Mentor a DAAP Student

As the #1 public university co-op program in the country, UC has developed innovative ways for students in DAAP’s mandatory co-op program to continue to gain professional skills and enhance their resumes and portfolios during the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The design world has been hit especially hard, making it difficult for students to obtain full-time co-op jobs.

Each student participating in the Spring 2021 Experiential Exploration Program (EEP) will design a learning plan to substitute for full-time co-op employment. The plan must consist of 250 hours of experiential learning and may take multiple forms, including software skills training (a.k.a upskilling), project work, creative competitions, research, entrepreneurship, leadership development, and more.

Student EEPs are highly individualized, but most students’ EEP plans combine the following experiences:

  • upskilling (e.g. Adobe certifications, software-specific online tutorials)
  • development of a creative project to strengthen their skills and enhance their portfolio
  • networking and outreach to creative-industry professionals
  • submitting work for residencies, competitions and commissions

Every student on an EEP is required to have a mentor with discipline-specific knowledge who can provide feedback on their experience(s). That’s why becoming a mentor is so important!

Mentor Responsibilities

As a DAAP EEP Mentor, what would I need to do?

  1. Regular Meetings. As a mentor, your time commitment is relatively small. We ask that you meet with your student on a regular basis – ideally every other week (twice a month). These meetings are meant to be a check-in and check-up on the student’s progress and well-being. If you mentor multiple students, feel free to have group meetings!
  2. Time Management and Focus. For most students, this semester will be the first time they have embarked on a self-directed project. Help them to set goals and deliverables for the semester and for meeting period. Meeting with you on a regular basis will help them stay accountable and motivated.
  3. Resources and Inspiration. As you can, please share helpful resources for networking and inspiration with students to enhance their experience. This helps them stay motivated and connects them to creative opportunities, industry-relevant events and organizations, and professional growth.
  4. Performance Review. At the close of the co-op semester, you may be asked to complete a short assessment of the student’s performance and professionalism over the term. This will be emailed to you. Your feedback is incredibly valuable to the student’s reflection and learning.

Student Responsibilities

Student mentees will:

  • Design their EEP experience.
  • Define deliverables for their EEP experience.
  • Share their EEP plan and timeline with you as their mentor – and as a guide you may offer advice based on what they want to learn.
  • Complete their EEP deliverables. Students will “showcase” their deliverables as a visual and verbal project at the end of the semester.
  • Communicate updates or/and changes in their EEP deliverables to their mentor and their co-op faculty advisor.
  • Complete a minimum of 250 hours on their EEP.
  • Complete a series of reflection reports at the beginning, middle and end of the semester. Faculty will remind students about these assignments.

Benefits of Mentoring

As a DAAP EEP mentor, you will:

  • Develop a rewarding relationship with one or more DAAP students
  • Practice coaching/developing others (great experience for junior staff!)
  • Stay connected with UC-DAAP, especially if you are not able to hire full-time co-ops at this time
  • Gain access to emerging talent
  • Give back to UC-DAAP's Co-op Program

Qualities of a Mentor

Mentors should:

  • Be employed in a creative field such as design, art, architecture or planning
  • Have at least one year of experience in the field
  • Care about developing the next generation of creative talent
  • Be committed to supporting one or more mentee(s)
  • Be patient and kind especially to students on their first experience

Ways to Mentor

  1. Small Group Software Skill Development: Mentor a small group of students who are taking a self-directed course in a design software application, e.g., Revit, SketchUp, Solidworks, Cinema 4D, or AutoCAD. The mentor should be skilled or have experience using this software and be able to explain to students how and why this software skill will help them in their career.
  2. Small Group Design Competition or Challenge: Mentor a small group of students as they complete a design competition or challenge. Duration and time commitment will depend on the competition. For example, you could meet with the students every other week.
  3. One-on-One Mentoring: Meet with your mentee(s) for a minimum of two hours per month for four months. We suggest meeting in person (safely) or by phone or video call twice a month, for one hour each time, from January through April 2021. You’ll probably meet more often at first as you establish your relationship. You may have more than one mentee; it’s up to you. If you do have more than one mentee, you may schedule group calls.

Become a Mentor

Click the red button below to complete a mentoring interest form. You are not committing to anything yet.

We will host an online information session about mentoring on October 23, 2020. Register now, and we will send you the link to join the session closer to the date.