The Faculty Mentor Program (FMP) has been active at Stanislaus State for more than thirty-five years, encouraging growth and development for both students and faculty.
The purpose of the program is for students to build a bridge in connecting students, primarily first generation students, with faculty in order to gain their support.
The purpose also extends to faculty, allowing connections between different faculty members across various disciplines and become truly ingrained in the college community.
“[The program] gives us an opportunity to talk to colleagues across the disciplines, across the different colleges here at the university to develop friendships and mentorships if our veterans and our new junior faculty as well” said Christy Gonzales, Co-Coordinator of FMP.
“One thing for a campus like this where we have a lot of transplant professors… so FMP does build a sense of family. This program is across all the disciplines it really does take all of us and put us in one room where we can be social and build relations,” said Jason Pourtaverdi, Co-Coordinator of FMP and lecturer for the department of Criminal Justice.
Pourtaverdi added that getting help from the professors outside of one's own department is also helpful.
“Sometimes you can’t go to your own discipline and ask questions and it’s nice being able to go to someone outside of your disciple to brainstorm and get other information depending on the situation,” Pourtaverdi said.
For Jennifer Whitmer, assistant professor of Sociology, FMP allows new faculty an opportunity to become ingrained in the university.
“[FMP] allows you to become ingrained into the university and more a part of the university as a community rather than just your own discipline. You’re not just talking to your colleagues in your department, you’re not just talking to the students in your class, you’re getting to know people across the university and I think that’s really valuable for anyone at anytime in their career but especially first coming in” said Whitmer.
For José Díaz-Garayúa, assistant professor of Geography, FMP is a reminder of why the professors began teaching.
“This program reminds us why we are here. When we talk about our student population, the majority of our students are the reality of the country: they work, they might have two jobs, they might be coming from broken families, and we shall not forget about those students. Research is cool, publication is cool, teaching is cool, but there is a very important aspect which is that we are people. There are people that come from different backgrounds that we have to support to move forward” said Díaz-Garayúa.
Clarissa Lonn-Nichols, the Student Affairs Special Assistant to the Vice President and Student Conduct Administrator said that she “unequivocally loves” FMP because of the growth exhibited by students.
“We all have these different spheres of influence and we help [the students] achieve their goals and that’s the most fulfilling part” Lonn-Nichols said.
Pourtaverdi then explained that “the program is volunteer, so for faculty that are thinking of joining… once you’ve done the training which about a three-hour training… everything is on a volunteer basis.”
“[FMP] is volunteer basis and we work with [new faculty] to make sure they’re not overwhelmed, we encourage them, the whole point is their presence” Pourtaverdi said.
Gonzales said that “A lot of our departments have requirements to be in academic senate, or to volunteer for different groups, so why not volunteer for FMP? It’s a good time, we socialize, and it’s one of the groups that has fun.”
If you are interested in becoming a faculty member for FMP, contact the FMP office at (209) 667-3021 or email Jason Pourtaverdi at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can stop by the FMP office in Bizzini Hall, C-107D.