Category Archives: Mentoring

Congratulations to the 2017 Cohort of Trained Staff Mentors

Ann Kitalong-Will, Business Operations and Chair of the WorkLife Advisory Committee, is proud to announce that Michigan Tech’s second cohort of trained staff mentors completed the university’s Staff Mentor Training program on September 27, 2017. These mentors join our first cohort of staff mentors who are available to partner with staff wishing to develop professional knowledge and skills, create strategies for effective home-work blending, get to know Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw, or grow their networking skills.

Michigan Tech’s WorkLife Connections Office developed the Whole-life Mentoring Model, which is based on the philosophy that assisting employees to grow both personally and professionally empowers our employees to grow in their careers and to give back to our university and local communities. The Whole-life Mentoring Model was developed with funding received from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

If you are interested in being mentored, please submit a Mentoring Interest Form (click HERE). New staff members and union employees (UAW, AFSCME, POA) are especially encouraged to apply to partner with a mentor.

The 2017 Mentor Cohort graduates are:

  • Sharon Attaway (Career Services)
  • Nancy Banfield (IT–Operations)
  • Bobbie Dalquist (Financial Services & Operations)
  • Stacey Donnelly (Career Services)
  • Shelley Farrey (Career Services)
  • Jodie Filpus-Paakola (School of Business & Economics)
  • Beth Frederick (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Wendy Hackman (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Laura Harry (Memorial Union)
  • Kristi Kesti-Pieti (Sponsored Programs Office)
  • Karen Maki (IT–Business Operations)
  • Tanya Maki (Human Resources)
  • Tammy Monette (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Josh Myles (IT–Operations)
  • Kimberly Puuri (Compliance, Integrity, & Safety Office)
  • Brenda Randell (Office for the Associate VP for Administration)
  • Michelle Reed (School of Technology)
  • Heather Sander (Office of Advancement)
  • Lori Weir (Facilities Management–Administration Services)

An Invitation to Staff to Join Michigan Tech’s Pilot Staff Mentoring Program

The Staff Mentoring Program Committee invites all university staff interested in working with a trained mentor to fill in the Mentoring Interest Form. Forms must be submitted by August 15, 2016 to be considered for participation. Click HERE to fill out the Mentoring Interest Form.

In 2015, Michigan Tech received a grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to develop a staff mentoring program, designed to train mentors here on campus who would like to work with their colleagues to assist with things like:

  • Finding ways to more effectively blend work and home life demands
  • Developing job skills to assist with career growth and advancement
  • Learning about the University and opportunities to become more involved
  • Improving professionalism and communication skills
  • Finding opportunities to network and meet people from other departments
  • Addressing challenging workplace situations
  • Learning more about University resources and benefits

Seventeen mentors have recently completed their training; about two-thirds of these trained mentors are members of the AFSCME and UAW unions. The overall goal of the Staff Mentoring Program is to provide staff with an opportunity to work with a trusted colleague to help with career growth and development here at Michigan Tech.

Questions? EMail worklife@mtu.edu or call Ann Kitalong-Will, Staff Mentoring Program Committee Chair, at 7-1809. See also the 2016 Staff Mentor List.


Don’t Let the Water get Stagnant: Tips for a Learning Organization

By Amelia Newman

We are an output society. Education has taught us this. From the time we start college, for instance, we push out assignments. One after another, just to get it done, whether we truly understand what we’re doing or not. A common phrase in the scholastic world is, “I’m good at BS-ing.”

So we morph to fit into a society that’s more about the doing than about the understanding. And so do our organizations. At some point many of us shut our brains down and are no longer learning new things, but rather going off of what we already know.

Therefore the question is raised: how do we mix up the stagnant water? How do we keep moving toward a culture of learning organizations? Here are a few tips that any one of us can either initiate or start practicing to help keep our schools and work environments moving in a healthy direction.

Tip 101:

Be question-friendly. Show that you can both be asked a question and can answer one for someone too. This is huge. Many people either in school or in the  workplace get stumped on something with a simple solution all because they are afraid to ask a question. We’re afraid to appear dumb in a smarter and smarter world. So laugh a little about your mistakes, and in the process say what you’ve learned. This will help a shy person feel that you are approachable and they may come and ask you a question.  Maybe there are even some things you’ve thought you should ask your boss recently, but then you told yourself,”No, I’ll just figure it out.” Well, why not go ahead and ask?

Tip 102:

Out with the old, in with the new. Talking about what’s new, trying out new fads, new technologies, and new health options can really help make the workplace more exciting. When a work culture is too sedentary, it does not encourage learning and change within the organization. But showing a co-worker how you utilize your android phone for organizing and planning, sharing how your new version of software has really improved your job, or how your new desk chair has really improved your back posture, can help your organization overall to stay up to date.

Tip 103:

Read books related to what you do. One can always improve and learn more. Have some fun with this and don’t treat it like a college textbook that you want to avoid. There are many good, creative books out there with tips for a healthy workplace, and you are a big part of what gives your organization its own culture.

Tip 104:

Inspiration is key. This is fundamental for other things such as a creativity, innovation, invention, etc., so do what it takes to stay inspired. Maybe it’s certain people in your life that inspire you, a nature photography hobby you do on the side, or traveling to a place you’ve never been. Whatever it is, take some time between your work and personal life to stay inspired.

Tip 105:

Take a break to recharge. This goes along with focusing on your breathing, especially when you’re stressed out. It also means taking care of you. If you’re like me, stress takes a huge toll on you mentally and physically. I find that when I’m especially stressed out, I’m sitting there not breathing well and not really learning anything in class or at work. If I try to work on something I have to do, I can’t focus. So I have to stop and recharge with something relaxing, in order to re-feed the brain.

We are real people with real lives who need to make real decisions that have important things at stake. We are not computers, simply calculating and functioning—though sometimes we may feel like it. Whatever the case, we all need to stop a little and recharge, taking a little thought for what we are doing.