What is a Mentor Circle?
In Spring 2019 we introduced "Mentor Circles" for the first time. The Allen School
kindly allowed us to hire 3-4 part time TAs, each whom conducted 1-hour Mentor Circles
each week where they met in small groups of about 5-6 students. Given the feedback from
students and mentors, we will continue this program this quarter with
an appropriate number of TAs to match the size of the course.
Students in these groups, with the assistance of their "Mentor TA," will work
to complete any of the section material that wasn't finished in class,
go over questions from previous sections or lectures, and perhaps help
brainstorm ideas for creative projects. The mentor circles will
NOT be a place to get help with homework assignments, however.
Ultimately the goal of the Mentor Circle is to build a place where
students can solidify knowledge and confidence in the course material so they will be
able to more easily complete the homework assignments on their own. Furthermore,
it is a place for students to form a small cohort and community with others in the
Who is a Mentor Circle for?
Mentor Circles are open to all, but preference will be given to students who
have less prior programming experience and who are willing to commit to
at least 6 weeks of the meeting times.
What times are the circles and who is running them?
We currently have Olga running one circle. If you are late to the course or decided
you're interested in a circle after signups ended, please let us know. We can't promise anything but
with enough interest we may be able to create additional groups.
The schedule is as follows:
How do I sign up?
Fill out this form
by Friday, June 26th.
When will they start?
The goal is to start this as soon as possible so students can begin to form their
cohort that will last through the quarter. We also want to be able to support
students as we are ramping up on HTML/CSS and Git.
Anything else I should know?
Since this is a pilot program we are getting some interest from the Allen School advisors
who may want to replicate the program for other courses! We would really like to see
this as a successful addition to the CSE 154 course. We'll therefore be
looking for lots of feedback over the course of the quarter and would
appreciate your willingness to work with us as we develop this new program.
Where did this awesome idea come from?
Giving credit where credit is due: This idea was born out of a conversation
with Kevin Lin, another lecturer
at the Allen School, who was very successful working with mentoring groups at UC Berekely.