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APU Careers Careers & Learning Original

It’s National Mentoring Month: Become a Mentor or Mentee!

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By Kisha LoBianco
Student and Alumni Affairs Manager

This year, we celebrate the 18th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. Our mentoring platform, housed in the University Directory, was introduced in 2015, and we have formed many partnerships over the years. The mentoring program, ClearPath Mentoring, currently supports over 10,146 users, helping community members with insight and guidance around personal and professional growth.    

The University Directory has seen a lot of growth and changes. In 2020, it got a new interface, assisting users with a new entry pathway and onboarding experience. Mentoring program administrators can now also provide users with recommendations for mentor and/or mentee connections—helping to build meaningful community connections with direct assistance.

Working as a mentor has been a great way to not only share industry knowledge with a current student, but to help them make the appropriate academic decisions to reach their career goals. – Daniel Williams

The Benefits of Mentoring

Mentoring enables community members to create positive, meaningful relationships designed to support their academic, personal, and professional interests. This type of network can be critical to strengthening an individual, helping with academic achievements, professional development, and personal successes. The mentoring program serves as a catalyst for driving student success by building a community focused on goal development and achievement.

By forming relationships as mentors and mentees, ClearPath users build deeper connections within the university community. Mentors and mentees can not only grow professionally, but they can also build skills that are useful to their work environments, such as enhanced communication and stronger leadership skills.

Many mentors in the program note that we are living in turbulent times, with lots of changes in the workplace. These changes require employees and community members to adapt quickly—and most of all collaborate to achieve collective success. Networking and mentorship is the key to building stronger communities, as it connects students, aspiring professionals, graduates, and professionals working in their respective fields with guidance and wisdom.

ClearPath Mentoring is one of many places for building and nurturing connections at APU and AMU. The dynamic matching system within the mentoring tool is helping in finding community members with the same interests and goals.

Other benefits of joining ClearPath include increasing one’s confidence in navigating the online learning environment and being exposed to alternative perspectives.

Mentors

Outstanding graduate students and alumni are invited actively to join the program as mentors. Through a simple search you can locate mentors who are: near you, in the same academic program, with similar academic/professional credentials, those who have gone on to complete subsequent programs and AMU/APU or other academic institutions, in the same industry/profession, and with similar interests.

Mentors can expand their personal and professional relationships, and they can share helpful knowledge and advice with like-minded people. Mentors also obtain university recognition, such as profile features in our monthly newsletter, invitations to share insights on university panels, recognition certificates, and through various university awards and/or recognition experiences.

The University is grateful for mentors and community volunteers and for their continued support of the university community. We take pride in their spirit of service and leadership.

Mentoring Program Information

The University works hard to help build relationships between mentors and mentees. Here are a few ways that our team encourages ClearPath participants to get the most out of their relationships:

  • Mentoring Newsletters: A monthly newsletter is sent to all mentors and mentees. The newsletter shares program news, highlights mentors and mentees, and encourages users to partake in riddles and games.
  • Mentor Mondays: “Mentor Mondays” are a series of communications sent with weekly tips email to all mentors and mentees who make a new connection in the mentoring platform. It has icebreakers and tips, such as how the mentor and mentee can engage with one another, setting mentoring expectations, promoting student-life balance, goal-setting, and community engagement.
  • The Interactive Discussion Guide:  Interactive discussions help to facilitate conversation, and overcome communication challenges in an online environment. The resource, in a workbook format, includes a series of conversations and questions for consideration as you work through mentoring relationships—and think about personal, professional, and academic development.
  • The Mentoring Handbook: The mentoring handbook provides polices and information to assist with developing successful mentoring relationships for those in the program.
  • Mentoring Surveys and Feedback: Surveys are sent to help assess the effectiveness of the program, and to understand mentoring relationships. We actively work to improve the program.

Looking Ahead for Mentoring

As we begin 2021, we are currently working on many upcoming changes to the platform, such as onboarding enhancements, webinars, trainings and rebranding. We are also focusing on profile completion to improve mentor/mentee search results and connections.

Mentors play an important support role on our virtual campus, and mentoring is an amazing opportunity for students and alumni who are looking to get involved with the university and to enhance their leadership skills. Developing professional relationships is an essential element in one’s growth and evolution as a student and a professional.

Join us on January 20 at 7 p.m. ET to hear our Mentoring team share an overview of the mentoring platform and to answer any questions that mentors and mentees may have.

Kisha LoBianco is the Team Manager for the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs, focused primarily on the development of the University Directory, Mentoring, and Alumni Relations. Kisha plays a critical role in community engagement programming and events and is an event lead for Commencement, the Alumni Rally, and the Virtual Homecoming. In her current role, Kisha provides leadership and management for the day-to-day operations within Student and Alumni Affairs, assisting and support her team and the broader university community. Prior to joining the department, Kisha worked in the Finance Department as the Senior Manager of Accounts Payable for almost 10 years and boasts over 25 years of experience working in customer service.

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