Mentor Program

Short Description

Basic elements of a mentoring or big/little brother program

Target Audience

Membership Orientation Officer
Scholarship Chairman
Chapter Advisor

Borradaile Challenge or Area of Focus

Membership
Membership Orientation

Elements of a Succesful Mentoring Program

  • The mentor is a model of knowledge about the fraternity, community, school, traditions, expectations and resources.
  • The mentor’s role and tasks are activity-based, to ensure the associate member’s success in the program.
  • Mentor selection is based on experience, people skills and willingness to help.
  • Mentor/mentee matching is based on similarity in experiences, interests, and majors.
  • The mentoring process is a series of checklists to go through, activities to participate in, and knowledge to learn and use.
  • Mentor training is focused on defining info that new members need to learn and planning who will carry out each task.
  • Mentee training is focused on orientation to the chapter and school, to the fraternity’s expectations, and the need to initially defer to the wisdom of the mentor.
  • On-going mentor support is needed for reminders of expectations throughout the new member’s first year of membership within the fraternity, peer support, and building a shared vision and focus on academics within the chapter. Mentor support requires living out or modeling a learning community, so that mentors experience it and therefore share it with future members.
  • The mentor program coordinator role is an initial trainer and a monitor that mentoring tasks are completed.

Developing a Mentor Program

The Basics of Mentor Program Supervision
When matching up mentors, you must match from the point of view of the one being mentored first, and then take into account the older member’s preferences.

The first goal of program supervision is to make sure the mentor and mentee are meeting; FOR MENTORING TO WORK THE PAIR MUST MEET.

Active supervision and support is key for helping the mentor/ mentee relationship flourish.

A mentoring relationship that is allowed to fail, or closes quickly may reinforce a new member’s poor performance academically and within the chapter.

Matching Criteria

Mentoring programs must have a deliberate strategy for matching mentors with mentees. A poor match of incompatible members will be a factor in whether or not the mentoring relationship develops successfully. In setting up a selection process you should focus on four areas:

1. What screening criteria are in place for mentors? What are the minimum standards or skills required before someone is allowed to be a mentor?
At very least you should consider GPA, financial responsibility, behavior within the chapter, and study habits. The mentor selection process should not be as simple as saying “well, he’s a good brother and gets good grades, he’ll be a good role model.” Remember that you are identifying role models. These brothers should not only know what is expected of a member, but also follow it. The mentor should not only get good grades, but model good study habits and good behavior.

2. How flexible are you with your selection criteria and which criteria are most important?
Once you have identified the criteria necessary to be a good mentor, you must decide which will be weighted more than others. Each member will have areas in which he is stronger. You should decide which will be considered most important when matching mentors to mentees, and which you can afford to be lenient. You must also identify those criteria which the chapter should never bargain.

3. Is more weight given to the needs of to the new member who will be mentored?
It is the mentee who should be the focus of a mentoring program, therefore his needs should be considered first. It is important to have a mutually beneficial mentoring experience, however the potential mentor must remember that he will be providing a service to someone else, and thus the needs of that other individual are the most important factor in matching each pair.

4. Finally, who is ultimately responsible for deciding on the matches?
Is this person or are these people completely familiar with the needs of those being mentored and the goals of the program. Is he capable of being objective and logical in the selection process? What criteria are used to determine compatibility? Who decides on the compatibility of each pair and makes the final decision? Has the faculty advisor been involved in the entire process? Does each pair (mentor and mentee) understand their role?

The First Meeting

Once the mentor/mentee pair has been set-up it is important for the mentor to establish a foundation for the mentoring relationship. By establishing a sense of trust and comfort at the first meeting, the pair will be more likely to be a success. Encourage the mentor to hold the first meeting in as informal a setting such as dinner or lunch. The first meeting should be more about getting to know one another and less about providing the guidance and advice that will come in future meetings. The meeting should, however, accomplish the following specific items:

  1. Set up a regular schedule or time to meet
  2. Establish what is expected of the mentee
  3. Find out what expectations the mentee has of the mentor
  4. Set goals with the mentee for the semester

Supporting and monitoring the mentor program

As the primary supervisor of the mentor program, the scholarship chairman must ensure consistency in the program. This consistency must meet and follow the minimum expectations set forth from the chapter’s scholarship program and the BOG.

Scheduling

We have already established how important it is to ensure the mentoring pair is actually meeting. The question that naturally arises in response to this issue is; how do you make sure the pair is meeting? The simplest way to accomplish this is to insist that each mentor pair sets up a formal meeting calendar or decides on a regular meeting time and day. If there is no minimum expectation established for how often the pair meets, then there is no quantitative way to determine if the mentor is fulfilling his role.

Ground Rules

To avoid problems down the road and eliminate situations arising from misunderstandings, it is important that each mentor understands any ground rules the program has regarding their performance and behavior. You cannot hold someone to a standard or expect him to meet criteria if they do not fully understand what is expected of them. Once the mentors have been matched, but before the mentoring program starts the mentors should attend the first mentor meeting to discuss expectation, behavior, and job performance measures.

Mentor Meetings

It is also important for the mentors to meet among themselves on a regular basis. This give the mentors the opportunity to share situations, ask advice of other mentors, and report back to the group how they are performing as a mentor.

Assessing Success

At the conclusion of the semester, the chapter must make efforts to evaluate the successes and failures of its mentoring program. A mentoring program, like any programming should be a work in progress, continually improving as the chapter develops. As the supervisor of the mentoring program you should make efforts to match up goals with results, quantify the performance of the new members, and survey both mentors and mentees to qualitatively measure how effective the program is.

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