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PERCEPTIONS AND IMPACTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTE
OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (UF/IFAS) EXTENSION
JOHN ASHLEY BAILEY
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
John Ashley Bailey
This document is dedicated to my wife and parents.
I would like to first thank my wife Lindsey for her love, encouragement and
support. I could not have done this without her.
My family, Mom, Dad, Brandon and Clayton, always gave me the support,
encouragement and means that I needed in order to succeed.
Dr. Nick Place, my advisor and graduate committee chair, was a great
encouragement and inspiration for me during this endeavor. He was an incredible
motivator for me.
I want to give a special thanks to my graduate committee. Dr. Edward Osborne and
Dr. Marilyn Norman were very supportive and helpful in giving me advice and
My final thanks go to God for giving me the motivation, strength and knowledge
that has allowed me to accomplish this great task.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv
LIST OF TABLES .......... .... ........ .... .... ...... ........... ..... ..... ix
A B ST R A C T .......... ..... ...................................................................................... x
1 INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.............................................. 1
B ack g rou n d an d S ettin g ..................................................................... .....................
State ent of the P problem ................................................................... .....................4
Purpose and Objectives of the Study ...................................... ...................... .......... 8
N eed for the Stu dy ............................................................... .. .......................... . 8
O p eration al D definition s ...................................................................... ..................10
Lim stations of D design ............................................... ......... .. ...... .... 12
S u m m a ry ............................................................................................................... 1 2
2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ........................................................ .............. 13
Professional D evelopm ent .......................................................... ............... 13
The Entry Stage .................................................................. .. ......... 16
The Colleague Stage .................. ........................ .. ......................... 18
C ounselors & A dvisors................................................ ............................ 18
N ew Em ployee O orientation ............................................... ............................. 20
Stage One of the Orientation Process.............................................................. 21
Stage Tw o of the Orientation Process .............................................................. 22
Stage Three of the Orientation Process ............................................................25
Overall Principles and Findings in regards to New Employee Orientation ........25
M e n to rin g .......................................................................... 2 8
Benefits of Mentoring...................... ........ ............................. 29
Selecting M entors .................. ..................................... .. ........ .... 32
Training and Orientation .................................. .....................................34
Pairing M entors and Proteges................................................... ............... 36
Initiation ..................... ....................3 8
Com m unication and Interaction ........................................ ...................... 40
R ecord-keeping and evaluation .................................... ............. .................. 43
R ew ards and Incentives ......................................................... .............. 44
Form al vs. Inform al M entering ............. ........................... .........................45
Mentoring Conclusion ......... ............... ....... ............... 48
F in al C o n clu sio n ................................................................................................... 4 8
3 R E SE A R C H PR O T O C O L ........................................ ...................... .....................50
R e se arch D e sig n ................................................................................................... 5 0
Population ......... ........ ............................................ ......52
Instrumentation ................ ..... .. .......... ................... ..... .......... 52
P h a se O n e ................................................................5 4
P h a se T w o ..................................................................................................... 5 8
P h a se T h re e ................................................................................................... 5 9
Data Collection and Analysis .................................................61
E v alu atio n P ro cess......................................................................................... 6 7
Analysis Process ...... .................... .......... ........72
S u m m a ry ............. .. ............... ................. ..............................................7 5
4 RE SEAR CH RE SU LTS ...........................................................76
P a rtic ip a n ts ........................................................................................................... 7 6
Objective One ................ ......... ..... ................ .............. .......... 77
P h a se O n e ................................................................7 7
P h a se T w o ..................................................................................................... 7 8
P h a se T h re e ................................................................................................... 7 8
O bjectiv e T w o ................................................................80
Phase One and Tw o .......... ......... ......... .. ........ ... ...............80
P h a se T h re e ................................................................................................... 8 0
O bjectiv e T h ree ................................................................8 1
P h a se O n e ................................................................8 2
Selection process ........... ... ......... ................82
P airin g p ro c e ss ....................................................................................... 8 2
T raining process ............................ ....................... ........... ..............
Initiation period ............... ......... .................89
Contact and interaction.................................. ......... 91
Comments and suggestions for the program .................................... 92
P h ase T w o ............................................................................................... 93
C contact and interaction............................................ 93
Likert-type questions ....................... ................. 94
Mentors perception of the positive aspects of the mentoring program ........97
Challenges and obstacles within the mentoring program ...........................98
E encouraging interaction ....................................................... 98
D em graphics of the participants ...............................................................100
Phase Three ............................................................102
Selection process of mentors .................. .......................................... 102
Base skills and characteristics a mentor should possess ..........................103
P a irin g ................ ........................................ ........ ........ ............ 1 0 3
Training and orientation ...................................... .............. .............. 104
M entering handbook ............. ........................... .............. ............... 105
Contact and interaction.............. ..... ... .... ............... 106
Topics the mentors and proteges can work on together...........................106
Incentives and rew ards for m entors ................................. ............... 108
C challenges and ob stacles.................. .............................................. ...... 109
Roles of the state coordinators, DEDs, and CEDs ...................................111
G general com m ents ....... .................................. .............. 112
Summary ......... ..................... ......................... 113
5 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS........... ......... ........... ...............114
O objectives of the Study ......... ...... ........................ ........ ....... .. .. ........ .... 114
Methodology ..................... ......................... 114
Key Findings ............... ........................ .....................115
Conclusions and Discussions ......... ..... .................................... 117
Objective One ................. ......... ......... ........ 117
Objective Two .......................... ..................118
Obj active Three .............. ......... .......... 119
Selection process ........ ........... .... ............ ............... 120
P airing process ........................ .................... ... ........ ....... ............12 1
Training and orientation ... .. ................. ...... ...............123
The m entering handbook ........................................ ........ ............... 125
C contact and interaction......................................... .......................... 126
Incentives and rewards for mentors ............................ ................. 127
The roles of the state coordinators, DEDs, and CEDs .............................129
Summary .......... .. ........... .....................132
Recommendations........ ........ ....... .... .. .. .. ......... ....... 132
Selection Process ......... ............................ ....... ..............133
Basic Characteristics of a Mentor...... ................. ...............133
P airin g P ro c e ss ............................................................................................ 13 3
Training and Orientation ............................................................................134
Contact and Interaction..................... .... ...................134
Topics Mentors and Proteges Can Discuss to Increase Interaction Between
th e P air ......... .. .. ...... .... ............................. ................................ 13 5
M entering H an db ook .......................................................................... ...............13 5
Incentives and Rew ard for the M entors............................................................135
The R ole of the State Coordinator .............................. ................................. 136
Recom m endations for Future Research ............................. ................................ 137
S u m m a ry ................................................... .................. ................ 1 3 7
A PHASE ONE QUESTIONNAIRES...................................................................... 138
B PHASE TW O QUESTIONNAIRES ............................................. ............... 148
C PHASE THREE QUESTIONNAIRES ....................................... ............... 154
D TRAINING AND ORIENTATION AGENDAS .....................................................172
E RECOMMENDED CONTACT LEVELS ............................................................175
F IRB APPROVAL OF PROTOCOL MEMORANDUM .....................................176
G SELECTION AND PAIRING SUGGESTIONS FOR THE DEDS .......................177
H M EN TORIN G H AN D B O OK ......................................................... ....................179
L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ......................................................................... ................... 190
BIOGRAPH IAL SKETCH ........................................ ..................... ........ 193
LIST OF TABLES
2-1. Professional Development Model for the Stages of Extension Agents....................16
2-2. Incentives and Rewards List for Mentors in the Extension Organization .................44
4-1. High, Low and Average Scores for the Likert-Type Questions ............................97
4-2. Demographic Data for the Mentors and Proteges in the Pilot Mentoring Program .101
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
PERCEPTIONS AND IMPACTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA INSTITUTE
OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (UF/IFAS) EXTENSION
John Ashley Bailey
Chair: Nick T. Place
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication
This study was conducted in response to the issue of new county faculty feeling
overwhelmed by their new job duties, organizational policies, and procedures upon
entering the UF/IFAS Extension System organization. The goal was to study and then
develop an effective mentoring program to be a key component of the new faculty
orientation and training. Previously, there were several forms of mentoring for assisting
new county faculty in their entry level anxieties, but there are varied levels of
effectiveness resulting in inconsistent results throughout the state. Consequently, a
proposal was made to the UF/IFAS Extension System administration to provide a
statewide formal mentoring program that would provide training/orientation, guidelines
and procedures for mentors and proteges. In order to create a targeted program for
UF/IFAS Extension, it was necessary to conduct a pilot mentoring program that could be
a small-scale replica of a potential statewide program.
The purpose of this study was to determine how a mentoring program could
benefit the proteges, mentors and the organization as a whole. The study determined
effective training/orientation methods, guidelines and procedures for a formal UF/ IFAS
Extension mentoring program. The design of this study was descriptive by nature
because the study described the participants' perceptions of what they gained from the
program and what they thought was effective and ineffective. This study used three
phases to collect the data necessary in order to accomplish the objectives.
Phase one and two were formative evaluations conducted during the actual pilot
program. These formative evaluations for phase one and two were collected via
questionnaires, which consisted of open-ended and Likert-scale questions. The third
phase was a summative evaluation conducted at the end of the study. This third phase
used four focus groups consisting of one group of each of the following extension
positions: District Extension Directors, County Extension Directors, Mentors and
Proteges. Data analysis for the Likert-scale questions consisted of basic statistical tests.
Qualitative findings were analyzed using content analysis to recognize major and minor
themes from which judgments were made on the findings and then recommendations
were formed. Benefits were perceived to be gained by both the mentors and proteges in
the program. Proteges benefited from the vision and support of being paired with a
seasoned agent. The mentors gained personal satisfaction from helping a new agent and
they felt rejuvenated by working with a young enthusiastic trainee. The participants
provided helpful insight for developing effective guidelines and procedures for a
formalized mentoring program.
