NACOGDOCHES, Texas - This spring Stephen F. Austin State University's Rusche College of Business implemented a mentorship program to provide students with an additional resource outside of an academic setting.

This program matches members of the Rusche College of Business Executive Advisory Board with an SFA student based on the student's goals, the mentor's industry specialty and location, and personalities. Mentors advise and guide students as they advance in college and help students launch their careers.

"In this program, students have direct access to the skills and knowledge of highly successful individuals," said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Rusche College of Business. "The mentorship program provides a low-risk environment in which students can ask questions about professional development."

In this program, mentors and students schedule weekly phone conversations and meet at least twice during the semester. Discussion topics range from communication skills and teamwork to office and interview etiquette. Tiffany Jones, director of external relations in the Rusche College of Business, is highly involved with the program and explained its benefits.

"This program places students in the position to receive insight and advice from some of our most successful College of Business alumni," Jones said. "We hope that operating without the pressure of trying to secure a job from this experience will allow the mentors and students to develop relationships conducive to being open and honest about their questions, fears and personal development goals."

This program is not an extended job interview, Jones said.

"It is our hope that these relationships develop on a personal level and last beyond the requirements of this program," Jones said. "Our mentors are interested in helping students develop skills that will make them leaders in their field."

Currently, there are 11 students involved in the pilot program, which lasts one semester. Jones said she hopes to expand the pool of mentors to accommodate more students.

For more information, contact Jones at, or visit the dean's office in the McGee Business Building on the SFA campus.