In this installment of Mentoring Reflections, Christine Erlien from Duke University (mentor) and Paula Carney from Loyola University (mentee), from the 2021-22 cohort of the Mentoring Program share their experiences with the program and the mentoring software, WisdomShare.
The Mentoring Program is a NORDP member benefit. I, as a mentee, see it as one of its treasures. The Program includes several successful components: committed mentors, high quality content, and engaging programming. Among the many resources developed to support the Program is the web portal WisdomShare, launched in 2021 to enable robust, metric-based matching for mentor-mentee dyads, to better engage mentors and mentees, and to provide a foundation for the mentoring relationship as well as a single location for mentoring program resources.
Below, my mentor and I describe how we have used WisdomShare to support our mentoring relationship.
Paula’s Mentee reflections
As a first-time mentee (and a previous mentor), I looked forward to seeing how WisdomShare could support our journey. I knew that the Mentoring Program resources had been integrated into the system, making them available to mentors and mentees. I also knew that I wanted to forge a relationship with my mentor and let our mentoring relationship determine what resources we used and how we used them.
We were introduced by our mentoring program facilitator, through an email sent via WisdomShare. Chris then reached out to me, using the portal. While the portal was useful for making that initial connection, we have found using email worked better for us in terms of maintaining contact.
I think the matching process facilitated through WisdomShare worked well and that Chris is perfectly suited to help me meet my goals as a mentee.
I’d like to highlight two sections in WisdomShare that I have found useful: the Goal section on the Dashboard tab and the resource library available on the Learning tab. Among those resources is “Getting Off to a Strong Start,” which provides guidance for both the mentor and mentee on approaching the initial conversation, self assessment, the MESHH network (Mentorship, Expertise, Support, Helping-Hands), and the Individual Professional Development Plan. Both of us reviewed these materials. We reviewed the resource library and selected those that made sense for us to use. We reviewed the onboarding packet and used portions of it. Reflecting on the Individual Development Plan, I decided to include two major goals on my dashboard. I developed SMART objectives and have chosen to monitor progress using a Gantt chart with specific milestones and a timeline rather than the dashboard. I store the Gantt chart on a Google drive, which Chris can access.
We discussed how we would approach confidentiality, referring to the checklist document, but decided a verbal discussion worked for us. I adapted the reflection worksheet from the reflections packet and completed it after attending a workshop related to my long-term goal. The reflection worksheet helped me consider goal feasibility and chart the best path forward.
Chris’ Mentor reflections
I’d like to echo Paula in applauding the resources developed by the Mentoring Program. I have previously served as a mentor through NORDP but had no formal training. I participated in the mentor training in spring 2021, and Paula is one of my mentee matches.
WisdomShare is a powerful integrator of resources, and I have found the materials helpful guides in structuring our conversation and provoking reflection.
I will say, though, that the experience this year had a bit of “baptism by fire” feel. Mentoring matches were announced, followed by Mentoring Days and reveal of the WisdomShare software. We were off to the races! (Note: the Mentoring Committee is reflecting on and considering how to adjust the timeline around the match reveal.) There was lots to look at before the first meeting, and I felt a bit behind from the get-go given the prepopulated milestones in the system. But we quickly realized that the milestone deadlines were suggestions. Therefore, acknowledging the nature of summer (vacations!) and the need to be flexible with those dates, we had our initial meeting and have been working through the milestone sections. I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing goals and progress toward them with Paula.
There is a treasure trove of resources on WisdomShare that felt a little overwhelming in the beginning, but we quickly figured out how to choose what to use to support our mentoring journey. WisdomShare provides a great way to offer the Mentoring Program’s resources for flexible use, allowing mentors and mentees to choose the resources best fit to support their needs. As we work through the Mentoring Program calendar, we will continue to revisit these great resources. Thank you, NORDP Mentoring Program!
The Mentoring Committee employs a process of continual program improvement by soliciting and acting upon feedback from program participants. Plans for next year include spreading the information out over a more extended time period and developing a quick start guide for using the software. To learn more about Wisdom Share and other Mentoring Committee programs, please plan to attend the NORDP Mentoring Committee Open House, a meeting dedicated to celebrating current Committee members, taking stock of committee accomplishments, and welcoming NORDP members who are willing to get involved. Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 27th at 1pm CST for the Mentoring Committee Open House. All NORDP members are invited to attend!
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