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BSA rolls out staff mentorship program

| 04 February 2004

The Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA) is introducing a staff mentorship program that will enable less-experienced professional and support staff to learn from more-seasoned colleagues.

The program will begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2005. Any staff member who meets the eligibility requirements and is a member of BSA may apply. BSA membership is free for the first year; the cost is $15 to previous members of the organization, and staff may join at any time.

The mentorees, as they’re being called, will come from a wide spectrum of the staff: eligible applicants will range in payroll classification from PSS 1 to PSS 4. Mentors will be drawn from the PSS 5 classification and above.

Terry Downs, the program’s coordinator, emphasizes that the mentorship program differs from an internship, because the focus is not on skill-building. Rather, she says, it will offer “an opportunity for mentorees to get closer to campus movers and shakers, to cultivate contacts, and to address career-path issues.”

A decade ago, Paul Riofski, current coordinator of BSA, was a mentoree in the UCSF mentorship program that inspired the Berkeley pilot program.

Riofski’s mentor, UCSF’s assistant vice chancellor for human resources, took him to senior-level meetings to which he would ordinarily not have had access. Afterward, the two would meet to discuss what Riofski had observed and the insights he gained from the experience. The program was enhanced by monthly meetings with his fellow mentorees.

Riofski credits his mentor with “helping me develop my political acumen and understanding of group dynamics and the broader campus culture. The insights I gained enabled me to be more effective in the job I was in, as well as to move into positions of greater responsibility.”

BSA will hold an informational session about the program from noon to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, in the Townsend Center’s Geballe Conference Room, 220 Stephens Hall.

Once mentorees are selected, they will be asked to choose and meet with at least three mentors of interest, then submit a ranked list of preference. After mentors and mentorees are matched by the committee, the two parties will determine how frequently they will meet and what each party hopes to accomplish.

Applications will be available as downloadable PDFs from bsa.berkeley.edu/ (via the Hot Topics link). The application deadline is Monday, March 15.