Elmhurst College Alumni Mentoring

Elmhurst College is in a western suburban community of Chicago, Illinois. It’s a smaller liberal arts college, but it;s very comprehensive and they have big ideas and high standards. Take for instance, the College’s Center for Professional Excellence (CPE). It’s not just an office somewhere on campus. It is a full building with space and staff dedicated to helping their students with careers and related issues of professional life and the challenging transitions to it.

Dr. Larry Carroll and studentsDr. Larry Carroll (above right) is the Executive Director of this Center (CPE), He is also a professor in the College of Business and has an MBA, so he knows his “stuff”. He also knows personally, many of the college’s alumni who are in the business world and other fields of professional practice.

Dr. Carroll is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Mentoring Association and was awarded the status of “Director Emeritus” of IMA. As such you KNOW he understands and is committed to the dual mentoring tenents of best professional practice.

  1. Everyone deserves and needs a mentor to support their professional growth. The students of Elmhurst College have an opportunity to engage in the CPE Alumni Mentoring program that the CPE provides.
  2. Every mentor also benefits from involvement in mentoring by being challenged to articulate the nearly unconscious, but excellent things they do in their daily routines. When proteges observe their mentor and ask questions, the mentor has to reflect on exactly what they do and why and how, so it can be made accessible to the protege. That process leads mentors to ask themselves, “Why DO I do that? Why do I do it that way?”

The CPE Alumni Mentoring Program uses the interests, academic major, career goals, and other factors to identify, select, and match College alumni with Elmhurst College students who are approaching their last years at the College. Sometimes the alumni mentors are in business areas, but many are from across a wide spectrum of professional life.

The mentees meet with mentors and confer, self-assess, set goals, develop action plans, and are involved in many of the other  typical mentoring activities. But the mentees also shadow their mentor at work,and the program easily evolves into important internships, exposure to organizational life, and help students determine if their career plans will really make sense for their individual future.

So, in that sense, the Elmhurst College CPE Alumni Mentoring Program is really more than a support for the critical transition to a career, it’s also a means to help students make better, more practical choices as they think about their careers.

MENTOR PROGRAM SPECIFICS

The Mission of the Center for Professional Excellence Mentoring Program is development of students through self-formation and early professional preparation, the hallmark of The Elmhurst Experience. There are two parts to this element of student support:

  1. Short-Term Career Exploration
  2. Long-Term Professional Preparation

AN EXAMPLE MENTOR

(Taken from  his obituary on the College web site.)

Harold Pendexter

Mr. Pendexter was a college trustee,and mentor, chaired two college committees, and was the senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the USG Corporation, the Chicago-based Fortune 500 company.

Member of the Board of Trustees since 1998, Mr. Pendexter served as chair of the admission and human resources committees. He took an abiding interest in the professional development of Elmhurst staff and in the personal development of Elmhurst students. “He was a loving taskmaster who cared deeply about students,” says Lawrence B. Carroll, executive director of the Center for Professional Excellence. “He wanted students to work hard, and if they didn’t, he called them on it.”