The Mentoring Program connects each new tutor with a returning tutor to be their official mentor throughout their first year of employment. Mentors introduce their new tutor mentees to the Writing Center—our core practices, beliefs, and values, and our everyday workings. The Mentoring Program fosters a work environment based on our core values of collaboration, diversity, reflection, respect, revision, and transparency through building peer-to-peer connections and networks. The Mentoring Programs aims to support personal, professional, and intrapersonal growth of all program participants.

📜 Program Overview

The Mentoring Program is coordinated by the (s) and Writing Center Associate Director Erin Herrmann. Through the Mentoring Program, new tutors become familiar and comfortable with both the Writing Center’s expectations for working with writers and the Writing Center’s diverse and complex operations. Mentors guide mentees through initial onboarding and tutor training and support mentees throughout the year with developing and refining tutoring strategies, reflecting on growth, setting SMART goals, and fulfilling the quarterly PD check-in process.
Mentee-mentor relationships are fostered through periodic check-ins and guidance in addition to reviewing the information covered in WRD 395/582. All program check-ins take place during the regularly scheduled hours of the mentee’s shifts, and mentors and mentees are scheduled in WCOnline to have time to meet.
The program also seeks to provide support for returning tutors serving as mentors through mentor training, mentor community groups, and additional support when necessary.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Program Participants

Mentees are new tutors who participate in the mentoring program as part of their onboarding to the Writing Center staff. Mentees are expected to fully engage in the program and its goals as a part of their transition into their role as tutors.
Returning tutors serving as a MentorMentor provide support and guidance for new tutors during their onboarding process and into their first year. Mentors are selected at the start of each academic year and attend required training.
Professional Development Student Managers (PDSMs)
The PDSMs are student leaders who collaborate with the Associate Director to manage all aspects of professional development, including mentoring. Within the Mentoring Program, the PDSMs coordinate and schedule mentoring pairs, develop content for mentoring check-ins, plan and facilitate mentor training, and oversee the implementation of all aspects of the program.

🤷 What is Mentoring?

Our program philosophy—written and informed by present and past leaders in the Mentoring Program—articulates our vision and beliefs about mentoring in the Writing Center and the practices and attitudes that inform the program.

🛖 At the Writing Center

Mentoring embodies the Writing Center’s mission, values, beliefs and practices. Like all our programs, the mentoring program is grounded in our core values: collaboration, respect, diversity, revision, reflection, and transparency. Mentoring centers on the collaboration between two peers, the mentor and mentee, reflecting on and revising their work and practices in the Writing Center. These reflections aim to make our practices, procedures, and culture transparent to new tutors. These relationships build on respect, diversity, and collaboration throughout the process.
In this way, the mentoring program seeks to not only reflect our core values and practices, but enact and ingrain them in our work.

📋 Mentoring is …

a relationship.
Mentoring establishes a relationship between a mentor and mentee that empowers both parties to achieve their own potential. An effective mentor-mentee relationship is fostered by time and effort given by both parties.
Mentoring allows for returning tutors to step into a leadership role. In this role, mentors are able to explore their leadership skills while establishing an internal peer-based network. Mentoring invites new tutors to learn their role as a peer writing tutor and learn about additional leadership opportunities within the Writing Center.
Mentoring does not end after a few days; instead, it is a process of learning where tutors are asked to enact Writing Center core values, beliefs, and practices throughout each shift, each quarter, and each academic year. Thinking about mentoring as a continuous process with room for growth for all parties helps us achieve our organization’s mission and goal.

Mentoring Principles

  1. Create an inclusive, supportive, and challenging environment.
  1. Bring your own authentic, signature presence.
  1. Be bold and clear and follow through on your commitments.
  1. Use a systems perspective to recognize how your role fits within the program and the Writing Center and to support mentees as they learn their role within that context.

🗓️ Mentoring Placeholders

To fulfill the goals and needs of the Mentoring Program, the program coordinators will use the Mentoring 01 placeholder in WCOnline. These placeholders represent each of the mentoring check-ins throughout the year and will be described in the appointment form on WCOnline. In addition to the information found in WCOnline, you can use this page to learn more about the different functions and expectations for Mentoring 01 placeholders.

🥇 First Day Shifts

Mentors and mentees are blocked off with a Mentoring 01 placeholder during the first hour of a mentee’s first shift to meet and complete the first-day onboarding. Due to scheduling, some new tutors’ first shift does not overlap with their assigned mentor; in this case, another trained mentor is assigned to meet with the new tutor and guide them through the day of onboarding.

💬 Check-Ins

Mentors and mentees are blocked off to meet multiple times per quarter for mentoring check-ins. For 2023-2024, mentors and mentees will meet five times in Autumn Quarters and three times in Winter and Spring Quarters. These meetings focus on building rapport, addressing any questions, and discussing upcoming opportunities. During check-ins, mentors and mentees will also discuss their experiences at the Writing Center. Each meeting will follow an agenda prepared by the program coordinators designed to strengthen the mentor-mentee relationship. Mentors and mentees are also encouraged to connect—via Slack or in person—beyond the scheduled check-ins.

📆 Biweekly Placeholders

Every Writing Center tutor is blocked off for 30 minutes during the weeks when a new issue of the professional development newsletter is published. This is your individual time to stay up to date with what’s happening in the Writing Center and to work on your SMART goal and quarterly ePortfolio.
Tutors should use this time to
  • Read the latest issue of the newsletter posted in Slack in #professionaldevelopment
  • Complete interactive prompts as stated in the newsletter
  • Complete specific tasks related to your quarterly professional development requirements as stated in the newsletter
Mentors and mentees can also use this time to check-in with one another, either in Slack or in person. In addition, mentors and mentees can review agendas for upcoming mentoring check-ins as linked in the newsletter.

👥 Community Groups

Mentor Community Groups gather small groups of mentors together to build community, collaboration, and support among mentors. Mentors attend small community group meetings to discuss the mentoring process and upcoming programs. Mentors are asked to review the provided agenda, reflect on the themes and mission of the program, and promptly respond to follow-up questions and reflections.

Other Uses

Mentors and mentees are encouraged to use the Mentoring 01 placeholder, when necessary, to block off time for additional in-person or Zoom meetings with mentees.