Mentorship Programs Report

By Megan Whitehead-Douglas

Students sitting in a group talking

STA 130 Mentorship Program

The STA 130 Mentorship program enters its fourth year with some changes to how we support the more than 800 students who participate in the program. All students taking the STA 130 course are provided peer support in the form of an upper-year peer mentor, one who shares their experience of learning how to navigate life at UofT select courses at our department, as well as surviving and thriving in Toronto.

This year, 20 mentors and two senior peer mentors will curate, plan and execute activities in collaboration with campus partners and student groups. By co-constructing and promoting activities which already occur, we can ensure our programming will fill any gaps – and connect our incoming students to valuable services, such as: the Career Education and Exploration Centre, the ActSci Club, the Stats Student Union (SSU), Sidney Smith Commons, and more.

Students will have access to biographies of our peer mentors, outlining their academic pursuits, as well as personal interests. This allows for STA 130 students to connect with a mentor they identify with. In response to growing on-campus anxiety, our mentors will be increasing their training to include SafeTalk and IAR, empowering them to safely intervene if a student is in potential danger. Peer mentors will also train with ELL colleagues to learn how to best connect with and support the specific needs of international students, which make up approx. 70 percent of the STA 130 class.

We’re also going online! In addition to face-to-face meetings and events we will be using Teams and SharePoint to connect with students online and “meet them where they are.”
Our hope is to continue building a welcoming, supportive statistical science community for our incoming students and develop our future leaders.

If you have any ideas for activities, events or conversation topics, please reach out to Megan Whitehead-Douglas,
First Year Learning Community (FLC)

First-year students interested in pursuing actuarial science are invited to apply for the Actuarial Science First Year Learning Community (FLC; pronounced "flick").
Approximately 30 students will participate in a bi-weekly program which helps them build community among their peers, and through targeted programming, learn more about life as a U of T and actuarial science student. Professor Vicki Zhang and Actuarial Science Administrator will work with two student leaders to provide the programming, engaging first-year students in learning and leadership opportunities. With foundational support from the Learning Communities Coordinator at the Faculty of Arts & Science, but tailored by the mentors, Actuarial Science Administrator and Professor Zhang, students will be provided accurate and timely engagement information, while building a network and community to last the next four years.  

Please email Actuarial Science Administrator with any ideas for presentation, activities or topics:

Second Year Learning Community (SLC)

The Statistical Sciences Department has been selected to join nine other departments in hosting a Second Year Learning Community (SLC; pronounced "slick").
This pilot program will support approximately 30 second-year students as they engage with two trained mentors in tailored programming which helps them navigate any complexities they might encounter after selecting their program of study in statistical sciences.
Programming is led by the Arts & Science Learning Communities Coordinator, with advising and input from two peer mentors, Professor Bethany White and Megan Whitehead-Douglas.

Each bi-weekly meeting will feature presentations, speakers and activities that are tailored to our students and focus on career support, well-being, exploration and building community and friendships. Programming will be a mix of academic and social and any ideas for topics are welcome. Please send ideas to Megan,