Irish University learns from ISU mentoring program

November 27 2006

Faculty and students at Indiana State University have long been involved in international exchange. Now the university's support staff is getting into the act.

Ita Richardson of the University of Limerick in Ireland recently visited the ISU campus to gather information about the Support Staff Council's mentoring program.

"We searched on the internet for universities with mentoring programs and Indiana State was one of them," Richardson said.

Richardson met with Support Staff Council members who serve as mentors and mentees. The council explained how the program works and the difference it has made in the new hire's first days at the university.

ISU launched its mentoring program in 2005 as a joint effort between Human Resources and the Support Staff Council.

Human Resources already had an orientation program in place but many of the new hires still felt lost after going through it, said Roxanne Torrence, mentoring program coordinator.

The mentoring program was a pilot session last year and was deemed a success. It matches newly hired support staff with a current staff member who shares his or her knowledge of the university with the new hire to make them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.

The mentors take the new hires to get their parking permit and office keys, on a campus tour, and then to lunch. Mentors are also available to them for the first 90 days to ask any questions.

Torrence said the program helps the new hires feel like they have someone who they can go to with any question.

Torrence said the program has been implemented for only a year and half but is a success, with former mentees now signing up to become mentors.

The University of Limerick is in the planning and researching stage of implementing its own program. The university's mentoring committee is meeting with other universities, including Queens University in Belfast, to gather more information about their mentoring programs. Richardson said the group hopes to come up with a mentoring strategy so it can start training mentors and promoting the program to possible mentees.

The mentoring program at the University of Limerick will be used by women across the university as a gender equality tool. The program will have 20 pairs of women in three different sections of the university. Indiana State's mentoring program is one of the models being used to make the Irish program a success.

Contact: Roxanne Torrence, administrative assistant, organizational department, College of Business; and coordinator, Support Staff Council mentoring program, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2086 or rtorrence@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Laura Smiley, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3773 or lsmiley@mymail.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Faculty and students at Indiana State University have long been involved in international exchange. Now the university's support staff is getting into the act. A representative from the University of Limerick in Ireland recently met with support staff mentors to learn more about ISU's mentoring program that helps new employees adjust to their jobs.

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