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Academic Mentoring Programme for Pacific Islands students

"Dare to be Wise" academic mentoring programme


To ensure that Pacific Islands students maximise their full potential by accessing academic guidance and support.

What is academic mentoring?

  • It is about studying smart and getting the most out of University
  • Studying means scholarship - not just passing
  • All students will be allocated an academic mentor to help guide them with their subjects; courses and career aspirations
  • Final year students will be mentored by our graduates in the workforce to help them find that perfect job
  • Mentoring is available to undergraduate and postgraduate students

Register to take part in the programme

All Pacific Islands students are encouraged to access this programme by filling out the Academic Mentoring registration form.

Purpose of the Dare to be Wise academic mentoring programme

This programme was set up in 2003 to ensure Pacific Islands students enrolled at Otago maximise their full potential by providing them with academic guidance and support.

How the programme works

  • It is envisaged that by 2012 every subject will have an Academic Mentor (an “AM”). The Pro-Vice-Chancellors of all 4 Academic Divisions are in full support of this programme and each Division has identified a staff member who will be known as the facilitator to assist the Pacific Islands Centre ("Centre") to co-ordinate and run this programme.
  • The students (“mentees”) will be identified during Orientation Week. The Pacific Islands Centre will draw up forms for the registration of mentees’ details at the Centre’s Orientation stall.
  • Mentees are to be encouraged to enrol online using the registration form to ensure a smooth process and also to assist in the collection of data.
  • To protect the mentees’ privacy (as required by the Privacy Act 1993), only the Manager of the Centre will access their initial requests for an AM before passing over their details to the facilitators and AMs. The details to be passed over or shared would only be the mentee’s name and subject area.
  • Mentee details will be provided at the beginning of the year/semester. AMs will be assigned a maximum of 4 mentees per semester.
  • AMs will meet with each mentee for one hour per fortnight in the Centre or wherever they’re comfortable. From mid-semester break on, these meeting times will change to once a month until the end of the semester.
  • The meetings will be a chance for the AM and mentee to discuss how the mentee is doing with his/her studies and for the AM to offer advice and assistance.
  •  In the initial meeting, the mentee’s needs will be assessed by the AM: for example, tutorials or attending Student Learning Centre workshops.
  • If during these meetings the AM identifies, for example, a lack of understanding in the subject content, the AM should advise the mentee to attend tutorials, and encourage him/her to seek assistance directly from the lecturers or tutors. It is recommended that the AM set up meetings between the mentee and the lecturer or tutor if the need is there and after that, encourage the mentee to attend these meetings alone.
  • AMs are to encourage mentees to utilise services that are already in existence such as the mainstream tutorials, Student Learning Centre and Career Services.
  • Failing the above, the Centre Manager is to be contacted to organise extra tutorials for mentees who need them.
  • AMs are to deal only with academic needs and concerns of the mentees.
  • Pastoral or Cultural mentoring needs are to be directed to the Manager of the Centre.
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Academic Mentors

Who are the Academic Mentors?

  • Academic Mentors (AMs) are staff members and senior students who are successful individuals and have shown they are capable of taking on extra responsibility while completing their own courses of study. These individuals have shown academic capability and are doing well. Some are graduates who are in successful careers. We are fortunate to also have some academic staff who have volunteered to be mentors.
  • The AMs are selected by the Centre and the academic Divisions.
  • The AMs will not be paid a salary for their services, but the Centre can provide Certificates of Merit co-signed by the Manager of the Centre and the appropriate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (or his/her representative), plus a gift at the end of the academic year.
  • AMs are chosen from successful candidates across the academic disciplines and are not solely individuals who are of Pacific Islands descent.
  • AMs will meet one day a month for ongoing training and to offer support to one another. These meetings will be arranged by the Centre in consultation with the AMs. Meetings are to be fun and relaxed and to be held in an informal atmosphere.

Why become an Academic Mentor?

  • Success
  • The rewards are endless and often the mentors end up learning more than the mentees
  • To create a successful society of knowledge engineers and future leaders
  • To contribute to a healthy society
  • To become a positive role model
  • Good training for future career opportunities. Looks great on the CV!
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