A Case Study: The D-MAVT Mentoring Programme.
From a women-only project to peer-to-peer mentoring for all new students.
The peer-to-peer mentoring programme of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering (D-MAVT) at ETH Zurich started out as a way to support young women and thus promote and retain talent. Despite various efforts, the percentage of women in this department is increasing only very slowly. The mentoring programme, first introduced in 2017, was intended to facilitate the start of their studies. Regular surveys among participating mentors and mentees confirmed the success of the programme. However, it also became gradually apparent that mentoring for all could be even more promising. On the one hand, both men and women struggle with the same initial challenges. On the other, the extension of the programme would forestall any criticism or feeling of neglect/discrimination on the part of male students. Above all, it would also prevent women from being seen as needy – a perception which was the exact opposite of the programme’s goals. Today, D-MAVT mentoring includes first-year students of both genders. To further professionalise the programme, in 2021 D-MAVT organised its first ever kick-off workshop for all mentors. More ideas to improve the D-MAVT mentoring programme are being developed continuously based on regular surveys and dialogue with the students.
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