INTRODUCTION AND PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Background and Setting
Conklin, Hook, Kelbaugh, and Nieto (2002) stated, "In today's rapidly changing
world knowledge is quickly outdated. An organization with knowledge development and
education as its base must have processes in place to continually develop its intellectual
capital"(p 1). The rapid development of a global economy and increasingly complex and
changing social, economic, and environmental conditions calls for a greater need for the
intellectual growth of the leaders and employees within every organization (Ladewig &
Rohs, 2000). The need for intellectual growth is accelerating because of technological
change and changing demographics of the people to be served (Ladewig & Rohs 2000).
Stress management, personal growth and development, as well as balancing
personal and work life, are very important in keeping an organization effective and
keeping up with changing times (Ritchie, 1996). When people within an organization are
not properly educated about how to effectively perform their jobs, then the organization
itself is being neglected, and the people within the organization are not performing to the
best of their ability (Clark, 1987). If people are not changing with time, then most likely,
the organization is not changing either which is why professional development is so
critical (Clark, 1987). In today's world of work, organizational restructuring and
technological changes are the norm (Kutilek, Gunderson and Conklin 2002), and that is
why professional development is so important.
The Cooperative Extension System is a branch of the Land-Grant University
System within each state in the United States. It is the linkage between policymakers and
citizens, between academia (university) and the real world (Homer, 1984). County
extension faculty or agents are expected to use the new research in their field of expertise
and information to help and inform the general public. This includes a myriad of topics,
from family and consumer science to helping farmers manage their farms in an
environmentally safe and more efficient manner.
Extension agents have complex and demanding jobs requiring them to stay abreast
of the issues that are affecting families and industries within their county (Ladewig &
Rohs, 2000). Most agents are specialized in different areas, such as livestock,
horticulture, family and consumer science, 4-H/youth development, or community
development. Within each of these specializations, clientele look to these agents for
assistance and education about issues and needs of interest to them (Ladewig & Rohs,
2000). These tasks become evermore complex because of a vast diversity of job
responsibilities. These responsibilities are as follows: conducting extension programs,
teaching, evaluating, providing office support, and serving as technical subject matter
experts (Conklin, Hook, Kelbaugh and Nieto, 2002).
If extension is to remain a viable source of information for a changing world,
continued professional development must become a priority (Clark, 1987). Professional
development is vital for veteran agents in order to educate them on the rapidly changing
industry. However, just as important, new agents need to be educated so they too can
effectively function in the organization and educate the public in their specialized area.
Work was conducted at the University of Kentucky by Rennekamp and Nail to
create a model of the various stages in a person's career. This model broke the career
path into four stages: the entry stage, the colleague stage, the counselor stage, and the
advisor stage. Kentucky Cooperative Extension Systems used this model to encourage
advanced planning for professional development programs. This helped focus on the
individual agents when a professional development program was created and ensured the
program matched the career stage of the participants in a particular program. This model
allowed Kentucky to acknowledge variations in professional growth that were needed at
the different stages of a person's professional career (Rennekamp & Nall, 1994).
The Ohio State University Extension adapted the Kentucky Cooperative Extension
Systems model in its organization. Ohio State University Extension's professional
development model (as cited in Kutilek, Gunderson, and Conklin, 2002) is the most
current model and consists of three different stages in a person's career: the entry stage,
colleague stage, and the counselor and advisor stage. The first stage is the primary focus
of this study. This stage consists of topics new agents must learn, such as understanding
the organizational structure and culture, obtaining skills to perform the job, establishing
linkage with internal partners, and moving from dependence to independence. When the
new agent makes the transition from dependence to independence, he or she learns the
organizational structure, culture, and skills to perform their job. The new agent can now
think for themselves and contribute to the organization, rather than primarily learning
about the organization. From the entry stage, agents move to the colleague stage where
they will further develop an area of expertise, gain membership and identity in the
professional community, and expand their creativity and innovation. The final stage is
the counselor and advisor stage. In the Kentucky model these stages were separate, but
Ohio adapted the Kentucky model to combine the counselor and advisor stage since most
of the motivators and organizational strategies in these two stages were similar. This is
the stage where agents will acquire a broad base of expertise, engage in organizational
problem solving, and counsel and coach other professionals (Kutilek, Gunderson, &
Statement of the Problem
The primary focus of this study involved new extension agents who were in the
entry stage of their career. New extension agents may feel overwhelmed with all of the
information regarding the organization, job duties, operational policies and procedures.
Extension needs new employees to develop skills quickly so they can perform their work
efficiently and effectively (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002). This is why it is so
important that professional development begin promptly as new agents start their careers.
The primary focus on training new agents should be based on developing easy-to-
use tools for managers and new employees to help them do their jobs. According to
Smith and Beckley, new agent orientation and training are one of the first experiences
agents have with professional development. However, these orientations are usually very
brief, varying from a one or two day orientation to just a packet that is given to the new
agent to look over. These orientations cover a lot of information in a short amount of
time. If the orientation process was given more focus, it could be a great benefit to the
new agent as he or she embarked on a new career. The turnover rate of new agents is still
high, possibly due to the overwhelming information they receive and insufficient follow-
up within the first months they are with the extension organization (Smith & Beckley,
1985). According to Ritchie, orientations consist of topics such as, the mechanics of
being a Cooperative Extension Systems Employee, required reports that agents must
submit annually to document what they accomplished over the course of the year, official
picture taking, history of the organization and the university, and meeting departmental
staff (Ritchie, 1996). The orientations might even have some sessions to discuss issues
on stress management, personal growth and development, and how to balance personal
and professional life (Ritchie, 1996). Although new agent orientation has been well
received and has provided important information, new faculty were still overwhelmed
with their new jobs and did not know where to start (Ritchie, 1996).
In contrast to the above descriptions of new agent orientation and training
programs, there are some states, such as Florida, that take a considerable amount of time
to train their new agents. In Florida, the major part of new agent orientation and training
is a three-part sequential orientation and training program. The program consists of three
sessions lasting a total of eight-and-a-half days on the University of Florida campus. The
program provides basic knowledge and skills to help new faculty members understand
and become effective in their role. This structure was developed and implemented to
help meet the overall educational goals of comprehensive professional development
programs, based upon the ascribed and perceived needs of new county faculty.
The orientation program focuses on specific topics for each session. Session one
gives an overview of the following topics: UF & Extension, extension program
development, promotion and tenure, and policies and procedures. Topics in Session 2
include implementing extension programs, teaching and learning, extension methods,
teaching techniques, and a teaching practicum. Session 3 covers evaluation,
accountability, communication, advisory committees, and marketing. A variety of state
and county faculty and extension administrators are involved in delivering educational
components. New faculty members have many opportunities to engage in discussion
with instructors and extension administration during all parts of the training. A plan of
work theme has been carried throughout the three sessions. Along with completing the
training, faculty members develop an individualized plan of work based upon material
taught in the sessions. They also receive constructive feedback on their plan of work
throughout the process (N. Place, personal communication, August 26, 2004).
Smith and Beckley data from extension exit interviews indicated that something
was lacking in the new agent's introduction to the organization (Smith & Beckley, 1985).
Therefore, the literature contains evidence that mentoring could successfully introduce
employees to their new jobs and organizations. If the mentoring program is successful,
employee retention would increase. Preliminary research on mentoring programs found
that extension systems all around the United States have been investigating mentoring
programs to implement into their organizations to help their new agents through the
entry-level stage. Extension systems found that when a new agent was provided with a
mentor, the mentor gave the agents an accessible person on whom to rely. The new
employee could feel comfortable asking questions, which would relieve some of the
stress that comes with starting a new career. Because the new agents feel more
comfortable and confident in their new job, they will typically do a better job for their
clientele and the organization.
Mincemoyer and Thomson have defined a mentor as an influential senior member
of the organization who has advanced experience and knowledge and is dedicated to
providing upward mobility and support to a protege's professional career (Mincemoyer &
Thomson, 1998). A protege is an individual who is new to a particular job or career and
would benefit from the knowledge, guidance and support of a senior member in the
The mentoring practice is not a new theory. Mentoring has been around for
thousands of years. The term mentor is over three thousand years old and has its origins
in Greek mythology. When Odysseus went off to fight the Trojans, he left his trusted
friend, Mentor, in charge of his household and his son's education. Mentor took care of
the household and was also commanded to help develop Odysseus' son into a man. He
was instructed to mentor him by educating the boy in the classroom and guiding him
through day-to-day challenges that would teach him necessary life skills. Consequently,
the boy would grow into a strong, wise man. As a result, Mentor's name has been
attached to the process of education and care by an older and more experienced person
(Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
The Cooperative Extension System was formalized when the Smith-Lever Act was
passed in 1914, and by 1915 the extension system was established in Florida. There are
extension programs in each of Florida's 67 counties that provide vital services and
information to residents in both rural and urban settings (Cooperative State Research,
Education, and Extension Service-United States Department of Agriculture, 2005).
Currently there are approximately 380 county extension agents in Florida (B. Terry,
personal communication, March 13, 2005). The actual number of county extension
agents in Florida is always fluctuating because of agents retiring, new positions being
created, and other positions being collapsed. Therefore, there are a varied number of new
agents hired each year who need to be oriented and trained. Even after these extensive
training sessions, Florida is still facing the problems of turnover and burnout by the new
agents (N. Place, personal communication, September 20, 2003). The University of
Florida/IFAS Extension has decided to implement a pilot mentoring program into the
Cooperative Extension System to help new agents achieve success within their first year.
Hopefully the new agents will not only survive in their adjustments to the organization,
but they will be able to effectively transition out of the entry stage of the system's
approach and move into the colleague stage. Additionally they can develop an area of
expertise and move from dependence to independence (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin,
Purpose and Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine how a pilot mentoring program
benefited the proteges, mentors, and Florida Extension as a whole. The study will also
determine effective guidelines and procedures for a formal UF/ IFAS mentoring program.
