The feather – Edith Piqueray

A Feather in Your Cap: the feather is a prize passed on from one UAntwerp colleague to another in recognition of their efforts or achievements. This time, Michel Corthaut (Interior Architecture Department) passes the feather on to Edith Piqueray (Team Equal Opportunities and Diversity).

Dear Edith,

This might surprise you, because we’ve only met on a handful of occasions, but you definitely deserve ‘the feather’.

First and foremost, I know you as the face of the support platform Mentoraat Plus, as the person who sends out the many emails with invitations to faculty and inter-faculty consultation meetings, info sessions, in-depth sessions and follow-up meetings, or with suggestions for improvement, strategies for referral, and so on. I admit that I, as a mentor, haven’t always excelled at following up on all of this as I should have, and I was absent more than once.

But, Edith, I did manage to find some time now to put you, your team and this valuable initiative in the spotlight – as a way of compensating for my absence and neglect, you might say …

When Mentoraat Plus was fully rolled out across all UAntwerp faculties in 2018-2019, I was happy to be a mentor candidate. Your inspiring info sessions and expert involvement motivated me to join, and still motivate me to this day. To all my colleagues with teaching assignments, I can highly recommend mentoring one or more academically at-risk first-year students. This involves coaching and motivating students proactively, and following their learning path very closely. You’ve become an invaluable, approachable contact person for them, guiding them through their sometimes difficult transition from secondary to higher education. First-year students from disadvantaged groups especially need guidance, because for them, settling into a university learning environment is no easy feat. As a mentor and coach, I’ve experienced first-hand just how much of a difference we can make for these students. I’ve seen some of them really come into their own over the course of successive study programmes.

Together with your Diversity Team, you manage Mentoraat Plus centrally from the University and Community Department, and you do it with passion! You deliver tailor-made work that’s managed to perfection, from selections, invitations and first meetings with students to mentoring contacts, sessions to follow up on goals, individual progress meetings, and referrals.

Mentors are also supported at the faculty level. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to also thank Sabine De Clercq, the Diversity and Equal Opportunities team member in our faculty, for her unwavering commitment to students and the great moments of collaboration we’ve shared.

Edith, my thinly veiled attempt to promote Mentoraat Plus here is mainly intended to shine a light on your passionate work, mostly carried out behind the scenes. It’s also a subtle nudge for you to continue doing this, together with your team and faculty colleagues, in an inspiring way. I wish you all the success in the world for the future, and I hope that you can achieve this together with a vast legion of inspiring mentors. Our students will benefit tremendously from this!

P.S.: In light of my early retirement, I would like to be excused from the next Mentoraat Plus consultation meetings.