Bennett Faculty Receives Fellowship for Alumnae-Pupil Mentorship Venture

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Bennett College Commencement
Because the pandemic carries on, Bennett Faculty, an traditionally Black, liberal arts faculty for ladies, has been chosen as a 2022 Steelcase Social Innovation Fellow to develop a mentorship undertaking amongst college students and alumnae longing for neighborhood and help of their careers.

“Bennett has a historical past of sisterhood, and we wished to reinforce {that a} bit,” mentioned Joan Williams, Bennett’s director of library providers and one of many undertaking’s workforce leaders. “Particularly with the pandemic and folks being so separated, we wished to re-spark that sisterhood, to convey the household again collectively. As a result of that’s sort of the best way we’re right here on campus: a household.”

As one in all ten fellows chosen this 12 months, Bennett joins a cohort of establishments and organizations that may obtain coaching and help over 4 months for a undertaking. Fellows’ initiatives are targeted on help methods for college kids who’re transitioning to increased training or a profession. Steelcase, a worldwide furnishings, structure, and know-how firm, helps the fellowship.

“Welcoming our new cohort of Social Innovation Fellows is a privilege and a pleasure,” mentioned Adam Weiler, social innovation supervisor at Steelcase, in a press launch. “We’re thrilled to help this thrilling group of educators and changemakers who convey a mix of highly effective concepts and problem-solving expertise to a number of the most essential fairness points in training of our time.”

In October 2021, Bennett joined Steelcase’s Fairness in Schooling Problem, which included a collection of open innovation workshops. Contributors had been requested to formulate concepts on how they’ll deal with obstacles to a high quality training by reimagining pupil help methods. Williams and her workforce at Bennett envisioned constructing a mentorship program for college kids and alumnae, together with younger alumnae simply beginning their careers. They titled the undertaking “Reimagining Pupil and Alumnae Relationships.”

“We would like our college students to enter the job market understanding they’ve individuals behind them as they traverse any challenges,” mentioned Williams. “As a result of we as Black ladies — and as ladies interval — need to cope with many challenges. The glass ceiling has not damaged but.”

Bennett submitted this concept from the Fairness in Schooling Problem to a panel of business consultants to be thought of for the fellowship. As a brand new fellow this 12 months, Bennett will now have entry to digital workshops and visitor lectures to troubleshoot any challenges that will come up within the early phases of bringing this undertaking to life.

Williams mentioned that a number of alumnae and college students have already voiced pleasure to her and her colleagues over the undertaking’s potentialities. Due to digital assembly know-how, Williams additionally careworn that “no person might be unnoticed” who needs to be a mentee or mentor.

“The truth that everyone has been so separated has helped us get this concept off the bottom,” she mentioned. “Some college students began right here within the pandemic and haven’t totally skilled the actual sisterhood of Bennett. We would like them to have extra of a connection. If we construct and maintain this undertaking, I believe it can solely develop. And will probably be a wonderful journey.”

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