The key objectives of this study included:
* Objective 1: To document the benefits and value of mentoring to new extension
faculty (the proteges).
* Objective 2: To document the benefits and value of mentoring to seasoned
extension agents (the mentors).
* Objective 3: To determine guidelines and recommendations for a structured
mentoring program for the UF/IFAS Extension System based upon results from this
Need for the Study
The University of Florida's Extension System believes that a mentoring program
will help achieve the transition of moving new agents from the entry stage to the
colleague stage (N. Place, personal communication, October 20, 2003). At the Florida
Extension Administration/Supervisors meeting on April 20, 2004, Nick Place proposed a
mentoring program that would achieve the following goals: provide non-evaluative
support for new employees in an open atmosphere, provide an opportunity to develop
potential for professional growth and development, and provide an opportunity to
develop continuing practical competencies to deal with issues affecting the UF/IFAS
Extension Organization (UF/IFAS Administration/Supervisor Meeting, April 20, 2004).
UF/ IFAS Extension has a goal as stated above, but there is a void between this
goal and reality because currently there is no formal statewide mentoring program.
Although various forms of mentoring exist within the five districts of Florida, there is no
formal mentor training, guidelines, or procedures for these programs. Consequently, new
agents experience a myriad of challenges when entering the extension organization.
Some new agents experience a more effective mentoring relationship, while others may
experience a marginal relationship. Some may not have the opportunity to be in a
mentoring relationship at all.
Because of this void between the UF/IFAS extension's goal and reality, it was
decided to conduct a pilot mentoring program. This pilot program was conducted with
guidelines and procedures that have been selected from mentoring research and other
mentoring programs around the United States. All of the mentors were trained in basic
mentoring skills and knowledge, and then the mentors were paired carefully with new
As a result of this mentoring pilot program, there were several questions that
needed to be asked. Did proteges and mentors benefit from the program? How effective
were certain key points in this program, such as selecting and assigning mentors and the
training program? And lastly, how effective and clear were the guidelines for the
County Extension Director (CED): The supervisor who is responsible for the
county extension office and the county faculty at that office.
District Extension Director (DED): The supervisor who is responsible for a
section of twelve to eighteen county offices in the state of Florida. The DEDs were the
participants in this study that selected the mentors and paired the mentors and proteges
Evaluation phases of this study: In this study there are three evaluation phases.
These are the time periods in which each evaluation was conducted. Phase one and two
are formative evaluations which were conducted during the pilot mentoring program via
questionnaires. The third phase is a summative evaluation conducted at the end of the
pilot mentoring program via focus groups.
Florida Association of Extension Professionals (FAEP): An association that
brings together all Florida agent associations to focus on administrative and
programmatic issues and concerns. This is the association that was recommended to
recognize the mentors for their help in the mentoring program at their annual meeting.
Mentoring: This is a relationship between a trusted counselor or teacher and a
younger or less experienced person that enhances and develops the less experienced
person's technical or life skills. (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
Mentors: A wise and trusted counselor or influential senior member that is
experienced and knowledgeable, and committed to helping and supporting his or her
protege's professional career (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). A mentor in this study is
a seasoned UF/IFAS Extension faculty member that is paired with a protege for a twelve
Mentoring pair: In this study the mentor and protege as one unit is called a
New Extension faculty: Faculty members who have less than a year of experience
within the UF/IFAS Extension System.
New faculty orientation and training: The process utilized to educate New
Extension Faculty on the history, the mission, and the structure of the organization. This
includes workshops on programming, evaluation, teaching and learning, managing
volunteers, developing advisory committees, learning policies, procedures, roles and
responsibilities (N. Place, Personal Communication, December 15, 2004).
Professional development: A process that continually develops the intellectual
capital of professionals in any given field of expertise (N. Place, Personal
Communication, December 15, 2004).
Plan of work (POW): A plan of work consists of the work the faculty intends on
accomplishing for the year including the rationale, educational and evaluation plan
objectives. The POW is where the mentors would plan their mentoring activities for the
year along with their other job responsibilities (N. Place, Personal Communication,
December 15, 2004).
Prot6egs: One whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential
person (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). A protege in this study is a new faculty member
to the UF/IFAS Extension and is paired with a mentor for a twelve month period.
Report of accomplishments (ROA): Faculty report on year-end accomplishments
and activities. The ROA is the report where the mentors would report on the work they
did with their proteges (N. Place, Personal Communication, December 15, 2004).
Limitations of Design
This study included a purposeful sample of new and seasoned county extension
agents and their respective District Extension Director. Therefore, the sample size was
limited to the number of new agents in the UF/IFAS extension system at the time. The
study represented four of the five districts in Florida, and there was representation from
each of the major program areas.
The time period in which the data was collected could cause some limitations. The
typical mentoring program should be a year-long program, but due to time restrictions
and delays at the beginning of the program data was collected after eight months. This
allowed time for the data to be analyzed and documented. The final summative
evaluation was conducted nine months into the program instead of twelve months.
This chapter explained the need and background for the study. The importance of
professional development and mentoring was explained. UF/IFAS Extension System's
new faculty orientation process and the opportunity and need for a pilot mentoring
program were described. The chapter also described the purpose of the program, and the
objectives and limitations of the study.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
This chapter provides an overview of the available literature on professional
development, new employee orientations, and mentoring. Professional development was
discussed to give the overall purpose and need for the development of employees in an
organization. Secondly, the new employee orientation was analyzed to get a general idea
of what is being done to assist new employees who are in the entry stage through the
colleague stage. Lastly, the mentoring process was focused on to discover the benefits,
practices, techniques, and criticisms in regards to the mentoring practice.
For the purpose of this study, literature on professional development was
researched in the following fields of expertise: cooperative extension, education, medical,
and business. There was a common theme that linked each one of these fields together.
They all saw the importance of continuing the education of the individuals in each of
these fields to be able to stay abreast of the rapidly changing times.
Extension agents need to learn quickly in order to educate their clientele's constant
demand for the new methods and technologies. Teachers must learn new methods and
technologies in order to educate the student to the best of their ability and meet
standardized goals that are set for the teachers. Doctors and medical professionals are
continuously learning new technologies and practices to ensure that their patients are
diagnosed and cared for properly. Business men and women are relentlessly gaining new
leadership and technical business skills to ensure that they have the best product, service,
and most importantly; the highest profit margin in their industry. Professional
development is used in each one of these fields to meet individual needs. Many different
delivery methods and techniques are employed to ensure that professional development
meets its purpose of educating individuals so that they can efficiently and effectively
perform in their careers.
In each of these fields there are many delivery methods and techniques. For
example, in the cooperative extension field they have taken the professional development
task one level higher by breaking down the stages of an individual's career. The model is
explained in more detail below, and it is important to note that this same method could be
used in any of the fields mentioned above to gain insight on what type of professional
development an individual will need. The method and content of professional
development has been shown throughout the literature to be relevant to the participant or
they will dismiss the information and avoid professional development practices in the
future. This is where the model can offer insight on developing relevant professional
Within the extension system, one of the goals is to help the faculty grow and
develop in regards to their career. The Ohio Cooperative Extension faculty has worked
on a model that categorizes a person's career into stages. The stages are as follows: the
entry stage, the colleague stage, and the counselor/advisor stage (Kutilek, Gunderson &
Conklin, 2002). This model categorizes the stages and depicts what the motivator of each
stage is, and then it denotes the strategies of professional development deliveries that can
be used (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002). This approach allows the organization
and the individuals in the organization to use all of the professional development delivery
methods in the most effective way possible (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002). The
following table (Table 2.1) outlines the stages, motivators and organizational strategies of
this model. Motivators are the skills and tasks that particular individuals are challenged
with at the time. For instance, an individual in the entry level stage might need
information on building understanding about the organization and its structure and
culture. Each stage has motivators, therefore the subject of a professional development
program will be developed and directed toward the motivators of the target audience.
The strategies are the most relevant methods of delivery for the particular stage that is
being targeted for a professional development program. For example, the motivators for
the entry stage might be delivered to this target audience via a peer mentoring program to
assure that the individuals get special attention during the entry level stage.
It is also stated that this approach allows the faculty to enter the model at different
stages in different times of their career. For example, a faculty member in the colleague
stage of his/her career might be very effective in several areas, such as developing
educational programs and literature. This same faculty member may also want to expand
his or her knowledge in an unfamiliar area, such as web development, and would
therefore enter into the entry level stage forjob training or coaching. Even though this
faculty member might be a counselor in his or her overall career, he or she would still
need the entry level training (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
There are several different strategies or methods to deliver professional
development. The following is a brief description of the professional development
strategies used in the Ohio State University Extension Systems Approach Model. Most
of these strategies are conformed to fit the organization or situation in which it is being
Table 2-1. Professional Development Model for the Stages of Extension Agents.
Career Stage Motivators Organizational Strategies
Entry Stage -Understanding the organization, -Peer mentoring program
structure, culture -Professional support teams
-Obtaining essential skills to -Leadership coaching
perform job -Orientation/job training
-Establishing linkages with
-Exercising creativity and
-Moving from dependence to
Colleague -Developing area of expertise -In-service education
Stage -Professional development Specialization funds
funding Professional association
-Becoming an independent involvement
contributor in problem resolution -Formal educational training
-Gaining membership and -Service on committees or special
identity in professional assignments
-Expanding creativity and
-Moving from independence to
Counselor and -Acquiring a broad-based -Life and career renewal retreats
Advisor Stages expertise -Mentoring and trainer agent
-Attaining leadership positions roles
-Engaging in organizational -Assessment center for leadership
problem solving -Organizational sounding boards
-Facilitating self renewal
-Achieving a position of
influence and stimulating thought
(Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002)
The Entry Stage
The first method used in the entry stage is the peer mentoring program. This
method is a program that is designed by the extension organization at the state, district, or
county level. When the new agent is hired into the organization, he or she will be paired
up with a mentor who could be a trusted advisor, friend, or a teacher. This mentor should
not be a person that will later be evaluating this new faculty member (Kutilek, Gunderson
& Conklin, 2002). This method of professional development will be explained in great
detail later in this chapter.
