Office of the Provost
USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
I am grateful to have had an opportunity to work with outstanding faculty on the design and implementation of mentoring programs. My collaborations with these enormously dedicated, successful, and creative mentors have taught me a great deal about best practices in mentoring. I have learned that the best mentoring programs are those that start by listening carefully to the interests, goals, and plans of the individuals for whom the programs are designed. There should be no assumption that any group is more in need of mentoring than others, nor should there be any requirement for taking part in programs in which a given individual does not want to participate. Kindness and emotional support can be essential, but the best mentorship does not stop there. The best mentoring programs, in my opinion, provide direct and transparent information and feedback. They offer a real investment in the recipient’s career, an investment that is targeted to what will be most helpful at that point in the trajectory of each individual’s work and personal life. Most important, I have learned that mentors gain as much from mentoring programs as the intended beneficiaries of those programs. The opportunity to engage with our colleagues, be they students or faculty, is one of the true advantages of this work. In my own case, looking back, I know that I have had some of the best mentors one could hope for…and some of the best mentoring came without me knowing it was happening until years later when I found myself modeling my behavior after those who had helped me.