Believe UA was established in 2010, by Dr. Tim Hebson, The University of Alabama’s dean of students, and two graduate students, James Gannon and Brandon Pilot.
Believe UA was developed as a mentoring program to help boost confidence and self-efficacy among undergraduates in need of guidance. As The University of Alabama has grown and that growth has presented many exciting opportunities, there have also been challenges. With the growth of staff not increasing in correlation to the growth in students, the outcomes for all students have not been equally enhanced. The Believe UA program provides an essential connection point for students who need guidance, developmental supports, and conscious care during their early years at the University.
Students participating in the program enroll in HES 225: Academic Mentoring and meet in class with Hebson throughout the semester. The Believe UA course focuses on academics, social life, and financial management, in addition to physical and spiritual well-being. Outside of the classroom, students meet with their peer mentor frequently to foster their connection.
The premise of Believe UA is simple, and the outcomes have been highly successful. Believe UA targets two specific groups of students: student mentors and student mentees.
Student mentors come from diverse backgrounds and uphold ethical leadership behavior in their roles. They are trained in accountability, conflict resolution, effective communication, and leadership.
Believe UA matches student mentors who have learned the keys to success with those who may be having difficulty adjusting to life at the Capstone. Students are referred to the Dean of Students, meet with Hebson and his team, and are then intentionally matched with a peer mentor with whom the student shares some commonality.