The next method is professional support teams. This method is utilized when a
new agent is hired into the system. The new agent will be introduced to his or her
support team, which consists of a district level director, one or more district specialists,
and a county chair. This support team has a responsibility of providing an environment
for motivation, providing recognition of successes, identifying areas for change or
improvement, setting goals for the future performance, identifying training and
professional development needs and collaborating to evaluate performance (Kutilek,
Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
Leadership Coaching starts out with the new faculty attending a two day retreat.
This retreat is a developmental experience for employees focused on twelve behavioral
anchors. These behavioral anchors include organizational skills, interpersonal skills,
sensitivity, communication skills, change management skills, diplomacy, decision-
making skills, conflict-management skills, the ability to collaborate and be self-
motivated, and obtain visionary skills and assertiveness. After the retreat, the new faculty
will be paired with peer coaches. These coaches will help keep the new faculty focused
on the professional development plans made during the retreat. These coaches will work
with the staff member for a fourteen month period (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin,
Orientation job training is an orientation program that gives the new faculty
information about the organization and their roles and responsibilities that are expected of
them from the state and county level (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002). This
method of professional develop will also be discussed in-depth in another section of this
The Colleague Stage
In-service education is designed to help the faculty stay current with the constantly
changing culture. Keeping the faculty at high levels of their technical expertise is very
important to meet the needs of the public that call on them for assistance. These
programs are highly specialized and coordinated by individuals or groups within the
extension organization. These program coordinators are encouraged to use sounding
boards to help them provide programs that are needed by the faculty in need of in-service
training (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
Formal education is also an option to further professional development needs. The
extension faculty members are also employees of the land grant university in their state,
so they have access to take undergraduate classes or even masters or PhD coursework.
However, this is not always possible because of time restraints and geographical barriers
(Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
Counselors and Advisors
Life and Career Renewal Retreats are for the more experienced employees to
engage in self-exploration, discovery, and personal reflection on work and life issues.
The goals of these programs are as follows: to provide framework and strategies to assist
people in examining their specific career and life issues, to provide a relaxed environment
conducive to exploration and reflection, to communicate the shared responsibility for
career development within the organization, and to provide tools for employment to
develop action plans for both personal and professional renewal. This type of retreat
consists of different activities such as presentations, group discussions, individual
thinking, reflecting and planning, and dialoguing with facilitators and group participants.
Kutilek, Gunderson, and Conklin have stated, "Organizations that recognize the need to
maintain a healthy workforce often provide opportunities for employees to reflect and
dialogue about their career progress and satisfaction" (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin,
The trainer agent is a supervisor who oversees several mentoring pairs in their
district. They will keep close contact with the pair, they will follow up with the protege
after the formal mentor pairing, and they will also serve on the state mentoring
developmental committee to help direct the future of the program. These faculty
members in this stage of their career also have the opportunity to team up with the human
resource office to help guide and direct new faculty as they grow in the extension
organization (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
Kutilek et al stated that "The Ohio State University Extension developed an
assessment center to assist in the analysis of current managerial abilities and future
training needs of extension county chairs. The assessment center incorporates seven
exercises that enable participants to demonstrate skills on fifteen job-related dimensions:
oral communication, written communication, leadership, initiative, planning and
organizing, decision making and judgment, development of coworkers, behavioral
flexibility, organizational sensitivity, assertiveness, objectivity, perception, sensitivity,
management control, and collaboration" (Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002, p. 10).
The participants are evaluated on their performance by a team of trained assessors which
are usually faculty members who are in the counselor or advisor stage of their careers.
These assessors not only evaluate the participants, they also help assist the participants to
apply what they have learned in the assessment of their work life by developing a
professional development plan to fit their needs. This center has been recognized all over
the country with more than four-hundred participants from twenty-five different states
(Kutilek, Gunderson & Conklin, 2002).
Upon evaluating the professional development program, we see that there are many
delivery methods such as face-to-face meetings, conference calls, web modules, web
conferences and many more. There is also the actual program which may be a mentoring
program, orientation/job training, in-service education program, formal education,
sounding boards, assessment centers, or a retreat. All of these methods of delivery and
programs are developed to ensure that the information the faculty needs is brought to
them in a convenient, accessible, and learner-friendly manner.
Throughout the literature in each of the fields mentioned above, professional
development is perceived to be very useful and beneficial to the individuals by increasing
their knowledge so they can continue to grow in their field of expertise and gain personal
satisfaction in what they do. The organization will benefit as well by having employees
that are constantly learning and developing their skills to achieve the goals and objectives
of the organization.
New Employee Orientation
New employee orientation is a process that helps an employee enter into an
organization and become a productive employee (Hacker, 2004). New employee
orientation is more than a one shot program to get new employees up to speed; it is a
process that starts before the new employee begins the job and continues up to a year
after the person has started. The orientation process is the first impression the new
employee will have about the organization. Organizations from around the country have
found that these first impressions can be lasting ones. Orientation should welcome,
comfort, and inform the employees in a creative and hands-on approach. Oriented
employees had decreased levels of anxiety, increased job satisfaction, improved morale,
and increased productivity. Consequently, since the new employees were happier and
more productive, the companies throughout the literature oriented employees effectively
saw a decrease in turnover and an increase in profits.
In most cases the orientation was viewed as a three-part process. The first part is
the pre-arrival planning for the new employee. This is a planning period to make sure
that everything is ready upon arrival of the new employee. The second part is the arrival
of the new employee, which is the period where he/she is welcomed, gets familiar with
the office, gets paired up with a mentor, and learns about the company. The third part is
the time after all of the formal greetings and general information is learned. Throughout
the first three months to a year, progress will be recorded and help will be readily
available whenever the new employee needs it.
Stage One of the Orientation Process
The pre-hire stage is very important because this is a time when the employer and
the co-workers can obtain all of the needed materials that the new-hire may need to
complete his or herjob. This will enable a new-hire to feel valued and welcomed as soon
as he/she arrives. Anything that can be done beforehand to decrease the anxiety of the
new employee is a great idea. A company in California calls the employee before their
first day and lets them know that they are excited about their forthcoming arrival to the
company and they also send a welcome packet with information such as parking
suggestions, dress guidelines, the on-site cafe menu, and locations of the ATM and bike
lockers (H.J, 2002). Some organizations will send out announcements to all the current
employees to inform them of the new incoming employee. The announcement will give
some details about the employee, so the current employees can be ready to welcome
him/her into the office (Hacker, 2004). Some organizations will send the new employee
a packet with the first week's agenda and some department information so that the
employee will know what to expect, and not be surprised when they come to work the
first day (Robbins, 2002). All of these preparations are to assure that the first impression
of the company is a good one. The literature shows that if the new employee has a
welcoming and smooth beginning, he/she will be more likely to stay and consider a
career at the organization (Robbins, 2002). For this smooth beginning to happen, it's
best to plan ahead to assure the new employee will feel welcomed and as stress free as
possible (Hacker, 2004).
Stage Two of the Orientation Process
The second period of the orientation process is the arrival of the new employee.
This is when all of the prior planning comes into play. The more that can be done to
decrease the stress the better it will be for the new-hire (Hacker, 2004). This first day and
up to a week is mainly for welcoming, getting the new employee familiar with the
company and getting all the arrival paperwork complete (Hacker, 2004). In this first
week, the employee needs to feel as welcomed as possible. Organizations will often
celebrate the new arrival by having lunch catered so that everyone can eat together and
meet the new employee. During this process, the employee will feel valued as well as
meet a lot of his or her new co-workers (Hacker, 2004). This is also a good time to pair
this employee with a mentor or a buddy. This mentor is a person who will show the new
employee around the office to inform them about all of the office procedures,
underwritten politics, and the culture of the company. Throughout the first year, this
person will be someone the new employee can come to with any problems or issues.
Along with feeling welcomed, meeting people, and learning the rules; it is very
important for the employees to learn about their job description and the organization as a
whole. This period of learning about the organization and the job is very important.
However, it can also be incredibly overwhelming for the new employee. Some of the
important, but basic information that is learned during this period is consistent throughout
the literature. This information includes the following: the history of the company, the
vision and future for the company (American Society for Training & Development,
2000), the policies and procedures of the company; the available benefits, vacation, and
sick or personal leave, and any technical information that needs to be addressed before
starting the job (Robbins, 2002).
There are many different creative delivery methods and techniques that can be
utilized to allow the employee to enjoy learning the new information and retain what they
have learned. Some different ways the new employee can get the information is through
reading the information, going through a training program, learning through observation,
and learning through coaching or being mentored (ASTD, 2000). These methods can
also be combined to assure optimal results. Depending on the information needing to be
learned, it might be best that it be taught in a training program; or they may have optimal
results if they learn it from a mentor on a one-on-one basis. There is no one way to
deliver the necessary information, just as long as it gets to the new employee in a learner-
The lecture type training method is a widely used method that teaches the new
employees the information they need to know. Organizations have learned that this part
of orientation can be long, boring, and ineffective if it is not delivered in a creative way.
It is possible to alter this lecture style delivery method to an accelerated learning method.
This accelerated learning method is explained by France and Jarvis as follows, "it
involves highly interactive and experiential learning that engages the participants in
applying or "activating" their learning immediately" (France & Jarvis, 1996, p.49).
