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Information session set for mentoring programs

By Clara B. Cox

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 07 - October 6, 1994

Classified staff women who believe they can benefit from the experience of other university male and female faculty and staff in a mentor/protege setting and experienced university personnel willing to share their professional and personal knowledge are invited to attend one of two information sessions scheduled to explain the new Virginia Tech Pilot Mentoring Program.

The sessions will be held 12 noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12, in 1810 Litton-Reaves and Monday, October 17, in Room G, Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center.

"A mentoring program is one strategy for developing and enhancing people's talents and skills at various levels of the university. Mentoring provides a personalized and direct means of involvement and contact," said Rona Vrooman, leadership development specialist in Public Service Programs and a member of the steering committee for the new program.

Vrooman said the program will match a mentor with a protege for a given period of time. "The mentor and protege enter into an agreement designed to facilitate the learning, growth, and skill development of the protege. The mentor serves as a guide, coach, teacher, and role model for the protege," she said.

Ann Spencer, associate vice president for personnel and administrative services and a member of the steering committee, said the pilot program will operate under a $1,000 grant from the Affirmative Action Incentive Grants Program. Sponsors of the new program include the Virginia Tech Women's Network, the University Leadership Program, and Public Service Programs, which is a unit in University Outreach and International Programs.

Spencer said the goals of the project are "to sponsor and support professional development activities for staff women, to identify resource materials related to personal and professional development, and to establish a mentoring program for staff women at Virginia Tech."

According to Vrooman, mentoring can provide benefits to the mentor, the protege, and the university.

"The protege gains valuable on-the-job experience and receives constructive feedback. As proteges gain personal and professional insights, they become more self-confident and knowledgeable about the university.

"Mentoring allows senior, more experienced employees to share their knowledge and experiences with employees who wish to learn more about themselves and Virginia Tech. In the process, they review and upgrade their own professional skills and share their knowledge and expertise through the teaching/learning process," she said.

The university benefits, she explained, "because a mentoring program creates a positive organizational climate that encourages personal and professional development. It can lead to increased performance and satisfaction among the participants, which, in turn, will develop people for future challenges and opportunities. Ultimately, it can help the the university achieve its affirmative-action goals."

Spencer said the roles and responsibilities of both the mentors and proteges will be explained at the information sessions. "We hope classified staff women who want to be proteges and faculty and staff men and women who want to be mentors will attend one of the sessions."

For additional information, contact Vrooman at 1-9652 or VROOMAN on VTVM1.