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What to expect with

the Spears Mentoring Program
Mentors will work with their student proteges to learn more about their career goals and professional endeavors. Over the course of a semester, mentors will meet with their student protégé at least once a month to discuss various professional and career-related topics.

How to be a good mentor

Do:

  • COMMIT AT LEAST ONE INTERACTION/HOUR OF SUPPORT per month.

  • Set aside time for the mentoring process and honor all appointments.

  • Invite the protégé to meetings or activities, as appropriate. Schedule meetings with planned topics.

  • Be flexible on meeting times and places.

  • Arrange frequent contacts through telephone, e-mail, face-to-face, etc., as appropriate.

  • Respond to emails from your protégé within 2 days of receipt.

  • Keep information that your protégé has shared with you confidential.

  • Establish open and honest communication and a forum for idea exchange.

  • Foster creativity and independence. Help build self-confidence and offer encouragement.

  • Provide honest and timely feedback to your protégé.

  • Provide opportunities for the protégé to talk about concerns and ask questions.

  • Above all, LISTEN.

Don't:

  • Try to give advice on everything.

  • Encourage protégé to be totally dependent upon you.

  • Provide your personal history, problems, animosities, successes, failures, etc., unless they are constructive contributions.

  • Be too busy when the protégé needs your friendship or your support. If you do not have time, give the protégé a heads up, so that they know when they can reach you.

  • Criticize.

  • What are the expectations of a mentor?

    Mentors are expected to provide their protégé with at least one hour of support and interaction per month. Most of this interaction will take place via email, phone, text or face-to-face, as appropriate. Mentors should work with their protégé to determine what kind of support will be most useful—specific feedback related to finding jobs, general career advice, information on higher studies, technical information, personal encouragement, and so on.

  • How long will the commitment be?

    The mentor/protégé connection is for four months. The connections are made at the beginning of the spring (mid-January) and fall (mid-August) semesters. Mentors are asked to commit to the program for the full semester. If a mentor must leave the relationship early, we request at least one month's notice in order to search for a replacement mentor with similar background.

  • Are there any potential risks to me or my company?

    No. It is not appropriate for mentors to engage in any business transactions with their protégés; instead, the relationship should only involve the flow of general information and advice.

  • The relationship is not going well or I am concerned about mentorship, what to do?

    We encourage letting the protégé know about the situation and contact the administrator immediately. We will provide our full support to resolve the situation in a positive and satisfactory manner.

  • Tips for mentors
    • Set a schedule. Set a scheduled call every two weeks. Set calendar appointment/task for an occasional check-in call or email.

    • Keep your scheduled calls. If you need to reschedule, please let your protégé know as soon as possible and provide them with possible dates/times for your rescheduled meeting. Respond to your protégé when they reach out to you via email or phone. If you do not respond, they may not try again (although that is their #1 tip – to call/email again and again until you respond). Remember, the students do not know you (yet!) and feel like they are bugging you or you are really busy and don’t have time for them if you don’t respond.

    • Be committed and willing to dedicate time to your protégé.

    • Set proper expectations. Know what you want out of the relationship and share that with your protégé.

      Know and share with your protégé how much time you have available for them this semester. Agree that this is acceptable for both of you. Complete the Mentoring Partnership Agreement (use as a guide at a minimum to help set expectations for your four-month connection period)

    • Discuss issues or concerns when they arise. Try to work it out with your protégé first. If that doesn’t work, let the Mentoring Program know as soon as possible so the issue can be addressed. Sometimes the mentor/protégé connection just isn’t a good match, and that is ok. It happens! Let the Mentoring Program  know as soon as possible to attempt to reassign both of you to new partners.

    • Use your resources books, podcasts and TedTalks are listed on the website. Utilize these and discuss with your protégé.

  •  Tips for your first meeting
    • Read your protégé’s profile on Chronus to learn about their field of study, interest, etc.
    • Read timeline document and come up with a few ideas to discuss with your protégé if they need assistance coming up with goals.
    • Discuss your schedule and how often you would like to meet.
    • Meeting times – Look at your calendar and set, at a minimum, your next phone call. If possible schedule out next several phone calls or in person meetings if relationship allows.
    • Determine goals for the semester and timeline for accomplishing them.
    • Confirm best contact information to use.
    • Agree to be candid. If the relationship isn't working, try to resolve, but if not possible, agree to contact ssmp@okstate.edu to seek a new protégé assignment.
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