Components of Success – Staff to Student Mentoring

By: Paula Shipper-Cordaro, Director, The “Student-Staff Connection Mentor Program”, University

of California, San Diego, USA.


Mentoring is the sum of many parts: individuals, the mentor, and protégé, and the individual components that together create the process we call Induction. They fit together somewhat like a puzzle. The positive results stand individually while creating a collective whole. This article will present and analyze the positive
contribution of important individual components of mentoring and induction.

I. Staffing – Use of staff, faculty, and employees as Mentors.

In the book, “1001 Ways to Reward Your Employees”, Bob Nelson states that the most important way to ensure employee satisfaction is not by gifts or monetary bonuses, but to make them feel important; valuing their opinion and contribution. By becoming a mentor, an individual is chosen and recognized by the institution as a valued person with skills, qualities, and information to pass on to a protégé.

Becoming a mentor contributes to the individual and organization in the following ways:

1. Gives the mentor a sense of responsibility and importance.
2. Gives recognition to the Mentor in a formalized process The mentor may have been informally mentoring for years.
3. Recognizes the mentor as a valued, loyal, knowledgeable member of the organization.
4. Gives supervisors an understanding of formal time spent between mentors and protégés.
5. Builds resumes in staff development and staff training for the mentor.
6. Creates self-esteem within the mentor, promoting a positive work environment leading to retention.

II. Retention

1. Improving a student (protégé) or staff member (mentor) self-esteem and performance often results in retention at the institution or job site.

2. Research shows that most students leave an institution not because of academic problems, but because of personal concerns. Mentoring programs can provide them with a caring individual who can help them with many issues, guide, and direct them if they need support. Research also shows that happy students who stay and graduate become happy contributing alumni.

3. An employee involved in mentoring, either as mentor or protégé, tends to be committed and loyal; wants closer contact to the company, to learn the ropes, and to become a more valued employee. Many business mentoring programs require a signed agreement and timed commitment. Employees who stay on the job contribute to increased production, saving time and money in staff turnover and training.

III. Fundraising

Fundraising for mentor programs is positive to many sponsors. The process of mentoring is a win-win situation for all participants; a positive endeavor offering mutual improvement and responsible relationships. It is not a controversial topic to sponsor where people have differing opinions. Mentoring is a process that improves all, uplifts individuals, creates self-esteem, and teaches self-responsibility. No wonder organizations enjoy sponsoring mentoring programs.

IV. Visual Process of Mentoring

Most mentoring programs have publicly displayed Mentor certificates for each year of participation. This visual aspect of the program has its advantages:

1. Publicly acknowledges the program across the campus or institution.
2. Public recognition for mentors.
3. Silent recruitment tool for program for future mentors and protégés.
4. Gives the visual aspect of caring and positive relationships through silent advertisement.


V. Program Features

All mentoring programs have common features that help them to be successful. United Way of America has listed ten major components which they look for when they evaluate mentor program funding proposals. They are guidelines followed at the Student-Staff Connection Mentor Program at the University of California, San Diego. Does your program have the following?

1. A statement of purpose and long range plan.
2. A recruitment plan for both mentors and participants.
3. An orientation for mentors and participants.
4. Eligibility screening for mentors and participants
5. A readiness and training curriculum.
6. A matching strategy and process for dealing with any mismatches.
7. A monitoring process.
8. A support, recognition, and retention component.
9. Closure steps.
10. A program evaluation process.

The mentoring process is a sum of many parts. Since mentoring is of universal benefit to everyone involved, it is important to understand these components and utilize them to benefit each institution and organization. Through mentoring, we celebrate the power of just one person to make a difference. Through directing mentoring programs, we realize the importance that each component plays in the process.