Frequently Asked Questions

Application Process

  • Open call for applications is announced by the Mentorship Program Steering Committee the first week of September.
  • Applications are due mid-September.
  • The Steering Committee will pair mentors and mentees based on the information provided in their applications.
  • Pairs will be announced the first week of October.

Mentor/Mentee Pairing

What are the criteria for being a mentor? Who can be a mentor?

Given the broad range of backgrounds of our mentees, there is no specific criteria in terms of education or years of experience for being a mentor. Mentors with different background and experience levels can offer valuable support to our mentees. For example, an undergraduate student can benefit from having a graduate student mentor and a PhD student may learn about management and leadership skills from a mentor who has an administrative role within the center. The mentor may have a lower educational level than the mentee but can help the mentee by discussing which transferable skills to develop to achieve more success in their own career and life.

In general, we would like our mentors to be passionate about helping others grow, committed to their role as a mentor during the program cycle, and open to sharing their experience with the mentee.    

Anyone who is not an undergraduate student can potentially serve as a mentor. An applicant can be a mentor in one mentorship pair and a mentee in another pair. Given the expected large number of mentees, we strongly encourage anyone willing to serve as a mentor to apply.

Can mentors be from outside the GLBRC/WEI?

At the moment, we are limiting the participants (both mentors and mentees) to be members of the GLBRC or WEI. We may evaluate the possibility of including external members in the future.

What is the format of the mentorship pair?

Depending on the number of applications we receive and how many applicants are interested in being mentors and/or mentees, the mentorship pairs may include one mentor with one mentee or one mentor with multiple mentees.

What if the mentorship pair does not work out during a program cycle?

If a participant of the program has any concerns about the mentorship pair at any point during a program cycle, they are encouraged to reach out to the Chair of the Steering Committee by emailing Yiying.xiong@wisc.edu. The Steering Committee will work with the participant to find a solution to address their concerns, which may include re-assigning mentor/mentee to make the pair more effective.

Will this program offer mentorship training?

Mentorship training programs are designed to help mentors understand their roles, align expectations with their mentees, refine their mentoring skills, and develop strategies to best engage and support their mentees. The Steering Committee will identify and share mentorship training opportunities of interest with our participants, such as the online training “Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring” offered by the University of Minnesota. Additionally, the Steering Committee may choose to organize structured training programs depending on the level of interest and needs from our participants.

We are aware that mentees participating in our program might already mentor students or might become mentors one day. For this reason, we encourage all our participants to take advantage of these training opportunities.

The Steering Committee will continue to identify additional programs and resources to support our participants.

Steering Committee

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee members?

Roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee members include, but are not limited to:

  • Sharing discussion topics and valuable resources with program participants;
  • Organizing and facilitating discussions with participants of the programs;
  • Designing surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mentorship Program;
  • Proposing improvements to the program, as needed;
  • Discussing and addressing any issues or concerns raised by program participants during the program cycle;
  • Advertising open call for application to the program;
  • Pairing mentors and mentees for the following program cycle;
  • Selecting members of the Steering Committee for the following cycle. 

How many members are on the Steering Committee?

Our goal is to have 5 members on the Steering Committee. To maintain continuity of the program, the GLBRC Associate Director, Yiying Xiong, and the WEI Associate Director, Mary Blanchard, will be standing members on the committee. However, this may change in the future based on re-evaluation of the effectiveness and functions of the committee. The other members of the Steering Committee will be selected on an annual basis.

How do I join the Steering Committee?

You must be an active participant of the Mentorship Program as either a mentor, a mentee, or both in order to be eligible to be a Steering Committee member.

All applicants to the program are encouraged to express their interest to serve on the Steering Committee. When applying to the Mentorship Program, applicants are asked to express their interest in joining the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee members of the current cycle will choose the Steering Committee members of the next cycle from the pool of applicants who expressed interest.

If we are not able to include everyone on the Steering Committee for a given cycle due to the high demand, we encourage participants to express their interest again the following year. Our goal is to provide the opportunity to serve as a member in the Steering Committee to as many participants as possible.     

How long is the term?

Each Steering Committee member (except for the two standing members) will serve a 1-year term (October-September).

Evaluation of the Program

How do we evaluate the success of the Mentorship Program?

The Steering Committee will be tasked to develop effective surveys to evaluate the success of the Mentorship Program and to solicit feedback from its participants. Three surveys will be conducted: one month and three months after the beginning of the cycle as well as the end of the cycle. Evaluation data and feedback from the participants will be used to improve the organization of the Mentorship Program and its offerings.