Building Your Own Mentoring Model

Last month, LX and BYU hosted three sessions in the BYU/LX Experiential Learning Summit Series. In our second February webinar, we discussed how to build mentoring models with panelists Dr. Luke Howard (Associate Professor of Music History, BYU), and Kristie Paskvan (Associate Director of Business Development, Gies College of Business, UIUC).


360 Degrees Mentoring Model

Our second session in the Experiential Learning Summit Series this month prompted some great discussion about mentoring and the different models that faculty can use to establish trust and maintain accountability. Our first panelist, Kristie Paskvan explained her 360 degrees model of mentorship. Within a team setting, mentors can help inspire and hold the team accountable, and also recognize that within the team there are leaders who are keeping the project on track and mentoring new recruits or underclassmen. Within peers, mentorships are providing support to the project and connecting peers to one another. On an individual level, mentors are self-aware and clear roadblocks for the project. While the role and function of the team, your peers, and the individual all vary widely and frequently, it is important that on every level, there is support and trust.


Paskvan advised that “mentoring is listening in between the lines.” Mentorship is not formulaic, and it doesn’t always feel natural, but continuing to bond with students and earn their trust will make them comfortable enough to reach out to you for opportunities and to mentor younger members of the team in the future as well.


How to Be a Successful Mentor

Dr. Luke Howard added a lot to this conversation with perspective on earning the trust needed to have a successful mentorship dynamic. A great discussion with LX members and BYU staff on the call pointed out some great action steps to take as a mentor:

  • Howard believes the first step is to tell your students that their passion and their curiosity are essential to the project. Students need to feel valued and like their work will be a needed contribution to the team in order to be successful.

  • Have professional humility. Saying “I don’t know how to do that, but I know how to find out” is hard for professors and leaders to do, but it shows your students that gaps in knowledge are not only normal but okay. This will set your students up to be able to research or network to find any answer in the future.

  • Respect how the project is going. Don’t force a project to be something it isn’t, or chances are you are forcing it into the ground. Let the raw materials and truths of the project guide the direction in order to have the best outcome.

  • Reproduction is not the real thing- engage students with the real world, or empower them to go into the real world and have social experiences that provide long-term value to their education.

  • Mentors can act as a coach, or supporter, or role model. Whatever type of mentorship the student needs, the goal always has to be to uncover the potential within the student. You have the unique ability to help students reflect on experiences and their curriculum and to help them through their failures. The mentorship model isn’t important- what is crucial is developing your student and helping them to excel in the long-term.


Our final webinar in the BYU/LX Experiential Learning Summit Series will take place on April 16th with keynote speakers Michael Horn (Senior Strategist, Guild Education) and Jeffrey Brown (Dean, Gies College of Business at UIUC). Registration links can be found at https://experience.byu.edu/experiential-learning-summit-2020