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History of the Mentoring Program


Since its inception in 1999, the Mentoring Program has guided many women and men in the development of mentor-mentee relationships. Current participants cite the value of developing a mutually beneficial relationship with a Penn State colleague from another department. In 1998 a University-wide faculty/staff survey revealed a desire by women to develop professional relationships and to explore the many facets of Penn State. Because these issues were not being met by traditional professional development courses, the CFW created a committee to address this need and the CFW Mentoring Program was born.

The committee sought appropriate models for the Mentoring Program with little success. Most university mentoring programs were geared toward the needs of tenure-track faculty only and did not include staff participation. One such program was the University of Wisconsin's Women Faculty Mentoring Program ( Using this format as a foundation, the CFW developed a Mentoring Program that welcomed both female faculty and staff. Applications were created and with little fanfare or advertising, the program gathered its first class of thirty.

Over the last nine years the program has grown to include Physical Plant and Housing and Food Services employees and participants from campus college locations. Men have been included as mentors and the program continues to evolve as new issues arise. The program will continue to grow and change as the committee addresses new challenges. Current issues under discussion are the inclusion of graduate students and male mentors and increasing participation at Penn State campuses other than University Park. As the program has developed, the original vision has not wavered. The CFW Mentoring Program continues to pair professionals who have experience to share and advice to give with individuals who are eager to receive it.