An initiative of President Jere W. Morehead, the UGA Mentor Program was established in 2019 to connect students and alumni at The University of Georgia. The Mentor Program allows students to search for and select a mentor based on their profile in the database. When a mentoring pair is established, the student benefits from the wisdom shared by a graduate who has taken the journey they are now navigating. The program includes both mentees, UGA students: undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and mentors: UGA staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the University (Board members). Since the program’s launch, over 2,000 students and 2,400 mentors have registered and more than 1,500 mentoring relationships have been created.
At The Georgia Way, we have seen many of the goals of the UGA Mentor Program play out in the ways students and student-athletes have been supported in developing their personal and professional networks with UGA alumni and friends. The program has provided an avenue for students to explore professional goals, career interests, and workplace preferences. It has also helped students gain an appreciation for mentoring as a personal and professional development tool and inspired alumni and friends to strengthen their relationship with and support of the University.
With the help of The Georgia Way’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee’s President, Wesley John, UGA Athletics is hoping to get more student-athletes involved with this mentor program. Wesley created an infographic on how to get started with the UGA Mentor Program, see below:
As shown by Wesley John, getting started is easy. Simply create a profile on our digital platform, attend a quick orientation, then instantly begin searching for a mentor using a variety of search criteria including: identity, industry, major, location and more. If you’re not sure where to start, there are guidelines, icebreakers and resources on the UGA Mentor Program site to guide you along the way.
What’s the commitment?
- 16-week mentorship (1-2 hours per month)
- Informational interviews (20-30 minutes)
- Ask questions, be curious
- Express gratitude
Informational interviews more your style?
If a 16-week mentorship doesn’t suit your schedule, connect with a UGA Mentor for a 30-minute conversation around work, life and career. You may even find that you two would make a good mentoring match.
How are students and mentors connected?
- Using the UGA Mentor Program online platform, students and mentors will each complete a profile. After students complete their profiles, the platform will present students with 3 suggested mentors.
- Students may request a mentor from this list, or they can search for a different mentor based on available search criteria to narrow down the selection.
- Once the student requests a mentor, the UGA mentor has the opportunity to either accept or decline the request, establishing mutual ownership in the mentorship connection process.
- Also, as of November 2020, students can connect with a UGA mentor to conduct an informational interview (20-30 minutes).
What is the purpose of an informational interview?
- The purpose of the informational interview is to provide UGA students with another opportunity to spend time with experienced alumni professionals in their career field of interest.
- Also, they may be useful in a graduate or professional school search, as you seek to find the best program fit for your academic and professional goals.
- These quick connections also offer a wonderful opportunity for students and alumni to have an interview to determine if the two of them are a good fit for a 16-week mentorship.
Who can see my profile information?
Students cannot view other students, and alumni cannot search student profiles. Once a student makes a mentoring request, that individual alumni will be able to view the student’s profile in order to determine if they believe the mentoring connection is a good fit.
What are the five stages of mentoring relationships?
- Initiation: Where rapport and trust are established
- Goal setting: The purpose or goals of the relationship are established
- Progress making: Marked by an interchange and learning
- Winding up: The dyads review what they have achieved and their plans to move forward, either independently or together
- Moving on: From the mentoring relationship; how mentors and mentees decide to interact together in the future, if at all
Clutterbuck, D. (2014). Everyone needs a mentor. 5th ed. London: CIPD Press.
What ethical considerations are suggested as a starting point for mentoring relationships?
- Autonomy – Promote independence and knowledge
- Beneficence – Increases well-being
- Fidelity – Keeping confidences
- Non-malfeasance – Do no harm
Johnson and Nelson (1999)
Where should our mentorship meetings occur?
All in-person meetings should take place in a public location, such as a coffee shop. Meetings can also take place via phone or video chat.
If I do not reside in Athens, Georgia, may I still participate in the UGA Mentor Program?
Absolutely! This is a global program without geographic boundaries; students and alumni of UGA living anywhere in the world are strongly encouraged to participate. Students and mentors can connect via numerous channels: 1) In-person, 2) phone, 3) email, or 4) video chat.
What activities and discussion topics should mentees and mentors engage in?