Mentoring Program - General Information

Who is eligible to participate?
Any instructional academic staff member can be a mentee. Any instructional academic staff or ranked faculty member is eligible to be a mentor. This program is not open to non-instructional academic staff, classified staff or students.

Who is this program designed for?
The program is designed for both new and continuing instructional academic staff with goals developed to meet individual needs.

When will mentoring take place?
The application deadline is in September and January, with mentoring continuing through the academic year. Within the program, pairs set their own schedules and participate in formal and informal programming for as long as necessary.

Participants are encourage to attend workshops and seminars, which can serve as support networks for IAS.

Mentors are encouraged to provide feedback to the program coordinator at the end of the fall and the spring semesters.

Why does UW-L need an IAS mentoring program?
The are over 150 instructional academic staff members on the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse campus. IAS comprise one-third of the total instructional staff. Unlike ranked faculty, however, there is no standard description of how IAS are utilized across campus.

This great diversity can create isolation. Often new IAS members, and even experienced ones, have difficulty meeting other IAS, learning about the campus culture, and participating in professional development and service activities.

Instructional academic staff employment can have other complications. Some jobs are often a mixture of short-term and long-term employment opportunities. While one job may last for a semester, others can last for many years. Turnover is often high and there is no quick way to acculturate employees to the University. Mentoring is a way in which senior people can help junior colleagues become a part fo the University society and learn the ropes.

What are the benefits to participation in the program?

. . .the Mentee:
- successfully adjust to UW-L and become an active member of the university community
- learn the policies and procedures at UW-L
- learn how to negotiate within the academic culture
- network with other IAS & faculty colleagues and develop a support system within the college and UW-L

. . .the Mentor:
- promote collegiality through mentoring
- provide guidance and support for successful career enhancement and professional development for new instructional academic staff
- give guidance for career progression of new instructional academic staff members
- enhance the climate for quality teaching, service and creative endeavors

. . .the University:
- create a welcoming and supportive organizational culture that enables new instructional academic staff from diverse backgrounds to be successful at UW-L
- reduce impediments to career progression
- enhance the climate for quality teaching, service and creative endeavors
- identify resources to support teaching, professional development, and service activities

Do I know enough to be a Mentor? Have I been around too long to be a Mentee?
One of the major benefits cited by mentor and mentee alike is the chance just to listen or have a listener. And for many mentees, simply having a person to turn to when navigating the bureaucratic thickets is a big help. You need not have a vast storehouse of University knowledge to be of real help to another staff member, nor does a long acquaintance with one job mean you cannot benefit from having a mentor.

How does the program work?
The program coordinator (currently the IAS Liaison) processes all applications for mentors/mentees and facilitates the matching process. To help you get started, there will be an orientation session for all pairs in September and in January. This will give you an opportunity to meet with your prospective partner prior to establishing a formal relationship. If you are applying to this program as a mentor or mentee, it is important that you attend this session before you begin. Group activities like training sessions and brown bags provide a valuable network that extends beyond the mentoring pair.

Each mentoring pair then designs a program to meet established goals. Goals could range from the very specific (e.g., a computer skill) to the diverse (e.g., someone to bounce ideas off or an experienced hand to review a vita). This flexibility allows for mentoring relationships that may last only a short time, as well as relationships that will last much longer. Following the initial commitment, at the choice of the pairs, a relationship may end or may move to an informal level.

What kind of commitment is involved?
This program need not involve more than two hours per month. Pairs may wish to carry out their plans by such means as meeting regularly for coffee, or by attending group events together, or by semi-regular conversations - interspersed with email contact. Different plans work well for different people. The formal relationship is designed to last for the academic year, but the pair may choose to continue on an informal basis beyond that point.

How do I apply?
Applications are accepted throughout the year; however, pairing and orientation sessions take place only in September and January. If you are interested in becoming a mentee or a mentor, complete the form and return it to: Kerrie Hoar, IAS Liaison, 136 Wittich Hall. If you are submitting the form electronically, email it to

CLICK HERE to download the Mentoring Program Electronic Application.