Group work in the office.

Diversity Mentoring Program


The Diversity Mentoring Program is designed to provide each new underrepresented racial/ethnic employee in Finance and Business (F&B) with a mentor to assist them in performing successfully in their current positions. Our goal is to retain a diverse workforce within F&B. This program is intended to be a 12-month experience during the first year of the new employee's appointment to the University. All F&B units are expected to participate in the program.


A mentor is an experienced member of the organization who will provide guidance, support, coaching, exposure, and role modeling to a less experienced employee. The F&B administrative unit heads will recommend mentors for the program committee to consider.

Mentors must have established professional experience and demonstrated leadership qualities; be comfortable interacting with individuals of different cultures and genders; be able to provide insight about the organization and the way in which things get done; appreciate alternative viewpoints; and be sensitive, enthusiastic, and willing to commit the time to help individuals excel; and demonstrate knowledge of community and professional organizations/activities that could enhance retention. Mentors should have ample experience with Penn State, however, exceptions can be granted depending on the individual's past experiences.


A mentee can be a recent hire with less than five years of experience at the University and would benefit from the coaching of a more experienced employee of Finance and Business.

A mentee must be enthusiastic and committed to continuously learning and developing in the organization; be comfortable interacting with individuals of different cultures and genders; be prepared to discuss goals and career plans; actively seek advice about issues faced in the work environment; appreciate alternative viewpoints; be accepting of constructive criticism; and view this as a learning experience for the mentor as well.

Program Description

Program Committee

The program committee will solicit mentee applications from the Human Resource representatives. Based on the application information, the committee will select the appropriate mentors from those recommended by the administrative unit heads. The selected individuals will be notified in writing and may accept or decline participation in the program. The committee will match the mentor with the mentee. It is the expectation of the mentor and mentee to have a successful relationship. If concerns arise during the program that cannot be resolved by the participants, the issues should be brought to the committee for resolution.

The program committee is responsible for the overall evaluation of the program and any program adjustments that may be needed. All pairs will have an assessment to complete at the quarter mark of their meeting and subsequent evaluations will be done if needed. Also, an evaluation will be completed at the anniversary of the program for the pair.

Meeting Schedule

The mentor and mentee should meet for a minimum of two hours each month for one year. The schedule could consist of meetings for one-half hour every week or one hour every two weeks (recommended). The actual scheduling of the sessions should be determined and arranged by the individuals involved. The administrative units will provide release time, as needed, for the mentor/mentee meetings.

Mentor Model

Step 1: Initiation (1 month)
During this phase, the mentor and mentee should get to know each other. The mentor should discuss his/her background and experience, and the mentee should discuss his/her career plans and work issues.

Step 2: Cultivation (10 months)
During this phase, the mentor provides guidance, support, and coaching with career plans and work issues, exposure to important people and events, and role modeling.

The following steps should be followed in each mentoring session:

  1. Establish a ground rule of open and honest communication.
  2. Follow-up on goals/issues discussed in previous session.
  3. Discuss new issues.
  4. Identify goals to be worked on or completed in future sessions.
    Promote independent decision-making (i.e., listen actively, help mentee understand the consequences of his/her actions, share wisdom and experiences).
  5. Promote and identify community resources/services and community involvement opportunities.
  6. Summarize agreements reached and review plans made for future sessions.

Step 3: Separation (1 month)
During this phase, the mentee should experience more autonomy and feel comfortable taking greater control of his/her learning experiences.

Step 4: Quarterly review of assessment.
The mentors and mentees should frequently evaluate the effectiveness of their interactions and make appropriate changes. The Program Committee will be available to assist as needed.

Step 5: Redefinition (last session)
During the last session, the mentor and mentee must redefine their roles in the relationship and determine at what level they will interact in the future.

Step 6: Final Evaluation
At the 12-month anniversary, the pair will complete a final or annual evaluation.

Step 7: Evaluation
The mentor and mentee will be asked to complete a formal evaluation.

An annual memo will be sent from the program committee to the mentor and mentee's supervisor to recognize their participation in the Diversity Mentoring Program for the inclusions on their annual SRDPs. The committee will develop an annual review summarizing all mentor/mentee matches; the summary will be presented to the senior vice president for Finance and Business/treasurer.

For more information about the F&B Mentoring Program, please contact Dr. Emil L. Cunningham via email or call the Office of Diversity & Inclustion at 814-865-6574.