Establish roles and develop guidelines, orientation, and training for mentors.

Determine what roles you desire mentors to perform in the program. Then develop guidelines for mentors, as well as program goals and operations that are consistent with these roles. The guidelines should be simple and straightforward and shared with potential applicants so that they understand mentor responsibilities.

Decide in what form(s) orientation and training should occur. The optimal amount of training depends on the complexity of your program and the expected roles of mentors. It is best if the training is interactive and engaging. Topics covered in the orientation should include

  • an overview of how communication is to occur. In the case of DO-IT, an email message is sent to a specific discussion list or to an individual.
  • an outline of the responsibilities, expectations, and boundaries your program has developed for both mentors and protégés.
  • general mentoring tips, as well as tips designed to teach mentors how to promote success, self-determination, and problem solving skills.
  • information to improve skills such as effective communication strategies and email netiquette.
  • resources for mentors, such as additional mentor training, disability information, education, and career development.

See Chapter Three for more information on mentor orientation and training.