The goal of this program is to match students to veterinarians who practice in the field of medicine and in the geographic areas of interest to the student. This partnership should help the student with the everyday grind of attending vet school and also help guide him or her with career decisions. This partnership will allow the veterinarian to give back to students and the profession by sharing experiences and information as the student partner goes through school and heads into the real world of veterinary medicine. The partnership does not need to end after graduation; we hope that the relationships developed will continue by sharing life skills and professional information as new veterinarians move on in their careers.
Responsibilities and expectations for Veterinarian partners
What the Veterinarian partner brings to the program:
- Establish a trusting relationship and collaborative partnership.
- Elicit the perceived needs of the student partner, act as a sounding board, and help set realistic goals.
- Share experience in areas of interest to the student partner and real-life knowledge of recent trends and techniques
- Model high professional and moral character.
- Introduce and expose the student partner to new opportunities and contacts.
- Inspire the student partner to perform his/her best.
What does the Veterinarian partner gain:
- Enjoy a sense of pride when you see your student partner grow and succeed.
- Gain a sense of personal growth as a result of your interaction with your student partner.
- Refine your interpersonal skills and gain a sense of cultural diversity.
- Feel a sense of accomplishment as you know you have helped guide tomorrow’s leaders.
Mutual Responsibilities of the student and veterinarian: (from AAHA’s Mentee and Mentor Guidelines)
- Bring enthusiasm, optimism, sensitivity, unselfishness, and respect to the partnership.
- Make a commitment of time and energy.
- Strive to be open to new ideas and feedback.
- Maintain confidentiality when practice ideas, business numbers, or other private matters are discussed.
- Recognize that in the discussion of “goals”, those goals may include those of the student and of the veterinarian.
- Reschedule any meeting time that can’t be met.
- Periodically assess and celebrate progress.
- Periodically evaluate the partnership to see if it should continue, be modified or terminated.
- Understand that if for any reason the student or veterinarian elects to terminate the partnership, it may be done without the need to give reason and that it should be considered an amicable ending.
- Biannual reviews of the partnerships will be conducted by the Alumni Assoc., if for whatever reason the veterinarian or student partner are deemed not meeting expectations or the partnership is not working, said partnership may be dissolved by the Alumni Assoc.
Ways to enhance the Student-Veterinarian partnership:
- Attend Alumni Association events to facilitate in-person introductions/meetings.
- Keep in touch via phone and email regularly. Each partner should, at a minimum, email each other once monthly, but increased messaging is greatly encouraged.
- When possible, either in the Champaign-Urbana area or in the area where the veterinarian resides, try to schedule a social activity such as lunch or dinner, or visit the partner’s clinic or place of employment.
- Accompany your veterinarian partner to an educational meeting or networking event held by a professional organization to which the veterinarian belongs.