Mentoring Programs Help Mason Employees Look to the Future

Posted: September 22, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: September 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

By Catherine Ferraro

George Mason University prides itself on ensuring that employees have boundless opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. Now, Mason’s Office of Human Resources and Payroll (HR) has added two new programs to its already extensive list of learning and professional development opportunities.

Mason Footsteps and Mason Horizons are mentoring programs designed to provide faculty and staff members with a unique window into the strategic thinking, decision making and career possibilities associated with a senior administrator position at Mason. The programs help faculty and staff members define their career choices and gain perspective on their future paths.

Mason Footsteps is open to administrative and professional faculty and classified staff. The program typically lasts three to six months. Mason Horizons is intended for tenured instructional faculty; the program lasts an entire semester.

Both programs offer participants the opportunity to conduct a project and shadow a senior administrator in an area of interest to them, as well as shadow others to gain experience and general knowledge of the university administration process.

Depending on the participant’s area of interest, they may be involved in the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Development and Alumni Office, Office of Equity and Diversity and many others. Participants are encouraged to network with other staff members, attend professional training and actively participate in governance.

“The Mason Footsteps and Horizons mentoring programs are a great way for employees to become more engaged in their profession and the university,” says Linda Harber, associate vice president for HR.

“Both the mentor and mentee will be able to learn from one another, thus creating more knowledgeable leaders at every level of the organization.”

Employees who take part in Mason Footsteps or Mason Horizons may be required to conduct research; draft documents; assist in organizing conferences, forums or other collaborative events and projects; and participate in university administration.

This fall, several Mason faculty members are participating in the mentorship programs, including David Brazer, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development. He began meeting informally during the spring and summer semesters with Michelle Marks, associate provost for graduate education.

In addition, he will work on a project with Marks and Kim Eby, associate provost of faculty development, to create a professional development program for doctoral candidates who also work as teaching assistants.

“As a former high school principal and current researcher of issues in education administration, I am keenly interested in decision making, collaboration and instructional improvement,” says Brazer.

“The mentoring program provides an opportunity to learn about all of these areas and gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the university’s central administration.”

According to Harber, employees who are exposed to the mentor’s decision making, policy development and day-to-day challenges will gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of how the university functions organizationally and operationally. The experience can help the mentee determine if an administrative position is what they want next in their careers.

The deadline to apply for the spring mentoring observer programs is Oct. 31, 2010. For more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply, see the HR training website.

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