The term has caught on, not just because of its consistent use, but because the great majority of our mentors have taken the description seriously and seek to relate meaningfully with their students. Now we believe it is time to add another dimension to the conversation.
Welcome, Course Instructors!
Before anyone is approved to mentor a distance education course, he or she must be approved by the Academic Affairs Office as core or adjunct faculty to serve within the discipline of their training and experience. As faculty they are encouraged to participate meaningfully in the instructional process. While the multimedia nature of the majority of our courses means that core content is delivered digitally, the instructional role of the mentor remains critical to student success and satisfaction. They provide pre-assignment guidance, help students synthesize and apply learning to life and ministry, and contribute critical evaluation feedback.
In the next several months you will increasingly note that we will increasingly refer to mentors as course instructors in our publications and in student communications. This does not, by any means, signify that the relational aspect of their task – their mentoring role – has been diminished in importance. Rather, we are seeking to balance course instruction and student care in a whole-person approach that reflects well the educational values of Western Seminary.