A Brief History of the Unit
University College is the academic unit at IUPUI that provides a common gateway to the academic programs available to entering students. In its ongoing effort to coordinate existing university resources and to develop new initiatives that promote academic excellence as well as enhance student persistence, the Bepko Learning Center was formed. The Bepko Learning Center of IUPUI (formerly called the Student Mentor and Resource Center) is the culmination of the vision and courage of Dr. Herman Blake, Dr. Scott Evenbeck, Dr. William Plater, and Tonja Eagan. The program began in August 1991 based on the philosophies of supplemental instruction developed by Dr. Deanna Martin from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Supplemental instruction is based on the premise that students can play a key role in the academic development of their peers by being role models, by applying collaborative learning techniques, and by facilitating the group experience related to the course material.
The general philosophy of “students helping students,” which acknowledges that a powerful partnership for student success can be created through the collaborative efforts of peer mentors and support faculty, has been used to adapt and expand mentoring activities beyond its origins with supplemental instruction. This approach recognizes the need to identify high-risk courses, work around the complex schedules of mentors and students, and engage the cooperation of discipline faculty. Mentors are students who excel in the educational process, model “good” student characteristics, and care about the struggles and successes of those who strive to learn. As the program continues to grow and improve, enhancing the dynamic interaction between mentors, faculty, and the students they both serve is of paramount concern.