Get help from an experienced adviser

The MIPA mentor program pairs new advisers with experienced ones.

How the program works

Advising can be a lonely job — at many schools, there may only be one journalism or media teacher in the building. But MIPA is here to help!

In 2004, the MIPA board began a mentorship program for new advisers or those with only a few years of advising experience. Since then, dozens of beginning journalism advisers have been paired with experienced advisers from around the state.

You have questions, so let MIPA pair you with an experienced adviser who provide support and talk through options:

  • How should I organize my staff?
  • How do I hold students accountable?
  • How should I organize my deadlines?
  • What are the best ways to motivate kids?

These are just a few of the questions MIPA mentors can help you with.

We are also looking for mentors. If you’ve advised successfully for a while, please consider lending your help to those who could benefit from it. If you’d like to be a mentor, please complete the form below.

When we have a mentee assigned to you, we will contact you with more details. As a mentor, your job would be to answer questions from your mentee in a timely, professional fashion, as well as lending a sympathetic ear when needed. You would also be asked to make contact with your mentee at least once per quarter during the school year to offer your support and encouragement.

Being a Good Mentor

  • Be sure you have time to give to your mentee. The most common complaint from mentees is that their mentor didn’t get back to them in a timely manner. If you are too busy to respond to a new adviser’s questions quickly, you probably shouldn’t be a mentor.
  • Consider meeting your mentee face to face. Many mentors have their mentees visit them at their school to see how their program is run. This is a valuable way for new advisers to get a feel for how an experienced adviser runs a journalism classroom. If this doesn’t work, consider meeting for coffee once a month to allow your mentee time to bounce ideas off you.
  • Critique your mentee’s publication. Some mentors suggested this as a valuable learning experience for the mentor, the mentee, and the mentee’s staff. Hold high standards, but be kind. Remember your mentee is just starting out and too much negative feedback could cause them to feel negative or hopeless.
  • Start a publication exchange with your mentee. Let them see your paper, yearbook, magazine or video production so they can learn from it.
  • Meet up with your mentee at MIPA or JEA conventions. Give your mentee someone they can sit with at lunch or attend a session with. Help them feel connected to MIPA and scholastic journalism.

Being a Good Mentee

  • If you want help from your mentor, be sure to ask for it. Student media advisers are among the busiest people on Earth, but proactively seeking solutions can save you time, energy and stress. You and your mentor will set up a schedule based on what you need and what they can give, but mentors are ready and willing to listen and give advice. Use them.
  • Use your mentor … or lose them. MIPA mentors want to improve your quality of life and the quality of your program. They sign on to help build stronger journalism communities, but they need to hear from you.
  • Thank your mentor for their help. MIPA mentors are willing to give multiple hours to help their mentees. Be sure to recognize their effort.
  • Contact the MIPA office or the mentoring coordinators at the first sign of a bad mentoring relationship. We have more mentors than mentees, and if something isn’t going right, we can easily pair you with someone else.

“My first year of advising was daunting, and it became clear that none of my colleagues could really understand the unique challenges of advising a student newspaper. I would have been lost without my MIPA mentor, who I am now lucky enough to work with and to call a great friend of mine.”

— Sarah Ashman, Holt HS

“All teachers can remember their first years of teaching, especially advising. Having a MIPA mentor that understood my joys and struggles was a huge help. Now, as a mentor, being able to be a sounding board, a resource sharer and a friend reminds me of how I can improve my practice too.”

— Sara-Beth Badalamente, Ann Arbor Huron HS

Questions? Concerns?

The mentoring program is coordinated by Ava Butzu of Grand Blanc HS and Betsy van der Zee of Pioneer HS. They can be reached at [email protected]. You also can contact the MIPA office.

Having trouble completing and submitting this form? Open it in a new window