Extraordinary Mentoring Initiative Provides Powerful Tool to All Stonehill Students

August 10, 2015


Think. Act. Lead. Helps Students Reach Their Full Potential Academically, Professionally, Personally and Spiritually.

From his earliest days as a student on Stonehill’s campus, Tracy Denholm ’13 was in search of mentors — and he wasn’t shy about looking for them around every corner.

“I would go onto the Stonehill website, figure out who was in positions where I wanted guidance and knock on their doors,” says Tracy, who graduated with a degree in political science and international studies. “I found mentors in professors and administrators, through Campus Ministry, and among upperclassmen. They were the most powerful relationships I had at Stonehill.”

Mentoring has always been a central element of the College’s culture, aligning perfectly with Stonehill’s mission to educate “the whole person so that each Stonehill graduate thinks, acts and leads with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world.”

Now, through a new program aptly called Think. Act. Lead., this philosophy will be amplified and serve as a more powerful tool at the center of each Stonehill student’s success story.

Pioneering Approach Earns Grant From Renowned Foundation

Think. Act. Lead. came out of Stonehill’s five-year strategic planning process and quickly received a strong affirmation from a prominent New England higher education grant-making organization. The Davis Educational Foundation – established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis’s retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc. – awarded $233,800 to the College to roll out the pioneering program beginning this academic year.

The program allows students to purposely reflect on their personal growth at Stonehill through three steps:

  1. Think: Explore and Connect.

    From their very first days on campus, students will engage in thoughtful conversations with faculty, staff and peers about their academic, professional, personal and spiritual goals. They will experience this element of Think. Act. Lead. right away through their First-Year Experience course, an eight-week program at the start of the fall semester that helps incoming students transition into life at Stonehill.
  2. Act: Plan and Pursue.

    Working with a mentor, students will create an ever-evolving four-year development plan that articulates their interests and goals and the tools needed to achieve them. This includes courses required for the Cornerstone core curriculum and their major, along with electives based on their interests. It also involves the pursuit of co-curricular experiences such as research with faculty mentors, leadership opportunities, study abroad, internships and service. Each student’s plan will evolve continuously as a result of ongoing conversations with mentors, who will assist in assessing experiences through purposeful reflection.
  3. Lead: Achieve and Launch.

    Each student will take full advantage of the transformative experiences in which he or she engages to help achieve the goals articulated in the four-year plan, which will also cultivate leadership skills and abilities along the way that are most appropriate for him or her. By the end of four years, Think. Act. Lead. will help every student be in a position to state what his or her next step will be, from work to graduate school to service opportunities and further leadership development. And a formalized leadership certification program will help cultivate leadership skills in students who wish to hone that strength.

The ultimate goal of Think. Act. Lead. is to coordinate the vast array of mentoring that occurs at Stonehill so there is a deliberate focus on the development of each student as an individual who can make the most of his or her Stonehill experience.

“We have an incredibly collaborative, student-centered culture,” says Craig Almeida, dean of academic achievement, who will co-lead the project with Kevin Piskadlo, dean of students. “With Think. Act. Lead., we’ll foster even deeper conversations and empower mentors to help students become even more intentional in thought and action — so they can maximize self-discovery and be well positioned for life after Stonehill.”

A Road Map to Countless Transformative Opportunities

Think. Act. Lead. will also help Stonehill students take advantage of campus resources by connecting the dots between opportunities and the various offices that can collaborate to ensure students get the utmost from those opportunities. For example, when a student takes advantage of a summer internship program launched by Career Services, he or she will also be connected with resources at Residence Life to explore housing arrangements that can further enrich the experience. And the four-year plan will serve as a touchstone for students, faculty and staff, all of whom serve as mentors, to point students in the right direction based on their individual interests, strengths and goals.

Overall, the program will connect students with the kind of mentors who have helped Tracy Denholm make the leap from a self-described “modest upbringing” to a promising career at Deloitte in Washington, D.C. “Stonehill has so many people who can support driven students and innovative ideas,” he says. “My best advice for students is to seek them out everywhere.”