Mentoring Programs

Mentoring Programs

Medical students have access to a number of formal and informal faculty, administrative, and peer mentors from the beginning of their first year. Mentors provide students with guidance on personal and professional development, academic counseling, and career planning. The diverse and redundant system of advisors helps students by proactively anticipating challenges and promoting balance. A fundamental UConn tenet is that students must maintain their humanity in order to become successful physicians. The mentoring program that assures student success includes:

Administrative Mentoring

The Office of Medical Student Affairs. The administrative staff, faculty and deans in the student affairs help coordinate all aspects of medical student activities and advising. The office adheres to a true open-door policy, to foster a rapid response to student needs through unscheduled and scheduled appointments.

The Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs is charged with following the progress of each student, and with coordinating all other components of student mentoring. The associate dean is available for all types of counseling, serving also to triage students to other advisors with specific expertise as appropriate. He/she is also responsible for compiling a comprehensive written evaluation of students' overall performance, the Medical Student Performance Evaluation, in the fourth year as part of the residency application.

The Assistant Dean for Admissions has an essential complementary role to the associate dean as a medical student advisor. The assistant dean is responsible for administering the Fifth-Year Enrichment Program, designed to foster student exposure to clinical and basic science research.

The Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education is available primarily for academic advising.

The Associate Dean, Director of Health Career Opportunity Programs, is responsible for advising and counseling underrepresented minority students.

The Director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program provides comprehensive academic counseling for the combined-degree students.

The Director of Community-Based Education serves as the primary coordinator for community education and clinical research opportunities in the United States and international locations.

Faculty Mentoring

The Career Development and Mentoring Program serves as a major resource of faculty mentoring for students. The program is described on the Career Counseling webpage.

Course Leaders serve as a first line of academic advisors for students who are not meeting expectations. Course leaders address student needs and facilitate referrals to appropriate academic resources, such as faculty and student tutors, administrators and psychological counselors.

Faculty in the basic science and clinical medicine courses are an invaluable resource for students. UConn has a longstanding policy of faculty accessibility and collegiality, fostered through office-hours, optional review sessions and course critiques, among others.

Peer Mentoring

There has been a formal student "big brother/big sister" program in place since the early 1990’s. First-year students are randomly assigned to a second-year student during orientation. The big brother's/big sister's function is to ease the transition to medical school by providing invaluable social and academic support.

The Peer Support Group are trained volunteer students, under the direction of faculty advisor Debra Johnson, A.P.R.N. Peer Support is a program to provide social and emotional support, along with encouragement and direction. The team members assist other students to: decrease stress levels, problem solve, and/or seek appropriate UConn Health or community resources as needed.

The Honor Board is a student-run organization charged with reviewing, upholding, and revising (if necessary) the student honor code. The faculty advisor is Roger Thrall, Ph.D. Students can confidentially approach board members to discuss perceived breaches in the honor code. The board can decide whether the code has been breached, and has the responsibility for formally investigating, bringing charges, and determining violations. The Honor Board has the authority to act alone, and can bring in the faculty advisors and administrators at their discretion.