UC Berkeley News


Ye mentors and mentees: The deadline approaches
BSA-sponsored program enables staff to learn from one another — no matter what the org chart says

| 03 August 2005

Applications are now available for the next cycle of the Staff Mentorship Program, which debuted in July 2004 for staff who are seeking professional development. Sponsored by the Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA), the mentorship program enables less-experienced professional and support staff to learn from more-seasoned colleagues.

Any staff member who meets the eligibility requirements and is a member of BSA may apply. BSA membership is free for the first year and costs $15 anually for subsequent years. Staff may join at any time.

Eligibility criteria for mentees have been expanded for the calendar year 2006 program to include staff from the ___assistant III-level through PSS 4 (for example, Senior Administrative Analyst, Student Affairs Officer IV, Management Services Officer II).

Steve Lustig, vice chancellor for business and administrative services, says that mentees in the program can make contacts, gather information, develop peer support, learn more about management, and gain an understanding of Berkeley's organizational culture.

Mentors don't just give; they benefit from the program as well. Mary Graham, a senior analyst in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, worked with mentor Phyllis Hoffman of the Center for Organizational Effectiveness (COrE). At the beginning of their affiliation in July 2004, they drafted a contract that outlined what each hoped to accomplish.

Graham, whose department was undergoing a major staff reorganization, would present issues that arose from combining staff in the divisions of Insect Biology, Society and Environment, and Ecosystems Sciences, as well as the ESPM Student Affairs Office, into a single cohesive whole. Hoffman, at the same time, would add to her awareness of specific issues of organizational culture.

During their monthly meetings, Graham got tips on how ESPM could smooth the transition to a new structure. "Phyllis clarified community building and dealing with problems of scale," says Graham. "She'd say, 'Well, have you thought of this?'"

Hoffman in turn got feedback on how organization theories played out in real-life practice and corroboration of the issues that concern staff most: recognition, equity, inclusion, and managerial transparency, says Graham.

Graham adds,"One of the best decisions I've ever made was to get involved in the mentorship program."

For those interested in being part of the program, the application deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 8. Applications are available on the BSA website (bsa.berkeley.edu).