There are several techniques that are used to teach this learning method such as allowing
the new employees to teach each other policies and procedures or having quick scavenger
hunts to find different items around the building. This will also allow the new employees
to become familiar with the office (France & Jarvis, 1996). Other techniques are to have
roundtable discussions about the information being covered or group the new employees
and allow them to present the information they have learned in the orientation to the CEO
or other co-workers (H.J., 2002). These are all techniques to allow the new employees to
be actively involved with the learning process so they will retain the information they
have learned in the orientation.
The first week is a very important period of the orientation and it can play a vital
part in the retention of the new employees. If the new employees are welcomed and the
information that they must learn is presented in a learner-friendly manner, the new hire
will be less-stressed and have a better first impression, which can result in his/her
decision to stay with the organization.
Stage Three of the Orientation Process
The final part of the orientation will continue for the remainder of the new
orientation process. This final period of the orientation program is going to focus more
on the job description and establishing goals and milestones so that both the new
employee and the supervisor know what is expected of them (Hacker, 2004). With the
job description, goals, and milestones out in the open, the new employee and the
supervisor can work together. It has been recommended that goals be broken into three-
month time periods so that they are easier to understand and organize (Hacker, 2004).
Throughout this period, it is a great time for the new employee to call on the mentor that
has been assigned to them (Hacker, 2004). Allowing the new employee to call on a
mentor for questions and assistance will decrease stress in this period because the new
employee might not feel comfortable going to his or her supervisor for every question.
Overall Principles and Findings in regards to New Employee Orientation
The above steps are the common themes and practices found in the literature. If
these practices are utilized, they will help increase the likelihood that the new employee
will stay with the organization as a productive employee. Throughout the literature, there
were also some common themes that were criticized. The main criticisms were mistakes
made by organizations not being prepared for the new employee's arrival, not involving
current employees in the orientation, making the orientation an event and not a process,
and not using varied and creative methods to deliver the information.
Another important point is that all the people involved with the new employee
should be involved in the orientation. This includes the supervisor, trainers, mentors, and
other co-workers with whom the new employee will be in contact (ASTD, 2000). This is
to assure that everyone has an opportunity to become acquainted, and if the new
employees have questions; they will know who come to for answers. One of the main
criticisms is when new employees are brought into a work place and not introduced to
their co-workers. If the employee has little connection with the appropriate co-workers,
he or she will suffer undue stress.
It was very obvious in the literature that using the process approach to orientation
results in reduced employee turnover (ASTD, 2000). With an appropriate process
approach, the organization should be ready for the new employee. When the employee
arrives, he or she can ease into the job by participating in meet-and-greets, doing
necessary paperwork, and attending various training sessions. With a one-shot
orientation, an employee is less likely to feel connected; therefore, the employee has less
of an opportunity to be a productive worker (Hacker, 2004). The orientation process is
not just about teaching the person new information and then letting them go. It is a
process of welcoming, goal setting, and assisting. In many cases, if the process is not
fully carried out, it can result in higher turnover rates because the new employees are not
comfortable in their new jobs.
The lack of creativity in the training process is another problem that was discussed.
Sometimes, new employees have to suffer through a drawn-out orientation process and
then do not remember any of it. This could be because they are on the receiving end of
hours of information (France, Jarvis, 1996). For them to really learn the information and
enjoy it to some extent, they need to be involved with the learning. There are many ways
to be creative while teaching the information.
Orientation is a very effective and useful process for the organization and the new
employees. As stated throughout this section, the orientation process can help reduce the
stress and anxiety of the employee, improve employee morale, and increase productivity.
All of these benefits of an orientation process are due to the fact that more time and
energy were spent on the new employee to make him or her feel like a welcomed and
valuable member of the organization (Robbins, 2002). When an orientation produces
such results, it also affects the organization by reducing turnover. Organizations also see
that when turnover decreases, they save money on training new employees.
In regards to new employee orientation in Cooperative Extension Systems, there
was not much literature. It was noted that there is a great need for a stronger new
employee orientation in extension systems (Ritchie, 1996). However, there cannot be a
blanket statement that implies that all extension systems do not have a strong new
employee orientation. The Cooperative Extension Systems across the United States are
very unique and managed differently, so there may be very good orientations in some
states and counties and weak orientations in others.
From the limited literature that was found, there was reason to believe that there are
counties and states that need to strengthen their orientations. Ritchie, an extension
specialist in Indiana, has indicated that new faculty members are frustrated, and they
don't know where to start. This was a common theme within the literature regarding new
employee training (Ritchie, 1996). Some extension systems have new employee
orientations, but these orientations consist of very basic information such as: guidelines
for required reports, the history of the organization; and other general courses such as
stress management, personal growth, and how to balance your personal life and work.
These are very general courses that are usually only held one time (Ritchie, 1996).
Ritchie and his team in Indiana are developing a program that will help new faculty
throughout the year with information and guidance for topics and subjects such as:
working with volunteers, program planning, financial management, accountability and
evaluation. They highlight sources and resources that might be needed, and they teach
communication skills to better communicate with their clientele (Ritchie, 1996).
Overall, an effective orientation process is a very important part of an organization.
As Lloyd stated, (as cited in Schettler, 2002) "First impressions are lasting impressions.
It's a gift to meet and greet new people who have made a decision to stay and potentially
build a long career. Opportunities are never lost; they just go to someone else"
(Schettler, 2002, p.40). If those first impressions aren't good ones (orientation process)
then they will lose potentially great employees as well as the opportunity to benefit from
the employee's skills and knowledge.
New employees are hired into organizations everyday, and each one of these new
employees brings different sets of skills and knowledge to the organization that could
benefit the organization if these skills are recognized and cultivated. Beginning a new
job can be intimidating, especially if you don't know anyone. Consequently,
organizations all around the world have put into place mentoring programs to build
confidence and cultivate the skills, talent, and knowledge of their new employees. A
mentoring program is where a senior employee pairs up with a less experienced
employee to provide the new employee with support, direction, and feedback regarding
career aspirations and personal development (Russell & Adams, 1997). These mentors
are usually committed to motivating and providing upward support and mobility within a
protege's career (Kutilek & Earnest, 2001).
There are two primary functions within a mentoring program. The first function is
to help the protege advance in his or her career. The mentor might guide the protege via
coaching, protecting, exposure, and sponsorship (Russell & Adams, 1997). The
psychosocial function is the second type of assistance that the mentor can provide for a
protege. This function is more along the line of personal assistance, where the mentor is
a friend who is there to build confidence, counsel, and be a role model for the protege
(Russell & Adams, 1997). Throughout the literature it states that the psychosocial
function gives the new employee an ally and a senior employee with the appropriate
attitude, values, and positive view on the organization and life to talk to them about their
thoughts, concerns, fears and anxieties. As mentors develop, guide, advise, validate, and
motivate their proteges; they create a linkage between the protege and the organization's
expectations (Zimmer & Smith, 1992). When the mentor provides vision and support for
the protege, it allows the protege to better understand what he/she can do for the
organization (Zimmer & Smith, 1992).
Benefits of Mentoring
It has been found that mentors receive great rewards from mentoring. Personal
satisfaction comes from sharing knowledge with a protege and then watching that protege
grow and mature in the company (Allen, Poteet, & Burroughs, 1997). The mentor might
even be rejuvenated by the new perspectives and energy of a new employee (Russell &
Adams, 1997). Building this relationship between the mentor and protege also allows the
mentor a chance to gain a new perspective on the lower levels of the organization. This
will allow him/her to adjust the management style to best suit the lower levels of the
organization (Allen, Poteet, & Burroughs, 1997). The employee will also benefit from the
organizational recognition that comes from teaching and advising a protege to help build
the skills and knowledge needed to improve the organization (Russell & Adams, 1997).
Consequently, the organization will have a loyal, rejuvenated, and fulfilled senior
It was obvious that in most cases the proteges benefited from being in a mentoring
relationship. It has been found that mentors are a great source of organizational
information, and the new employees that were in a mentoring programs learned more
about the organization's issues and practices compared to others who had not been
mentored (Viator, 2000). The information and help that proteges receive from their
mentors results in both career and personal satisfaction, such as faster promotion rates,
higher compensation, and faster career mobility (Russell & Adams, 1997). Learning the
ins and outs of the organization more quickly can help lower stress levels, and lead to
higher self-esteem, which will result in great job performance (Russell & Adams, 1997).
Therefore, the outcomes are always positive when the organization has employees who
have increased job satisfaction, personal productivity, and stability (Kutilek & Earnest,
When the mentor and the protege benefit, the organization will most likely benefit
as well. Mentoring benefits an organization in several ways. It increases employee
productivity because proteges are learning fast and mentors are being rejuvenated.
Loyalty is also increased because these new employees are paired with a long-time
employee who is teaching the values and importance of his/her job and the organization
as a whole. One of the most important benefits that will save the organization time and
money is the reduction of turnover. Since the proteges are learning at a greater pace,
they are not as stressed out, they see an importance in their job, and they have someone
they can talk to about their problems; consequently they will not be as likely to change
jobs as quickly (Russell & Adams, 1997). Then the organization will have employees
who are more satisfied, loyal, and productive; therefore, decreasing turnover and saving
money on training new employees.
Throughout the literature, it is clear that mentoring benefited the mentor, protege,
and the organization, but there can be a negative side. One of the negative aspects in a
mentorship program is a dysfunctional relationship where one or both participants are not
benefiting from the relationship (Scandure, 1998). There are several situations that could
create a relationship that does not benefit either the mentor or the protege. The first
situation is when an employee becomes jealous of a protege who receives special
attention from a senior mentoring employee. This could lead to resentment towards the
protege from other employees (Allen, Poteet & Burroughs, 1997). The second situation
occurs if the mentor is insecure about his/her job and worried that the new protege might
take his/her position. This could cause the mentor to possibly sabotage the protege so
that he/she will not advance. The third problem results when a mentor is excessively
critical, demanding, or authoritarian. This could cause the protege to avoid the mentor,
and therefore not gain any benefit from the relationship. Fourthly, the mentor could be
more focused on his/her own advancement, which could lead to the mentor exploiting the
protege by just using him/her to move up the political latter for the mentor's self-benefit.
