saGROW – Mentoring On-Line

by Brian M. Salvaggio, Asst. Vice President, Student Affairs

This fall semester I signed up for the mentoring program with ACPA. I was assigned two new professionals within the saGROW mentoring program. Below is a short description of the program from the ACPA web site:

The Career Mentoring Program, saGROW, is intended to create a mentor/protégé relationship by providing suggestions to facilitate a conversation between mentors and their protégés regarding their initial and ongoing communication. saGROW is about networking, growing, and developing ongoing mentoring relationships. The program is open to all levels of graduate students and professionals looking to connect and share their experiences as a mentor, a protégé, or both.

One of the interesting ways this program differs from other mentoring program is the ability to use multiple platforms to meet, share and advise. With the two new professionals I am working with, we are currently using on-line chat, e-mail and hopefully will meet face-to face at national conferences this spring. The electronic format allows us to meet protégées from both outside our state and our region. I am currently mentoring and connecting with two new professionals, one from Iowa and the other from California.  As a baby boomer, I was at first hesitant about using the platform to connect with others.  I questioned whether this could be meaningful or provide the type of depth one might get in a sit-down face-to-face exchange.  As I thought more about it I recognized that I was already doing this with friends and family through Facebook, texting, Twitter and Skype.

I signed up over the summer and the experience has been great so far. I consider myself a veteran Student Affairs professional and realized that I have a lot to offer others. I see it as a way to give back and to share my  thirty years of experience in the field. Our exchanges have been great so far and I look forward to our chats. You can choose which ever format you agree on. It can be synchronous or asynchronous.  For me a combination of both seems to work.  The first cohort program began in October and ends in January 2013. Mentors and protégés can agree to continue beyond that time if they choose. The next cohort begins in February. If you haven’t tried it or want to learn more, check out the website for details.

Have you mentored in this way before?  What mentoring experience have you had while at BSU or at other institutions?  What advice would you give to others based upon your mentoring experience?  What would you like to know about mentoring?

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