Information for Supervisors

In an effort to help our new Student Affairs staff members connect with and learn from staff across campus, we encourage you to consider incorporating mentoring as part of the onboarding process.  We suggest identifying a mentor in a similar role within the Division, outside of your department.  If you need assistance in identifying a potential mentor, consult with Alicia Caudill and/or Michael Duncan for suggestions. 

Once you have chosen a mentor and confirmed with them, let Alicia or Michael know who you've paired up!  If the mentor and your new staff member need more details about the benefits or expectations, refer them to the mentoring resources listed below.

Information for New Staff

If you have not been provided with a mentor and would like one, we encourage you to discuss this with your supervisor.

Benefits of Participating
Time Commitment
Guidelines for Mentors/Mentees
Activities & Other Ideas
Additional Resources

Benefits of Participating

MENTORS - By serving as a mentor there is satisfaction in the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with someone else.  Mentoring can provide you an opportunity to make a lasting impact in the field as well as increase your own personal involvement within the Division and College.
Other benefits of serving as mentor include:

  • Spending time with new professionals may help keep you fresh and trendy within your own department
  • Exposure to new ideas, educational methods, technologies, and perspectives through conversations with mentee
  • Opportunity to experiment and develop professional skills
  • Ability to fine tune your skills as an evaluator, practice the act of effectively communicating expectations, and hone ability to build rapport and foster an effective learning environment
  • Allow you to make lasting relationships and to foster collaboration and education across the division and the entire college community
  • A sense of accomplishment in helping someone professionally
  • Ability to pass a legacy of information and history to the next generation of employees
  • Increased professional contacts
  • Utilizing coaching, communication, and counseling skills
  • Enhanced reputation through a demonstration of commitment to the organization
  • Opportunity for personal reflection

MENTEES – A new professional will benefit from professional guidance as well as important information that only an experienced staff member can provide. The Division of Student Affairs and The College have numerous units and departments whose complexity can be daunting without the proper perspective. It can be an opportunity to gain insight as to the inner-workings of all of the Division, the campus, and the community. Mentors will also be able to help give advice and insight about long term goals within the field of student affairs.
Other benefits of having a mentor include:

  • Make lasting relationships and to foster collaboration and education across the division and the entire college community
  • Ability to receive constructive feedback and become more accepting of other’s opinions
  • Gain new ideas, technical expertise, interpersonal and managerial skills
  • Increased achievement as a result of being encourage to reach for higher goals and take educated risks
  • Self confidence in decision making within the organization
  • Gain insight on the culture of the organization that could never be attained without personal time and experience invested
  • Gain a relationship with a person who can serve as a role model, a sounding board, to give feedback on personal and professional goals and ideas, a source of stability when facing new challenges
  • Networking and increasing professional contacts
  • Increased competencies and stronger interpersonal skills
  • Assistance in identifying weaknesses and how to address them

What is the Time Commitment?

Since each mentoring relationship will be unique, the time commitment involved will be worked out between the mentor and mentee.  Ideally, we suggest meeting in-person five times within the mentee's first four months: two meetings the first month and once a month for the next three months.  If in-person isn't always feasible, consider sending a quick email check-in once or more per month.  Hopefully relationships form during that time and will continue beyond those first few months.


Guidelines for Mentors

  • Take the initiative in the relationship. Invite your mentee to meet with you, suggest topics to discuss, ask if you can offer advice. The mentee should be led through a productive personal assessment: identifying strengths, weaknesses, skill development needs, career expectations and objectives.
  • Together, the mentor and mentee should establish expectations and goals.
  • Both the mentor and mentee should receive feedback from her/his counterpart in the relationship.
  • Raise questions such as “What do you want to get out of this mentoring partnership?” and “Where do you want to go in your career/life?”
  • Listening attentively is a big part of effective mentoring, and minimizes distractions while meeting.
  • Make observations or suggestions, and offer advice tentatively.
  • Avoid making judgments or issuing evaluative statements.
  • Be explicit that you are only offering suggestions that should be weighed along with advice and ideas received from other coaches or mentors.
  • Respect the privacy and time commitments of your mentee.
  • Maintain the strictest confidence about anything that your mentee says to you.
  • Introduce and expose your mentee within your own professional circle and to circles outside the university community as relevant. Networking goes beyond mentor/mentee; mentor actively seeks opportunities to introduce mentee to those with similar job descriptions and/or interests.
  • In public conversations in which your mentee’s name surfaces, make only positive or neutral comments about your mentee.

Guidelines for Mentees

  • Be motivated to learn from your mentor. Take responsibility for your own growth and success.
  • Be flexible with your mentor in setting up meetings. If you are having a difficult time matching your mentor’s schedule.
  • Be open and honest with your mentor. Discuss parameters of confidentiality in your relationship in the first meeting so that you can develop a feeling of trust.
  • Work with your mentor to come up with professional development and other topics of interest before each meeting.
  • Be prepared to ask for and give feedback. Recognize that you have insights to share from your previous positions and/or institutions.
  • Take charge of forming your own professional network. Follow through on referrals from your mentor and search out other partners as appropriate.
  • Follow through on referrals from mentor to appropriate office for specific information when appropriate.


  • Set expectations and establish how often you will met, how you like to receive feedback, what you hot to gain from the partnership.
  • Take time to get to know one another, learn each other’s work and communication styles, hobbies, interests, and future plans.

Activities & Ideas/Suggestions

  • If possible, try to meet once a month, even if it’s over coffee or lunch. Try picking the same date and time each month and going ahead and blocking it on your calendar.
  • Attend College and Division meetings and events together. Some suggested specific to College of Charleston include:
    • Town Hall Meetings (attend together and then meet to reflect and follow up)
    • Student Affairs Breakfast (Fall) and Salute to Student Affairs (Spring)
    • Student Affairs Staff Development Programs
    • Faculty senate meetings
    • Athletic Events
  • Tour the campus together
  • Visit various departments on campus
  • Introduce mentee to other faculty and staff
  • Explain some of the college resources
  • Discuss various employee events and accompany your mentee to them
  • Review the College’s and/or Divisions mission, vision, values and strategic priorities
  • Discuss each other’s background  and professional development/career goals

Topic Suggestions

The following are topics or activities that you and your mentor/mentee can discuss and explore together during your meetings.

  • Student Affairs:  What are the departments in Student Affairs, what is the organizational chart of Student Affairs, how does Student Affairs at College of Charleston differ from other schools, discuss the strategic plan and how each department contributes to them.
  • Professional organizations:  what is the mentee currently participating in and what other organizations exist
  • Networking: understanding the reasons to network and identify who you need in your network 
  • Building community on campus, community outreach and giving back
  • Mapping out a career path
  • Learn together/explore together:  Share and discuss an article related to our work, tour each other’s departments, visit a new place on campus
  • Leadership/Professional Development:  Explore ways to be involved across the division.    

Additional Resources

Mentoring Articles

Using Mentoring as a Part of Professional Development

Book Review - the Mentee's Guide

Developing a Successful Peer Mentoring Relationship

Mentoring in the Changing Academy

Mentoring v. Supervising

New Approaches to Mentoring