How Staff Mentorship Programs Help Employees Succeed on Campus
A closer look at the staff mentoring programs at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Brown University.
- University of Cincinnati
UC’s staff mentoring program, Mentor Me UC, first launched in response to a university climate survey which revealed that underrepresented groups, such as people of color and women, felt that they did not have opportunities for networking and career development. In UC’s program, diversity and cross-cultural engagement and experiences play a major role. The mentoring guidelines are relatively informal with pairs encouraged to maintain their relationship for nine months and work together to decide goals for themselves. It is up to the mentor and mentee to arrange meetings between themselves and decide what each wishes the gain from the relationship.
According to Shelly Sherman, coordinator of the mentorship program and executive director of Human Resources Business Partner, the program offers participants such a large degree of freedom to ensure that “people can bring their whole selves to work,” and they have the ability to work together to find out how best to capitalize on individual mentor-mentee relationships.
- Brown University
The mentoring program at Brown launched in 2016 with the intent of supporting employees’ professional development while also enhancing a culture of inclusivity. According to Judy Nabb, Brown’s director of learning and professional development, “While the program is not focused specifically on staff members from historically underrepresented groups, a formal mentoring program makes [such] opportunities more equitably accessible to all members of our community.”
When selecting mentor-mentee pairings, Brown requires participants to answer a questionnaire focused on their motives for participating and what they hope to gain from the program. From there, a committee goes conducts personal interviews and goes over the applications to determine who would make a good match. Alongside other factors, the program accounts for the preferences of their mentors and mentees during the matching process as many participants wish to work with someone of a similar background or with similar life experiences.
- The Success of Staff Mentoring Programs
While both programs are relatively new and therefore difficult to evaluate their long-term success, feedback from participants has been largely positive. At Brown, follow-up surveys have revealed very positive attitudes towards the fledgling program. 100% of mentee respondents rated the program as very or extremely effective, 91% indicated that the program helped them with their professional development, and 100% said that it helped them expand their network. While UC’s Mentor Me does not necessarily have quantifiable results, participants explain that while they want to “put success into metrics,” at the end of the day, the program is more about personal growth and becoming a better person at work.
This was a closer look at the staff mentoring programs out of the University of Cincinnati and Brown University. Interested in learning more about creating opportunities for professional development and inclusivity in higher education or looking for a consulting firm with experience working in higher education? Then don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at McKnight Associates, Inc. We are ready to offer you hands-on human resources consulting for colleges, universities, medical centers, and organizations of all sizes.