Academic Mentorship Scheme for Geography Majors
Starting from the 2019–2020 academic year, the Department will introduce an academic mentorship scheme for students who have had an excellent academic performance in geography courses and are eager to become prospective Geography Majors. This is a privileged scheme that provides one-to-one coaching to selected students.
Year 1, 2, 3, and 4 geography students, who have excellent results in geography courses and are eager to become Geography Majors, will be invited by the Department to apply for participating in the mentorship scheme. Interested students may also proactively submit applications to the Department for consideration.
The mentorship scheme will initially be for one academic year, but can be renewed in the following academic year, subject to (a) the mentee’s continued eligibility to the Scheme as a Geography Major, and (b) the mentee’s active participation in the Scheme.
What will the mentee get?
Through active participation in the Scheme, the mentees will:
Develop a solid academic relationship with the mentors and gain invaluable experience.
Seek advice from the mentors on:
How to develop strong research interests in geography, so as to become dedicated researchers and geographers in the future.
The avenues available for pursuing future postgraduate studies in geography and other related disciplines at HKU as well as other local and overseas tertiary institutions.
Performance in geography courses, study progress, and future career / study plans.
Enhanced personal development by learning specific skills and knowledge through completing tasks and activities as set by the mentors.
Academic reference letters written by the mentors, based on all-round academic performance and personal attributes.
The mentorship is a process for mentees to identify their academic needs and participate in self-learning and development under the guidance of mentors. Hence, the mentees should take responsibility for the content of mentorship, and cannot expect the mentor to solve their problems or offer quick fixes.
A fruitful mentorship experience requires mutual effort and understanding from both the mentor and mentee. In order to enable the mentoring partnership to work, the following essential points must be observed:
mentors and mentees share mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality;
mentors commit to spending time to help mentees with their academic development, while developing their own skills in effective engagement; and
mentees make good use of this unique opportunity to maintain regular contact with mentors, conduct self-assessments and self-evaluations, identify their own learning needs, and develop both analytical and critical thinking skills.
Stages of Mentorship
The mentorship involves the following three stages:
1. Inauguration and Planning
All mentees are required to attend the inauguration (to be held in December) and other Scheme-based activities, which will be organized by the Department. This will allow the mentees to develop a broad-based network by meeting other mentees and the mentors.
At the inauguration, mentors and mentees should discuss and establish the ground rules for future meetings, including the following:
2. Roles and Goal Setting
Both mentors and mentees will have different expectations regarding roles and responsibilities of (a) their own and (b) the other party in the mentor-mentee relationship. As such, during the first meetings, it is essential that the mentors and mentees discuss and define their roles and responsibilities, which must be agreed upon by both sides.
At the initial meetings, mentees should discuss with mentors and agree on (a) the short- and long-term learning goals to be achieved, (b) specific objective(s) of each goal, (c) learning methods and activities to achieve those goals, (d) target dates for completing the activities, and (e) assessment method(s) to evaluate the completed activities. Mentors and mentees should agree on the roles and learning goals no later than March so that they can move on to the stage of conducting activities.
After establishing the agreed goals, it would be useful for mentors and mentees to negotiate and plan a ‘confidential’ learning agreement—either formal or informal, and either signed or unsigned. This agreement can be served as a record to list the following items:
3. Growth and Feedback
In order to help the mentorship evolve and develop towards a positive direction, mentees should take the initiative to attend meetings and maintain regular contact with mentors.
In the course of the mentorship, mentors should set relevant learning activities—based on the agreed goals—for the mentees to undertake. Mentees should take a responsible attitude towards completing the assigned activities in a timely manner. Where necessary, mentors and mentees may review the planned learning activities, and make adjustments accordingly to reflect a change in situation.
Mentees should also be ready to propose ways of self-improvement, take the initiative to set meeting agendas and action items, as well as follow up on mentors’ suggestions and report back on the outcome and effectiveness.
Both mentors and mentees should:
i. provide timely feedback to each other to facilitate future meetings; and
ii. review their partnership periodically, or at least for the mid-point and end of year mentoring.
Moreover, mentors and mentees should complete the mentorship scheme feedback form towards the end of each year’s partnership (preferably by October), so as to help the Department review the effectiveness of the scheme and improve it for future cohorts of students who want to become mentees.
A set of good practices will be available on the website as a reference for mentors and mentees.
The Department Head will directly oversee this scheme’s operations with the support of senior teachers and the General Office.
The Department should collect feedback from mentors and mentees so as to review the scheme’s effectiveness and make improvements for future cohorts of mentees.
Current Year of Study: