By Kisha LoBianco
Student and Alumni Affairs Senior Manager
January is National Mentoring Month. Becoming a mentor or a mentee can be helpful for identifying and achieving your academic and professional goals; it is also a good way to establish a professional network.
At the University, our mentoring platform, ClearPath, lives in the University Directory. We created the University Directory in 2015 to help students form connections with their peers and to encourage University community engagement beyond the online classroom. Currently, the University Directory features 40,000 users.
I love to teach and train. Being able to pass on knowledge and skills to more people gives me a great sense of accomplishment. This is why I choose to mentor.James Patton
Mentoring enables members of our University community to create positive, meaningful relationships designed to support their academic, personal and professional interests. Forming a network can be critical to achieving academic goals, developing professionally and achieving personal successes. Our mentoring program helps our students achieve better success by building a community focused on goal development and achievement.
What Are the Benefits of Mentoring?
By forming relationships as mentors and mentees, ClearPath users build deep, personal connections within the University community. Mentors and mentees will not only grow professionally, but they can also build skills useful to their work environments, such as enhanced oral and written communication and strong leadership.
Today’s work environment is undergoing many changes, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift by many organizations to remote work. Consequently, workers have to adapt quickly.
Creating a network within ClearPath enables users to gain useful guidance and wisdom, especially from other people in the same industry. This mentoring can be as simple as having a conversation with someone a few steps ahead of you in your academic or professional journey. Mentors can also provide an opportunity to converse with someone who has a different perspective, shedding new light on various situations.
Networking and mentorship in ClearPath are key to building a strong University community. This platform connects students, aspiring professionals, graduates and established professionals working in their respective fields.
ClearPath is a great place to build and nurture connections at the University. The matching system within this online platform helps users to easily find other members with the same interests and goals. Other benefits to joining ClearPath include increasing one’s confidence in navigating the online learning environment and being exposed to alternative perspectives.
Becoming a Mentor
Outstanding graduate students and alumni are invited to join the ClearPath mentoring program as mentors. Through a simple search, you can find people who:
- Are located near you
- Are taking classes for the same academic program
- Possess similar academic/professional credentials
In addition, you can also connect with alumni who have graduated from the University or who have completed academic programs from other educational institutions. These alumni may be in the same industry or profession as you, and they may possess similar interests.
Mentors can expand their personal and professional relationships, and they can share helpful knowledge and advice with their mentees. Mentors also obtain recognition from the University, including:
- Profile features in our monthly newsletter
- Invitations to share insights on university panels
- Recognition certificates
- Various university awards and other recognition experiences
We are grateful for our mentors and their support of the University’s community. We take pride in their spirit of service and leadership.
Getting the Most Out of the Mentoring Relationship
The University works hard to help the ClearPath community to build relationships. Here are a few ways that our team encourages ClearPath participants to get the most out of their relationships:
- Featured Mentors: Certain mentors are featured monthly, showcasing those willing to give back to the University community by sharing their own academic, professional and personal experiences. It’s our way to recognize our extraordinary community members and promote mentoring relationships on campus.
- The Interactive Discussion Guide: Interactive discussions facilitate conversations and help ClearPath participants to overcome the communication challenges of an online environment. The guide is in the form of a workbook that includes a series of conversation prompts and questions for consideration as you form a mentoring relationship and think about your personal, professional, and academic development.
- The Handbook: The mentoring handbook provides useful policies and information to assist with the development successful mentoring relationships.
- Surveys: We send out regular surveys to assess the effectiveness of our mentoring program. The feedback we receive is used to further improve the program.
Curious? Sign in to ClearPath today in your ecampus and browse the many mentors at the University!
Our Plans for 2023
At the University, we provide the opportunity for our students, staff, alumni, and faculty to form connections through networking events and other opportunities. In 2023, we will explore new methods of communications and training elements, as well as ways to share your unique experiences with mentoring and establishing community connections in a virtual space.
Have ideas? Send us an email at email@example.com.
We are incredibly proud of our mentoring relationships on campus, and we hope you will consider mentoring this month as a way to expand upon your future goals!
About the Author
Kisha LoBianco is the Senior Manager for the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs, focused primarily on the development of the University Directory, ClearPath mentoring and Alumni Relations. She plays a critical role in community engagement programming and events and is an event leader for Commencement, the Alumni Rally, and Virtual Homecoming.
In her current role, Kisha provides leadership and management for the day-to-day operations within the Student and Alumni Affairs team, supporting her team and the University community. Prior to joining the department, Kisha worked in the Finance Department at the University as the Senior Manager of Accounts Payable for almost 10 years, and she boasts over 25 years of experience working in customer service.