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ASU's Commission on the Status of Women creates staff mentoring program

April 10, 2014

Ask any successful leader about how their career developed and many will reference the impact of mentors in their lives. Now, thanks to the ASU Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), there is a university-wide mentoring program in place to provide mentoring opportunities for all staff.

The CSW Staff Mentoring and Development Program pairs experienced and excelling staff members with staff who are interested in developing their career and leadership skills. The program is structured to provide support, networking opportunities and professional development training to help staff members develop their careers and become advanced contributors to the New American University.

According to Karen Engler-Weber, the CSW’s senior coordinator, the program was developed after extensive research into the availability of staff mentoring programs at all public/state universities nationwide, with a specific focus on looking at ASU’s peer and aspirational institutions.

“In our work with staff, we were frequently hearing about the desire for mentoring opportunities," Engler-Weber said. "This prompted us to look into the feasibility of developing a mentoring program, but we didn’t want to just patch something together; we wanted to build a model program that would provide both mentoring and development training.

“We looked at every university in the country to see what type of mentoring opportunities were available for staff, and found that while mentoring programs existed sporadically – mainly through individual colleges or units – overall, there are very few universities nationwide that offer a university-wide staff mentoring program.”

Of the mentoring programs that did exist, the CSW researched and conducted interviews with them to learn about best practices and the challenges of such programs.

From there, the CSW continued to research mentoring practices, and began to work with mentoring consultants from HR’s Leadership Workforce and Development group. The result was the construction of a program that provides monthly mentoring meetings, as well as special development training that focuses in part on identifying strengths and skills, and promoting those skills.

The program utilizes the book “Strength Based Leadership,” which includes a valuable online assessment. This is the same book that is utilized in the LINAU program. In addition, the program also features some unique programming, such as “Table Talk with an Administrator,” which provides an informal opportunity to learn about the career development of a university leader.

“With this CSW program, ASU now becomes one of the very few universities in the country to offer a university-wide staff mentoring and development program. It’s very exciting!” remarks Engler-Weber. “The program is designed to help staff members learn more about the university, and to help them have a long-term career at ASU, in their current position or for positions in the future.”

The CSW ran the first cycle of the staff mentoring program in summer 2013 for a select group of nominated participants from a select group of colleges. The program ran for four months, had 20 mentoring pairs across all campuses and featured three development programs. Although the first cycle of the program was smaller and shorter, the positive impact of the program was clear. Eighty-seven percent of participants indicated that the program increased their self-confidence professionally, while 94 percent of program participants found the experience beneficial to their career.

As one mentee participant noted, “The CSW Staff Mentoring Program increased my awareness of who I am as a leader, my professional network and my motivation for being a leader within ASU.”

But it wasn’t just the mentees who found the experience rewarding; mentors in the program reported the experience to be very positive. As one mentor remarked, “I am proud to have been a part of the CSW Mentoring Program. I have created new friendships with colleagues on campus, and the program gave me a chance to encourage other staff members to be proud of the work we do at ASU. Sun Devil pride!”

“It was clear from the feedback, that the program provided important opportunities for not only the mentee, but the mentor as well. The program provides an opportunity, as well as resources and structured support, for a mentor to develop their mentoring skills. A prospective mentor does not need to have previous mentoring experience to be part of the program” says Engler-Weber.

The CSW Staff Mentoring and Development Program is open to all university staff.

Heard enough? Interested in being part of the program? The CSW is now accepting applications for both prospective mentees and prospective mentors for the next cycle of the CSW Staff Mentoring and Development Program to begin in summer 2014. The program will run from June through December. As part of the program, mentors/mentees will meet once a month, and there will be four development programs across the program cycle.

The application deadline has been extended through April 30.

To learn more about the program (including anticipated time commitments) and to download the application materials, visit the CSW’s website. You can also contact the Karen Engler-Weber at