Mentoring

The iSchool Professional Mentor Program

Six Skype Sessions and One Half-day Job Shadow

The School of Information Sciences at the University of Urbana-Champaign is pleased to announce our new Professional Mentor Program. This semester long program provides an opportunity for professionals with at least three years’ experience to connect with current students through six half-hour Skype interviews and, if geographically convenient, a half-day job shadow experience.

Students Connect Directly to Mentors

In order to help students find mentors quickly and easily, we’re using the Professional Network module in I-Link, the University of Illinois job posting system. Once accepted into the program, mentors populate their online profile describing their primary specialty, current employer, job description, and experience. Students will not see mentor names or contact information. After identifying a mentor whose experience dovetail with students’ interest, they reach out to professionals through I-Link and mentors respond by email. At that point, mentors and mentees can create a calendar for Skype appointments throughout the semester.

Students Take Initiative

Students are granted access to the Professional Network after attending an orientation session which familiarizes them with the interface, covers professional etiquette, informational interviewing, and expectations.

It is the student’s responsibility to reach out to mentors, to propose the meeting schedule, to initiate each Skype call, and to have questions prepared for each appointment.

Learn more about informational interviews.

Mentor Responsibilities

  • Be sure you have time to commit to the program for all six Skype sessions and the job shadow before activating your profile.

  • Fill out your online profile as thoroughly as possible and keep your email up-to-date.

  • Be available at appointment dates and times and contact the student ASAP if they must reschedule a meeting.

  • Use Skype, not email or phone calls to connect with students.

  • Review any materials sent in advance before the Skype sessions.

  • Contact the program coordinator, Michele Plante mplante [at] illinois.edu, immediately if you have any problems connecting with your student or questions regarding the program.

  • Complete the follow-up survey to help us assess the experience and identify areas for improvement.

To Participate in the Program

Mentors interested in participating in the program should contact Michele Plante, Employer Relations Coordinator for the iSchool at mplante [at] illinois.edu .

Students interested in participating should attend Professional Mentor Program Training Sessions held at the beginning of each semester.

External mentoring programs

Many national organizations coordinate formal mentoring programs to help students or new professionals navigate the field.