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San Diego State University

Faculty-Student Mentoring Program

Cynthia Park, Ph.D.
Professor of Teacher Education

Commitment to Mentoring: The Pre-College Institute, which I direct, offers ten students per year an opportunity to work collaboratively with me and selected members of my staff as our protégés or mentees in various educational research activities focused on establishing the effectiveness of educational models of professional training, or innovative teaching /learning interventions in high need public schools.

The Faculty/Student Mentoring Program housed in the Pre-College Institute aims to support, assist, and motivate each protégé in the acquisition of skills, knowledge and ways of thinking that will promote his/her individual development as a scholar and a thinker. In addition the program offers each protégé psychosocial support that is relevant to possible work, career, and professional advancement in life beyond the baccalaureate. Protégés are selected from social science fields applicable to educational research such as anthropology, psychology, sociology and public health. Aspiring protégés should have achieved junior status, be eligible for work/study financial aid, and evidence a commitment and interest in their own personal and professional growth. Native proficiency in a language other than English spoken in San Diego public schools is highly desirable. The prospective protégé must make a one-year commitment to the program.

The keystone of the program is the development of an authentic professional and personal relationship among the protégés and between each protégé and his or her mentor. The mentoring relationship is guided by this mentor’s commitment to an ethic of caring (Noddings, 1984). The Pre-College Institute (PCI) mentoring model aims to create a safe, open environment in which each protégé can both learn and try things for him- or herself within the guidelines of the selected evaluation research paradigm. The PCI model also offers protégés the opportunity to work in an apprentice role to an experienced educational researcher.

Commitment to Research: Protégés for the 2009-2010 academic year will engage in qualitative educational evaluation sponsored by a subcontract to the Mentor from UCSD and funded by the United States Department of Education.

The research seeks to establish the effectiveness of a four-stage professional development model for science teachers. The subject matter focuses on bio-engineering at the molecular level and specifically deals with transformation of DNA and the protein purification using fluorescent proteins developed by Dr. Roger Tsien’s laboratory at UCSD. Dr. Roger Tsien is this year’s Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.

Training: Protégés participate in observational trainings on campus and at UCSD. They attended weekly team meetings that are conducted on the graduate research seminar model. All protégés must maintain excellent attendance at trainings and at the weekly seminar meetings and show growth in their ability to observe instructional interaction between teachers and students and between trainers and teachers at the training sessions. During the second semester those protégés who have completed one semester of research training will be placed with science teachers in Sweetwater Schools who have participated in the professional development model.

Outcomes: Protégés are expected to produce a professional presentation and a paper at the end of their third semester with the program.


Dr. Park

School of Teacher Education

Office: EBA-221
Mail Code: 1153
p. 619-594-7124
f. 619-594-7828