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Mentoring is a Lifeline

Dr. Lisa Fulks, Coordinator of the Master of Teaching and Master of Special Education (MAT/MASE) program for Campbellsville University, and the Option 6 component, emphasizes that mentoring plays a key role in helping walk graduate students to the finish line. Her Option 6 candidates are essentially teaching in the classroom while taking their coursework with CU, so to say they are given “on the job” training is an understatement.

Fulks speaks passionately about the bridge she helps build. “Our MAT/MASE candidates come from a variety of backgrounds. Most of them are not from the field of education, therefore the mentoring piece for those hired as teachers plays a critical role in their success. And it starts with our first conversations with them.”

She praises the School of Education admissions team in the service they provide as the first contact, and how professionalism and friendliness makes all the difference.

“I have had many students tell me that their first contact with Dominic and Dr. Flanagan helped them to choose Campbellsville over other schools. A majority of these students continue on with CU, attaining multiple degrees. We also have two former students who are now mentoring for the program after obtaining their doctorates. We currently have candidates in 92 public school districts in Kentucky and 5 private schools.”

The mentoring model Fulks oversees includes Blitz Days that review lesson and unit planning, school law, and assessments. These intensives are offered 3 to 4 times a year.

Mentor recruitment continues to grow, and Fulks presently has 12 new mentors who are current or former practitioners in their education specialty area. And, a new Google site has been created as a resource to help new candidates and mentors.

Former students praise the program. Scarlett Garrity says, “Having a mentor made a huge impact in how I teach my students. Dr. Fulks and Dr. Flanagan both helped guide me through my two degrees at Campbellsville University. They were both so easy to work with and taught me what I needed to know in order to become a caring special education teacher. Now, 8 years later, I am able to mentor other new teachers in my building.”

Whitney Lanham adds, “Dr. Fulks was the best university mentor for my Master’s program. With her leadership and knowledge, I was able to successfully obtain a teaching position and excel. Without the leadership of a successful educator and mentor, I am not sure I would have pursued teaching.”

Dr. Fulks is an Associate Professor of Education, completing her 18th year with CU (10 full-time and 8 as an adjunct). She is a former teacher, RtI (Response to Intervention) instructional coach, and school administrator in P-12. She resides in Louisville with her husband Tony. The couple have five sons and daughters-in-law, and eight grandchildren.