Lastly, one of the biggest problems is when the mentor or protege neglects the
relationship because one of the members of the relationship does not put forth the effort
needed to make the relationship successful (Scandure, 1998).
If mentors and proteges are not paired up correctly and the pair has conflicting
attitudes, beliefs, and values then there is going to be frustration and arguing that could
lead to them wasting energy on negative relationship problems (Eby, McManus, Simon &
Russell, 2000). All of these negative aspects can be very harmful to the pair and to the
organization. These problems can result in frustration, anger, and envy. The problems
will also reduce productivity due to misdirected energy and increased turnover (Scandura,
The various problems that arise can be helped through training and the ability to
opt out of the relationship. First of all, educate the pairs that problems could arise and let
them know how to handle the problem or let them know who to go to help them through
it. In addition to training, let everyone know from the beginning that if they are not
comfortable with the relationship, or they just want out, then they can opt out at any time
with no hassle (Scandura, 1998). Training and opting out will help bring about
awareness of problems and decrease the feeling of being trapped in a bad relationship.
Even though there could be negative aspects and outcomes within a mentoring
program, it is also stated in the literature that there are more cases of positive
relationships a negative relationships (Eby, McManus, Simon & Russell, 2000).
Consequently, since a mentoring program is beneficial to the mentor, protege, and the
organization most of the time, organizations continue to use mentoring programs.
The selection of mentors is an important issue for ensuring that the mentoring pair
is successful. When selecting a mentor, a few common themes appeared. This includes
finding a mentor that is open to share and talk to their proteges, has a positive attitude
toward the organization, has the knowledge to be able to sufficiently help the proteges
with problems and questions, and is experienced and secure with their own abilities so
that they will not be threatened by their protege.
In a teaching mentoring program, potential mentors are put through a rigorous
selection process. The mentors that are selected for this teacher mentor program have to
observe their proteges, talk to them about what they are doing well and what they can
improve upon. They also have to be proactive in looking for the proteges needs and
helping them before a problem arises (Moir & Bloom, 2003). This teacher mentor
program over the last fifteen years has trained over ninety full-time mentors. Through
these mentors, they have mentored more than nine-thousand proteges. Therefore this
program that averages six-hundred proteges a year has to assure that no protege goes
unnoticed. The mentors have to be selected very carefully to assure that they are caring
and have the desire to help each one of their proteges (Moir & Bloom, 2003).
Another suggestion is to have a screening period where a panel of supervisors will
ask the potential mentors a series of questions about their motives on becoming a mentor.
Not all potential mentors want to be a mentor for the right reasons. Some people might
desire to be a mentor to have power over people, delegate unwanted work to their
protege, or put blame on the protege to cover up their own faults (Eby, McManus, Simon
& Russell, 2000). The mentor should have a true desire to help a new employee and give
back to the organization. The potential mentor must have the technical and
organizational knowledge to be able to fully help the protege (Eby, McManus, Simon &
Russell, 2000). The screening process is to ensure that the most caring, desirable, and
knowledgeable mentors are chosen for the job.
When faculty members are very busy they can easily overlook their mentoring
responsibilities, so they need to be willing to make mentoring a priority. Likewise,
during the first year it can be very busy and overwhelming for the protege. The mentor
must remember those days and be understanding when the protege comes to him/her with
problems, questions, or concerns (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
There was limited information in the literature on the actual processes that are put
in place to select the mentors. Two extension mentoring programs briefly described their
selection process. One program allowed the supervisors within the extension systems to
pick the mentors, but that was the extent of the discussion regarding the actual selection
of the mentors (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). The second program allowed extension
faculty to pick three nominees. These nominees were selected on personality
characteristics and technical expertise. Then a point system was utilized in which
nominations from peers outside the named agent's geographical and program area
received higher point values. This allowed agents with wide-spread recognition to be
ranked higher than the agent whose reputation was limited to a specific area or program
area. Nominees with the highest points were selected as mentors. They were then
assigned to proteges according to location, program area, and needs of the protege
(Zimmer & Smith, 1992). Consequently, there is no one certain way that selection has to
be done. It could be as simple as supervisors picking a mentor, or it could be more
complicated via a system of self-selection and a ranking system to choose the mentors.
Training and Orientation
Throughout the literature, training has been cited as a needed part of the mentoring
process. It may be training the mentors on how to be better mentors, briefing them on
their roles and responsibilities, or simply briefing the proteges on what they can expect
out of the mentoring program. Training involves an array of different subjects. There is
no certain training manual that mentor programs abide by, but the most common themes
that surfaced were the vision of the program, (Moir & Bloom, 2003) job descriptions,
roles of the mentors, (supporting both the career and psycho-social roles) (Mincemoyer &
Thomson, 1998) a checklist of topics to talk about between the mentor and protege,
teaching boundaries (sexual harassment, diversity), and openly discussing how to deal
with conflict within a relationship (Scandura, 1998). It is also suggested that the protege
should be briefed about the program so he/she can have reasonable expectations
(Scandura, 1998). Face-to-face meetings, distance education methods, and videos can all
be used to provide the necessary training.
One program had quite an extensive mentor training program. This particular
program had a three-day basic-training program that covered such topics as creating a
vision of quality teaching, identifying new teacher needs, understanding the phases of
new teachers, selecting support strategies, assessing a beginning teacher's practice, and
reaching professional standards in mentoring. After that training session, the mentors
went on a two-day training that covered topics such as effective ways to observe and
coach teachers, how to collect data from the proteges, and how to use that data to help the
proteges. There was also an ongoing program where the mentors got together each week
for a half-day for ongoing professional development. Each week they were able to come
together and share strategies, challenges, and successes. Each week they would reflect
and work on their own professional development plan to help make them a great full-time
Mentor training is a needed part of any effective mentoring program. Training
reinforces what the mentors should be doing and what the program is meant to do.
Appropriate training ensures that everyone is on the same page before the program even
Pairing Mentors and Proteges
The pairing of the mentors and the proteges is a crucial part of the mentoring
process. Here are several important components that must go into this process: the pair
should be compatible, they should have common work responsibilities, and they should
work in close proximity to one another. For each pair that is matched, different
circumstances and criteria must be considered. The common criteria that emerged
throughout the literature in regards to matching mentors and proteges is as follows:
program areas or job responsibilities, distance, proteges needs, whether it is safe to let the
supervisor be the mentor, and how long the formal mentoring relation will last. Some
mentoring programs require the mentors and the proteges to fill out a bio-sketch sheet
that denotes strengths, weaknesses, program knowledge, needs, (Kutilek & Earnest 2001)
attitudes, values, and beliefs (Eby, McManus, Simon & Russell, 2000). This information
will allow for more suitable matching. It has been found that if the mentor's and
protege's attitude, values, and beliefs are not aligned then this causes negative mentoring
experiences (Eby, McManus, Simon & Russell, 2000). If aspects such as attitude, values,
and beliefs can be determined before pairing a match; mentoring experiences should have
a more positive outcome.
It has been proven that similar programmatic responsibility is a strong criterion in
matching mentors and proteges. When mentors and proteges have the same program
area, they are able to plan and provide programs together. This results in interaction that
allows for more practical understanding of the program area and the organization. They
also learn from each other as they collaborate on their programming tasks.
Geographical location is another important criterion to consider when matching the
pairs. It has been found that if the pair is closer in proximity, they are more likely to have
additional interaction because they can plan educational programs together. If there is a
great distance between the pair, there is going to be more travel time and cost that will be
involved, so it could become more of a burden to work together (Mincemoyer &
Many times in the business sector, proteges are paired with mentors who are senior
members of the organization. When one of these senior members are paired with a
protege in the same office, other employees could feel jealous or left out because this
senior member is not paying as much attention to him or her (Scandura, 1997). The
literature did not say to avoid having mentoring pairs in the same office, it just suggested
that it could be a possible problem.
The issue of supervisors being mentors to their subordinates has been studied quite
extensively. There are studies that have found that mentoring supervisors help by being
there on a day-to-day basis. In addition, they know the performance and needs of the
protege, and they have the means to provide the help that the proteges need (Fagenson-
Eland, Marks & Amendola, 1997). The direct supervisor can provide frequent contact
and communication which provides for a very functional mentoring relationship (Burk &
In the business sector, it is recommended that one be aware of mentoring
relationships when the mentor is in a higher organizational level than the protege's direct
supervisor. If the mentor is in a higher level than the direct supervisor of the protege, the
supervisor could get insecure because the protege has a close relationship with his or her
superior. The supervisor may feel threatened because he or she does not know what the
protege is saying about him/her. It is recommended that the direct supervisor be trained
to be a mentor, and allow him or her to be the mentor in hopes of eliminating the
possibility of the supervisor feeling insecure and taking his or her insecurities out on
protege (Fagenson-Eland, Marks & Amendola, 1997).
There are also studies that have found that the boss taking the role of a mentor may
not be a positive relationship. In these studies, they found that the mentor/boss may even
have greater power to control work assignments and career-enhancement opportunities.
Then if there are personality conflicts, or any other issues, the protege might not feel
open with talking to the mentor. If the situation worsens, the protege might want to get
out of the mentoring relationship, but may fear that the boss will become angry or
retaliate (Scandura, 1998). This could be a complicated situation, so it has been
recommended to stay away from having a boss as a mentor.
