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Defining Mentor and Mentee

Throughout these guidelines, the terms mentor and mentee are used. Mentor refers to the experienced NDSU Extension staff member assigned as a resource person to familiarize the mentee with Extension and his/her role as a staff member. Mentee refers to a staff member who is new to NDSU Extension.

Objective 1 - Complement established orientation program


  • Contact the mentee as soon as possible to welcome him/her to the Extension organization.
  • Share a brief bio sketch and photo with the mentee within the first week of their start date.
  • Establish a schedule of meetings and other contacts within the first month of work.
  • Set up an initial meeting within the first two months of the mentee's employment.
    - Establish specific goals for the mentor/mentee relationship and steps to reach the goals.
    - Explain what the mentee can expect from the mentor, both professionally and personally.
  • Assist the mentee in understanding the Extension education and program development process.
  • Help the mentee identify and access resources.


  • Respond to initial contacts by the mentor and make it a priority to schedule meetings and other contacts.
    - Discuss expectations of the relationship and be forthright in all respects with the mentor.
    - Be realistic and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Complete bio sketch; send to mentor within the first two weeks of initial contact.
  • Keep scheduled appointments with the mentor and maintain regular contact.
    - Use the mentor's time effectively.
  • Take responsibility for individual learning experiences and keep the mentor updated on progress.

Objective 2 - Help mentee understand Extension and its role with North Dakota State University


  • Familiarize the mentee with the Extension organization - its language and culture, the Extension Philosophy. Include a focus on the land-grant mission and the role of county, state and federal partners.
  • Assess what the mentee already knows about Extension and what questions need to be answered.
  • Assist the mentee in learning about Extension and North Dakota State University.
  • Assist mentee in acclimating to his/her new position. Discuss organizational development, time management, public relations/marketing, programming, audiences/clientele, managing resources in the county office, and budgeting.


  • Ask the mentor questions about the overall Extension program. Have the mentor suggest staff meetings, trainings, conferences, etc. to add to the mentee's understanding.
  • Be proactive to seek guidance from the mentor and others.

Objective 3 - Build helping relationships between peers


  • Make referrals to the appropriate staff in the Extension system or elsewhere, as needed.
  • Encourage the mentee to work with others in forming partnerships within and outside the Extension system.
    - Establish strategies for accomplishing this goal. Consider accompanying him/her to an initial meeting.


  • Understand what each staff person has to give as well as receive in peer relationships.
  • Balance the personal and professional relationship with mentor. Maintain confidentiality.
  • Recognize the help the mentor is giving and express appreciation.

Objective 4 - Help mentee realize his/her potential


  • Foster a confidential relationship in a safe environment.
  • Create an atmosphere of trust in the mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Be a good listener and take the mentee seriously.
  • Advise the mentee in balancing professional, family and personal life.


  • Enlist the assistance of the mentor in setting both short and long-term professional development goals.
  • Be flexible and open to constructive suggestions.

Objective 5 - Integrate mentee into Extension personnel network and system


  • Help the mentee establish relationships and develop a network of support within the Extension personnel system.


  • Utilize the mentor's network to make acquaintances. Ask the mentor to make introductions to other staff and to ease the entry into professional and social gatherings.

Objective 6 - Promote benefits of membership in professional associations


  • Be a role model, sharing his/her own involvement and experiences in professional associations.
  • Encourage professionalism, including involvement in professional associations. Provide written material, meeting times and places, web sites and other information about professional association.


  • Discuss professional development with the mentor.
  • Initiate or continue membership in relevant professional associations.
  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities at area, state and national levels.

Desired Outcomes

For Mentee

  • Accelerate new staff acclimation.
  • Complement established orientation program.
  • Build helping relationships between peers.
  • Help new staff realize their potential.
  • Understand Extension and its role within the university.
  • Realize benefits of membership in professional associations.

For Mentor

  • Build leadership skills.
  • Serve the organization.

For NDSU Extension

  • Reduce employee turnover, resulting in monetary savings.
  • Increase level of job satisfaction for both mentors and mentees.
  • Impact work attitudes of mentors and mentees in a positive manner.
  • Increase involvement of mentees in Extension committees and professional organizations.

Expectations of the District Directors and Staff Development Coordinator

Objective: Support the mentoring program and mentor/mentee relationships


  • Empower mentors/mentees to meet the objectives of the mentoring program.
  • Honor confidentiality of issues and respect relationships.
  • Provide ongoing feedback to the Mentorship Program Committee.
  • Advocate for mentoring program to all staff, administrative team and on campus.
  • Help the Extension mentoring program succeed.


  • Allow sufficient time for mentor/mentee to meet
  • Endorse use of existing resources (email, phone, on-site visits, etc.) for mentors/mentees.
  • Mileage will be reimbursed from the district director's office.
  • Provide additional financial support for mentoring program.
  • Access internal and external expertise as needed.


  • Acknowledge mentor/mentee participation in the program.
  • Recognize mentor/mentee participation as part of performance appraisal.
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