Advisement versus Mentorship
Unlike residential programs of study, distance learning programs often require a fair amount of independent research and study on the part of the student. St. Anthony's programs of study are generally arranged to offer a systematic investigation of a particular discipline and provide each individual with an opportunity to select courses according to his or her experience, needs, and interests (e.g., concentrations in the M.Div. program). Students are allowed many choices in courses for the degree programs offered, which allows them to plan their programs of study.
To provide academic guidance and assistance throughout the educational process, an academic advisor (the program coordinator or a faculty member) is assigned to each St. Anthony student. The mentor-student relationship involves one-on-one consultation, supervision, feedback, and assistance with questions about a student's studies upon request.
The word "mentor(s)" has a range of meanings at St. Anthony, from trusted counselor or guide to formal tutor or coach. In the first sense, a mentor could assist individual students assigned to them in selecting the appropriate required and elective courses for their chosen programs of study. After initial enrollment, the respective dean and program coordinators, in discussion with the student’s mentor, might arrange a course of study for a student that would be based on a preliminary evaluation of the student’s achievements, aims, and interests. The mentor then presents the student with an outline of his or her program of study and guides him or her in completing that course of study.
In the second sense, a mentor could serve as a tutor or coach in a particular subject in which the student needs additional study (e.g., hermeneutics, pseudepigraphal works, biblical counseling). These mentorships would probably consist of independent studies designed to address the specific academic needs of the student. The mentor in this case would serve as a coach or instructor depending the nature of the mentorship.
Consultations between mentors and students occur via telephone, e-mail, or online (e.g., Zoom) in most cases. Students are required to contact their mentors at least quarterly to remain in good academic standing (see academic policies for what type of contact constitutes acceptable forms of communication). Failure to do so may result in dismissal and tuition forfeiture. A delinquent notice is sent to students who have not contacted the school within the required period. Teaching faculty might also available for course advisement based on the office hours stated in their respective course syllabi.
Suggestions for Non-Native English Learners
The file (pdf) at right contains suggestions and tips from Dr. Judy Quitoriano, who has a certification to work with students whose native language is not English (ESL and L2 learners). The online link for the style guide used by St. Anthony, Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writing Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (latest edition), appears here.