The IEEE MentorCentre program debuted in July and replaces the seven-year-old IEEE Mentoring Connection. The goal of the program remains the same: to partner experienced professionals in the engineering field with students and young professionals who are just starting out.
IEEE has launched a new website with search capabilities to help mentees find a mentor who shares their research interests, career aspirations, and even their native language. The structure of the Web-based program encourages participants to set goals and develop a plan to achieve them in a set amount of time. The program is also available to some society-only members.
FINDING A MATCH
Both mentors and mentees can sign up at the MentorCentre website by selecting either “Become a Mentor” or “Find a Mentor.” Those who wish to mentor must first create a profile that answers questions about their professional and volunteering experience, areas of expertise, IEEE involvement, and languages spoken. Likewise, would-be mentees must fill out a form about their education, their areas of interest, and what they hope to get out of a mentorship, which may be either short- or long-term. They can then browse the profiles of mentors and choose someone.
Once a match is made, MentorCentre helps the pair set goals for the relationship—for example, building technical skills, learning to multitask, or forging a new career. The partners are instructed to work together on a plan and a timeline to accomplish the goals. It’s also important for the pair to agree up front on how much time and the commitment each person should expect from the other.
“We found that participants are more likely to stay active and focused in the program if they treat each mentorship like a project,” says Rory McCorkle, global career resources product manager in IEEE’s Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) group. “Also, in the old system, less than 25 percent of people who signed up were matched with a mentor, so we’ve added resources to help more participants create strong, meaningful, and potentially long-lasting mentorships.” MGA will also follow up to help participants who remain unpaired.
IEEE is also increasing its online communications to participants. In effect, mentors and mentees will now receive a clearer set of tips for finding a rewarding match, creating a plan of action, and nurturing the partnership by, for example, having the mentors talk about their professional successes (and failures). Both participants will also be asked to take an online survey once the mentoring partnership is completed to evaluate their experience with the program.
Previously, the mentoring program was open only to IEEE members, but this is no longer so. MentorCentre recently partnered with the IEEE Communications, Photonics, and Product Safety Engineering societies to let their society affiliates participate in the program. Affiliates who wish to can access the full site by signing in to their IEEE accounts.
For more information about MentorCentre, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.