As one can see, the matching process is not an easy task. It is very complicated and
there are many aspects to consider such as program area, distance, the needs of the
protege, and whether or not the supervisor should be the mentor. This process is an
important part of the program and if it is done right, the pair should form a positive
After the mentors are selected and the pair is matched, the next time step is the
initiation period. This is the period of the mentoring program where the mentor and the
protege become acquainted and form the mentoring relationship. It is stated that a
successful initiation period is perceived to result in a more successful mentoring
relationship (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
This initiation process is to be done as soon as possible because proteges have
stated that the longer the initiation period is put off, the less beneficial the mentoring is
(Zimmer & Smith, 1992). When more time goes by, the protege is forced to learn the
needed information on his or her own, and the mentor will no longer be needed. If the
mentor was in place sooner, the protege would not have to go through the stress of
learning the organization without a mentor. It is said that the initiation process should
begin no later than a month after the protege starts the new job (Kutilek & Earnest, 2001).
The first contact should be initiated by the mentor and if possible face-to-face
would be the best scenario (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). It is best for the mentor to
make the first contact and assure the protege that he/she is not a burden. This could be a
problem because the protege might feel like the senior employee (mentor) feels like
he/she is a burden. If the mentor initiates the contact and takes time to make the protege
feel confident that they are not a burden, then this will allow the mentoring relationship to
grow in a positive way (Olian, Carroll, & Giannantonio, 1993).
There are several tools that are used to help the initiation process and break the
awkwardness between the mentor and protege (Mincemoyer &Thomson, 1998). One of
these tools is the bio-sketch, which provides the mentor and protege with general
information that will help get a conversation started. Another tool is a needs assessment.
The mentor can informally ask for the needs of the protege, so it will give the mentor a
starting point as to what they can jointly work on for the duration of the mentoring
relationship (Mincemoyer &Thomson, 1998). These are a couple of tools that will help
build a positive relationship between the mentoring pair (Mincemoyer &Thomson, 1998).
The initiation period might seem like one of the more simple tasks in the mentoring
process, but this is not a part that can be overlooked. Without the mentor taking the first
step to initiate the program within the first month, the rest of the program will not be as
effective because this is where the awkwardness is broken and progress begins.
Communication and Interaction
Communication is the common theme throughout the mentoring literature. There
are several different aspects that need to be examined at such as the frequency of contact,
the topics that are shared between the pair, and the length of the mentoring relationship.
The frequency of contact or communication is a very important part of mentoring.
Studies have shown that the amount of contact and communication positively affects the
protege (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). It has even been shown that if the mentor
neglects the protege's needs then this will result in slower promotion rates and salary
increases (Eby, McManus, Simon & Russell, 2000). When a mentor shares information
solely on a need-to-know basis, it will inhibit the relationship and the growth of the
protege (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
The willingness of the mentor to share with the protege is very important because it
is clearly stated throughout the literature that the more time and information that is
shared, the greater success the pair will have (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). The
contact is great if the pair can meet face-to-face, but that is not always realistic, so
frequent interaction through the phone or email is still valuable communication
(Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
It has been recommended that there be guidelines for the minimum amount of
communication and contact that the pair should have (Fagenson-Eland, Marks &
Amendola, 1997). Specific guidelines for the amount of contact between the mentoring
pairs were not stated and this is an area that should be studied more closely to find out the
optimal level and types of contact.
There are common topics that if shared between a mentoring pair could promote a
stronger mentoring relationship. The topics are as follows: program development
processes, where to go for technical support, identification of resources, program
development ideas, communication/presentation skills, marketing information, technical
support, subject-matter information, encouragement to belong to professional
associations, personal development/career guidance, balancing work/personal life, and
culture of the organization.
From the very beginning, there should be communication between the mentor,
protege, and the direct supervisor of the protege. This will allow the mentor and the
supervisor to know their roles and responsibilities, so nothing will get left out. This will
eliminate any feeling that the other one is taking their responsibility of developing the
protege. The direct supervisor must also be supportive of the mentoring program because
if the supervisor is not in support of the pair, then it will make it hard on the mentors and
proteges to communicate as much as they should (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
During the duration of the mentoring program, the protege should continue to develop
relationships with their supervisors and co-workers as well as their mentor. In some
cases, the protege will rely greatly on the mentor and become very close to the mentor,
and they may fail to form relationships with their supervisor and co-workers (Fagenson,
1994). Not staying connected to co-workers and the supervisor could create problems.
First of all, the supervisor might feel uncomfortable or left out if the protege is very close
to another senior advisor. If the supervisor does not have frequent contact with both the
mentor and protege, an unfavorable evaluation could develop (Fagenson, 1994). The
supervisor could feel insecure with his/her subordinate being so close to another senior
employee (Fagenson-Eland, Marks & Amendola, 1997). When the mentoring program
is over or the mentor moves to another office, the protege is left with no real relationships
or people to consult with in the office because the protege never made an effort to build
relationships with the co-workers outside of his or her relationship with the mentor
(Fagenson, 1994). Communication between the mentor, supervisors, and co-workers is
very important in making a mentoring program successful.
It is recommended that a formal mentoring program last one year (Mincemoyer &
Thomson, 1998). One of the reasons is that it is consistent with the national guidelines
for orientation (Smith & Beckley, 1985), and one year will allow the pair to go through a
full program development cycle (Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998). This could also be
studied more in-depth to find out why a mentoring program should last one year long.
Also no literature was found that discussed mentoring programs that were shorter or
longer than one year.
Communication and interaction between the mentors, protege, supervisors, and co-
workers is a very important part of having a successful mentoring program. Combining
frequent contact, discussing important topics, setting guidelines for minimum amount of
interaction and open communication will help to ensure that the mentoring program is a
Record-keeping and evaluation
To keep improving the mentoring program and ensuring that mentors are keeping
in contact with the protege, there needs to be a record-keeping system, an evaluation
method, and a follow-up program to ensure that the proper relationships are developing.
Record-keeping is a great asset to a mentoring program. A record-keeping system
can help the program by providing a structured document that allows the mentors to
document time spent and topics discussed with their proteges. This helps the program
leaders monitor the development of the relationship. Since the mentors know that these
documents are reviewed by the program leaders, this could prompt them to keep in
frequent contact with the proteges. These records could help evaluate the program, and it
will also help with providing information to improve the program in the upcoming years
(Mincemoyer & Thomson, 1998).
As discussed above, neglect and lack of communication is a problem in mentoring.
This problem can be present because the mentor is either too busy or disinterested in the
relationship. This is why the mentoring pairs need to be monitored to make sure contact
is being made, and that everyone is happy within the relationship. The pairs should also
be monitored in order to verify that nothing unhealthy is occurring.
There are monitoring programs that could be put into place to really help the
program. Having a contact person for the mentoring pairs to call if they have any
troubles or questions is helpful. This contact person will also monitor the pair on a
regular basis to ensure that they are keeping in contact, and that both the mentor and
protege are benefiting from the relationship. The contact should be a local individualized
support person that can help the pair stay on track, and inform the pair of upcoming
events or programs that might benefit them (Kutilek & Earnest, 2001). Other ways of
monitoring the performance of the program are by gathering feedback from the mentor
and protege, and possibly from co-workers and supervisors as well (Eby, McManus,
Simon & Russell, 2000).
From the literature, it is clear that it did not matter as much how the program was
monitored or evaluated, just as long as the pairs were being monitored. This helps to
ensure progress with assigned responsibilities and communication, and that records are
being recorded so the program can be evaluated and improved upon year after year.
Rewards and Incentives
Mentoring is a time consuming task that caring, hardworking employees take on to
benefit the well-being of both the protege and the organization (Sweeny, 2003). These
mentors deserve any reward or incentive that they might get. Most mentors will
appreciate some type of reward or incentive (Sweeny, 2003). The following list shows an
array of rewards and incentives with which to provide a mentor. As noted in table 2-1,
these ideas can be used in many different ways and in several different combinations
depending upon on what is best for each program (Sweeny, 2003).
Whether or not the incentive or reward is money, professional development
opportunities, or recognition; it is important that the mentors know that their work is
appreciated and not overlooked. It is critical that this recognition be evident throughout
all levels of the organization.
Table 2-2. Incentives and Rewards List for Mentors in the Extension Organization.
The Range of Mentoring Incentives
A salary differential
Advance on the salary schedule
Table 2-2. Continued.
The Range of Mentoring Support
To do research
To collaborate with peers on projects
To receive training during work hours
Professional Growth Opportunities
Allowed to present at conferences and meetings
Payment given to reimburse conference fees
Priority given to attend conferences
Priority for courses taught
The Range of Mentoring Recognition Strategies
A recognition banquet
A formal thank you from administration
Expressions of Appreciation
Official thank you letters in individual's personnel file
A open letter to the community in the local newspaper thanking the
mentors & naming new faculty members they helped
The Range of Mentoring Recognition Strategies
Gifts to Express Appreciation
Coffee Mug with symbol or program name or name of mentor
Small Gift like "golden gator" or "paper weight" with name or
"mentor" engraved on it
Priority given to mentors for budget support for programming
Use of personal days when desired (i.e. just before or just after a
(Adapted from Sweeny, 2003).
Formal verses Informal Mentoring
Chao provided definitions of formal and informal mentoring (as cited in Russell &
Adams, 1997). Informal mentor relationships were defined as spontaneous relationships
that occur without external involvement from the organization. The mentoring process
begins through work or non-work interaction. The protege proves himself/herself worthy
of attention provided by the mentor. On the other hand, formal mentor relationships are
managed and sanctioned by the organization. Organizations form mentor/protege
partnerships in a number of ways ranging from random assignment to pairing the mentors
and proteges based upon personnel files (Russell & Adams, 1997). These two mentoring
programs are very different, but they are both striving for a common goal.
Informal mentoring is a more natural approach of mentors and proteges engaging
into a mentoring relationship. This type of mentoring relationship is not managed,
formally structured, or recognized through the organization (Russell & Adams, 1997).
