior to serving as a peer mentor
- Must attend peer mentor-sponsored events
- Serves as a positive representative of the School and models ideal PharmD student practices and behaviors
- Maintains ongoing, consistent contact with mentees through a variety of mediums (e-mail, text, in-person, social media, etc.), keeping them informed of opportunities and best practices of the successful PharmD student
- Tracks contact with mentees
- Acts as a resource or repository of information, expertise, and referral for new students
- Communicates questions and concerns as appropriate with the Office of Student Affairs
- Meets one-on-one with each mentee once each semester