Staff Resources

CUL Mentoring Program

Mentoring for Professional Development

The goal of the mentoring program is to assist the mentee in developing professionally. Therefore, the mentoring relationship should focus on achieving goals that have been identified by both parties. At the same time, mentoring should be flexible enough to adapt to changing needs as the relationship develops.


The mentoring program is designed to last up to one year, but it may be shortened if requested by the mentee. The first three months will be considered a trial period. At the end of that period, the mentoring relationship will be assessed in consultation with the program coordinator to determine if program and individual goals are being met and if the relationship is working for the mentee. If either the mentor or the mentee feels that the relationship is not working satisfactorily, either party may request a change with the program coordinator after the trial period. At that time, the program coordinator will make every effort to find another mentor. However, neither party should be made to feel such a request is a personal failure.

At the end of one year or the conclusion of the mentoring relationship, the mentee will meet with the program coordinator to determine if program goals have been achieved. Under certain circumstances the mentoring relationship may be extended beyond a year, but only after agreement with the mentor, the program coordinator, and the mentee's supervisor. The mentoring program will be evaluated by asking participants to complete an evaluation at the conclusion of the mentoring relationship. 

Unless warranted, mentors are only allowed to work with one mentee at a time.

All staff in the program (both mentors and mentees) should inform their direct supervisor of their involvement. The mentoring relationship and other mentoring activities may take place at various times, but staff should be allowed full participation in the program during working hours. At the same time, employees should be sensitive to assigned duties and coverage of public service areas when making appointments with their mentors or mentees. The mentoring program coordinator will send a letter to the mentee's supervisor notifying him/her of the mentee's official involvement in the program. Any conflict over involvement in the program should be directed to the program coordinator. Conflicts that cannot be resolved at that level should be taken, if necessary, to the Central University Librarian.


Both mentor and mentee must agree to the confidentiality of their discussions. Honesty, openness, and trust are important to the success of a mentoring relationship. Both mentor and mentee should be able to offer feedback to each other in order to make the relationship successful. Although negative feelings, complaints, and frustrations may come up occasionally, the mentoring relationship should not be viewed as a time for negative ventilation. Rather, the relationship should be based on constructive dialogue in which the goals of the mentee can be met. Mentors should be sensitive to the needs of mentees, and mentees should be willing to accept constructive feedback.  


Mentoring within a formal program should allow for flexibility while at the same time providing some structure that develops and maintains a commitment to the relationship. To that end, the following time elements are suggestions that should be agreed upon by both the mentor and the mentee. Meetings should be scheduled in advance rather than taking a casual "drop by when necessary" approach. Mentees should be welcome to drop by at times, but scheduled appointments will usually result in a more constructive use of time.

  • Frequency of Meetings: Once every two weeks, but at least once a month
  • Length of Sessions: 30-60 minutes
  • Times to Meet: Sessions can take place at almost any agreed-upon time--during lunch, after work, during the work day, or a combination

Mentors and mentees can meet with the program coordinator throughout the year as needed. In order to track the frequency of sessions, a "Mentoring Log" form (available on the CUL Mentoring Program website) should be submitted after each session. Additionally, a "Meeting Notes" form is available for mentors to use for tracking the progress of goals and for noting any relevant information from each session. The use of this form is entirely optional. Both mentors and mentees are also required to attend all orientation and/or training sessions and must complete an evaluation at the end of the year.

Mentor Roles and Responsibilities

  • Serves as a resource and referral person 
  • Shares experiences and knowledge
  • Listener, coach, facilitator, confidant
  • Provides encouragement, support, and advice 
  • Helps mentee establish goals and explore career options when necessary
  • Open-minded and willing to serve
  • Able to assist with personal development when possible
  • Committed to helping mentee succeed within the organization

Mentee Roles and Responsibilities

  • Open to working with a mentor
  • Receptive to advice and counsel
  • Willing to learn new skills
  • Committed to carrying out agreed-upon goals
  • Honest and open with mentor
  • Willing to take responsibility for own learning

Criteria for Mentor Selection

  • Should be knowledgeable about the library and university community
  • Should be personable and pleasant, flexible, considerate, cognizant of the needs of a new staff member, and committed to meeting the needs of mentees and the mentoring program
  • Should have two or more years of experience at Central University Libraries
  • Should be at the same level of responsibility or above as the mentee, but not in the same reporting line
  • Should be willing to meet the necessary time commitment of the program