Innovation Research & Training Partners with UMass Boston  to Present Course on Mentoring Youth in the Age of Digital Media

January 27, 2014

DURHAM, NC—Dr. Janis Kupersmidt, president of innovation Research and Training (iRT) has been selected to serve as a panelist for a short course on youth mentoring in the digital age.
Developed by Dr. Jean Rhodes, director of the University of Massachusetts Boston Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, the course will be held on Wednesday, January 29 in Arlington, VA. Participants are expected from across the country.

Mentoring Youth in the Age of Digital Media is a day-long intensive course that provides mentoring researchers and practitioners with a series of expert lectures and group discussions to deepen their capacity to train, provide ethical guidelines, and supervise volunteer mentors working with youth around social media issues. Course participants are eligible to receive Continuing Education Units in social work.

With the increasing presence of social media, mentoring programs are finding themselves in the position of having to create policies, monitor use, and make decisions around ever-expanding social media platforms. While some programs have simply banned its use, others are finding that social media provides valuable and untapped channels of communication. Currently, few guidelines exist regarding the responsibilities and obligations of both programs and adult mentors around the use of social media, or even clear consensus as to what they should be.

“The goal of this workshop is to present research from leading experts in ways that initiate a dialogue with practitioners, resulting in a set of practical and ethical guidelines around best practice for mentoring in the digital age,” said Dr. Rhodes.

Leading experts will discuss the practical, developmental, and ethical issues involved in mentoring in the digital age. Presenters include Dr. Kaveri Subrahmanyam, professor of psychology, California State University, Dr. Rachel Tunick, staff psychologist, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Karen Zilberstein, LICSW, adjunct associate professor, Smith College School for Social Work, among others. Dr. Kupersmidt will head a panel discussion titled Revising the Elements of Effective Practice to Incorporate Digital Media. She will be joined by Sarah Kremer, program director, Friends for Youth Mentoring Institute.
During the course, researchers will unveil the results of an international study of the use of social media in youth mentoring programs and discuss their implications for program practice and policies. The concluding discussion of the short course will be chaired by Dr. Kupersmidt and Ms. Kremer to focus on recommendations for future research and program practices.

“We are pleased to partner with UMass Boston on this important work,” said Dr. Kupersmidt. “Dr. Rhodes has gathered an impressive group of researchers and experts in the field of youth mentoring. It is our hope that we can come away from the course with a set of revised ethical guidelines as well as practice and research recommendations in youth mentoring that will include the growing presence of social media.”

About the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring

The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring is a joint venture between MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. The Center is designed to create the open and efficient exchange of ideas for the advancement of youth mentoring research, practice, and policy in ways that ensure that ideas are properly interpreted and implemented.

About Innovation Training & Research

Innovation Training & Research (iRT) is a behavioral sciences research company committed to identifying and solving significant real-world problems facing children, families, communities, and organizations. By using evidence-based and culturally sensitive methods, iRT researchers investigate, develop and evaluate behavioral, educational, psychological, social, and community assessment, prevention and treatment programs and services with the highest professional standards of excellence. Our staff includes experts in basic and applied research in a wide variety of areas, including of substance abuse prevention and treatment, youth mentoring, social and emotional development, mindfulness education, media literacy education, pregnancy prevention and sexual health, child and adolescent mental health, adult and juvenile justice programs, drug courts, drugged driving, tobacco use and underage drinking. For more information about iRT, visit us at

Media Contact: Yvette Ruffin, APR
Director, Marketing and Communications
Innovative Research & Training