Network Mentoring Programs

When staff, faculty, and students reflect on their experiences at a university, most recognize that they have benefited from more than one mentor-type relationship. Within this handbook, we naturally think of a mentor as someone in a university. However, people often have mentors outside a university, such as alumni or practicum supervisors. Students, faculty, and staff can also benefit from mentoring relations with mentors inside and outside their respective departments or college.

As we further reflect, we also appreciate the developmental timing of mentoring. A new graduate student needs different mentoring than a new undergraduate student. A new staff member may want a mentor to help orient them regarding university operations, whereas a more seasoned staff member of 10 years may seek mentoring for leadership opportunities.

In Part IV of this concluding section of the handbook, we encourage practitioners, researchers, and university leaders to take a more holistic view of mentorship. This holistic view of mentoring means that mentees may have multiple mentors, friends, sponsors, allies, supervisors, employees, and others who provide developmental assistance at a given time.

To encourage those in academia to consider these developmentally appropriate multiple models, we conclude with Chanland’s Chapter 27 and the corresponding case study by Paquette, Murphy, and Duffy in Chapter 28. In Chapter 27, Chanland draws upon evidence-based and theoretical literature on networks and formal programs to discuss four networked mentoring approaches. These four approaches require varying degrees of university resources. Next, Chanland explores the program characteristics of these networked approaches that predict positive program and relationship outcomes. When considering these networked approaches, the design components of the program must align with participant learning outcomes.

The case study for Chapter 28, authored by Paquette, Murphy, and Duffy, highlights three mentoring programs at Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Mentoring Programs. The authors detail evidence-based effective practices in delivering these developmentally appropriate programs to match the mentees’ needs. Developers in these three programs include upper-class undergraduate students, early-career professionals, and seasoned professionals. In each program, students are encouraged to develop a network of relationships to support their journey at Babson College.


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