The initiation of an informal mentoring program is a process of the mentor and protege
meeting each other and observing each other, and then as they feel comfortable with each
other they might form a mentoring relationship (Viator, 2001). Studies show that the
characteristics that the mentors and proteges look for in each other are common
throughout the informal pairs. The proteges are looking for mentors who have power,
self-confidence, and are willing to share and protect. The mentors are looking for a
protege who has already established a good performance, has a desirable social
background, and has demonstrated commitment and loyalty (Viator, 2001). Since this
relationship is a mutual agreement and no third parties are involved, these relationships
usually have great chemistry and are very open and sharing. The mentor has an intrinsic
motivation to help the protege grow and develop (Fagenson-Eland, Marks & Amendola,
1997). These relationships work with evolving goals and objectives where formal
relationships focus on specific goals and objectives (Viator, 2001). The informal
relationship is going to continue as long as it needs to and will accomplish many goals
and objectives that surface (Viator, 2001).
There are also some negative aspects to the informal mentoring relationship. When
mentors and proteges select one another, only the high achieving proteges will be chosen
instead of the employees who are not as outgoing or quick to adapt to the job. This is
unfortunate because these are the employees who could potentially benefit the most from
a mentor. These lower profile people are often bypassed because the people who want to
mentor have already chosen the more outgoing and proven performers who will benefit
the mentor as well (Olian, Carroll & Giannantonio, 1993). Mentors want to leave an
impression and by mentoring high performers this could help them leave a greater legacy
(Olian, Carroll & Giannantonio, 1993). Therefore, if an organization desires to ensure
that all of their new employees are being mentored, they might want to rely on a formal
mentoring program because so often the lower performing employees could be left
behind in an informal program. In a formal mentoring program all new employees have
an opportunity to be mentored.
Formal mentoring relationships have pros and cons also. The formal mentoring
program is a structured program that is usually sponsored by the organization to ensure
that every new employee gets a mentor to help them through the beginning stages of their
new career. The mentoring pairs are selected through random assignments or matching
based on personal profiles (Russell & Adams, 1997).
Formal mentoring programs may lack in chemistry and discourage communication;
but is has also been found that proteges within a formal mentoring program receive the
same amount of psychosocial support, career guidance, and role-modeling as the ones in
an informal relationship (Fagenson-Eland, Marks & Amendola, 1997). If the mentor and
protege are paired up properly and both have a desire to be in the program, the
relationship has the potential to have the same chemistry as a mentoring pair in an
informal mentoring relationship.
Therefore, from the literature reviewed, both the informal and formal relationships
have pros and cons. The formal mentoring relationships received the same support as the
informal. Consequently, if a comfortable open environment can be created, then the
formal relationships can achieve the same results as the informal ones (Fagenson-Eland,
Marks & Amendola, 1997).
All types of professions use mentoring to help develop new employees into more
productive employees. This will assist the employee in being more satisfied with their job
and eventually more effective in the work place. The benefits of developing skills,
improving performance, and developing new employees into assets for the organization is
a great benefit for the planning and preparation that is involved in running a mentoring
program. The task of selecting the mentors, training them, pairing the mentors and
proteges, and finally watching them develop their relationship is not an easy task.
However, the benefits are happier employees who perform at a higher level. This not
only benefits them, but the mentor and the organization as well.
In conclusion, professional growth and development is an incredible experience to
go through as well as to watch others experience. Throughout this chapter, professional
development, new employee training, and mentoring have been discussed. From the
broad sense of professional development, there was an understanding developed for the
need of professional development in different fields of expertise. New employee
orientation was also examined, and it was found that this process is a vital part of
professional development. And finally, the mentoring program was examined and
discussed as well as the benefits that affect a protege's skill development. In addition to
the protege's skill development, the increased performance levels give the mentor
satisfaction that he/she is helping a younger member of the organization succeed. The
organization as a whole benefits by reducing turnover as the proteges become more
productive and loyal workers.
In this chapter, the methodology used to accomplish the objectives of the study will
be explained. The three objectives for this study were to document the benefit and value
of mentoring to new extension faculty, to document the benefit and value of mentoring to
seasoned agents, and to develop guidelines and recommendations for a structured
mentoring program based upon results from this pilot program. The research design,
target population, instrumentation, data collection, and analysis will be explained.
The research design of this study is descriptive by nature because it is describing
the participant's perceptions of what they gained from the program and what they thought
was effective and ineffective. This study used three phases to collect the data necessary
to accomplish the objectives of the study.
Phases one and two were formative evaluations, which are evaluations conducted
throughout the study. These two formative evaluations were implemented to provide
ongoing information about the study, such as is the program proceeding as designed, is
expected progress being made, what conditions are necessary for the study to succeed,
have those conditions for success been met and can the current conditions be improved.
This data will provide the researchers with information that will allow them to make
adjustments, modifications, or revisions during the current pilot mentoring program as
well as future implications for a statewide mentoring program (Guskey, 1998). These
formative evaluations for phase one and two were collected via questionnaires, which
consisted of open ended and Likert-scale questions to develop guidelines and
recommendations for a structured mentoring program.
The third phase was a summative evaluation, which was conducted at the end of the
study. This evaluation was to provide the researchers with the overall value or worth of
the program. The summative evaluation provides data of what was accomplished during
the study. The findings from this evaluation will provide information for the researcher
to make decisions and recommendations for the future of the program (Guskey, 1998).
This third phase used four focus groups consisting of one group of each of the following
extension positions: DEDs, CEDs, mentors and proteges. These focus groups provided
the participants' perceptions, benefits, and values from the pilot mentoring program.
Since this was primarily a descriptive study, qualitative methods were utilized to
collect the data. Objectives one and two were accomplished through the questionnaire
and focus groups. Perceptions of the orientation, training, guidelines, and procedures of
the pilot program were all collected in these focus groups. The third objective was
accomplished through focus groups in the third phase. The focus groups were divided as
explained above, and this method allowed the participants to openly share their
perception of the program.
The independent variables of this study are the individual participants as well as
their demographics such as race, gender, age, years in extension, extension tenure,
program area, and demographics of their area of work. The dependent variables of the
study are the participants' perception of the program and what the participants perceived
they had gained from the program.
This study consisted of four populations of participants. The proteges were ten of
the newest county faculty in Florida extension who had not yet gone through the new
faculty orientation between October 2003 and April 2004. The mentors were selected by
the DEDs of the particular district that the proteges and mentors were located. The
selection of the mentors was based upon the proteges' weaknesses, geographical area,
and a similar program area in order to assure that the mentee was able to obtain the most
guidance possible in the needed areas. The CEDs were automatically selected if they had
a mentor or protege in their office and they were then asked to participate in evaluating
the pilot program. The DEDs were also automatically selected if there was a mentor or
protege in their district. There are five districts in Florida, and the program had mentors
and proteges in four of those districts. Consequently four DEDs participated in the
This study was conducted using three instruments to collect the data. The first
instrument was an open-ended qualitative questionnaire, which was administered to all
four populations via email. This instrument collected data for objectives one and three
where the focus was on the participants' perception of the following variables: the
effectiveness of the time spent with the mentor/protege, the selection process, the
initiation process, the training sessions for the mentors, the orientation for the proteges,
and finally the overall communication between the program coordinators (Appendix A).
The second instrument was a questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions as well as
Likert-scale questions. This instrument was administered via email as well, but only to
the mentors and proteges. This questionnaire focused on the following: the participants'
experiences in the mentoring relationship, the level and type of contact between the pair,
how satisfied they were with the level of contact, the help they received or provided, if
the communication was open and clear, any problems, and what help could be given to
improve any undesired situations. It also included a few demographic questions such as
agent title and rank, years in extension and county makeup (rural, urban, and suburban)
(Appendix B). The third phase consisted of four focus groups for the four different
populations. This phase focused on the participants overall perceptions of the program,
what was effective and ineffective, and how they benefited from the program (Appendix
Transferability and dependability were considered in this study. Transferability is
known to be the degree to which the findings of a qualitative study can be applied or
generalized to other contexts or groups (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002). Because
qualitative researchers don't specify transferability, the researcher, in this case, provides
great detail and description in the context of the study to allow future researchers the
ability to decide whether the method is transferable. Dependability is when the
consistency is examined as to the extent to which variation can be tracked and explained
(Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002). To ensure the consistency of the study is dependable;
the researcher used several strategies such as triangulation, audit trail, working with a
team, and member checks.
Triangulation is when a researcher uses multiple observers, multiple uses of data,
and/or multiple methods. They then collect major themes or patterns in the data from
these various sources, which lend credibility to the study (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh,
2002). In this study, two methods of data collection were used (questionnaires & focus
groups) along with four different populations of people who were participants in the
program. The two data collection methods and the four populations of people allow for
proof of credibility of the study.
The researcher in this study also used the audit trail strategy. This is where the
researcher documents how the study was conducted. This audit trail contains the raw
data such as focus group transcripts and raw questionnaires from the participants (Ary,
Jacobs & Razavieh, 2002). The researcher has documented and collected all of this data
to ensure that a third party auditor could examine the trail to determine the dependability.
A team approach was also used to increase the trustworthiness of the study. The
researcher and an advisor were the prime teammates throughout the study. However, a
group consisting of a DED, a CED, a state specialist and a grad student met at the
beginning of the study and provided direction and vision as to where the program should
go. Therefore great strides were taken to ensure that the transferability and dependability
In phase one, the questionnaires were mailed to the four different populations,
which were organized into two groups for the questionnaire and data analysis. The first
group was the administrators, DEDs, and CEDs while the second group consisted of the
mentors and proteges. Each group received similar questions with slight variations to fit
the exact population.
The questionnaire that was sent to the DEDs and the CEDs was very similar with
only a slight variation. The CEDs' questionnaire did not have a section of questions
pertaining to the two mentor training sessions because the CEDs were not involved in
those sessions. There were four questions asked of each of the two training sessions.
These open-ended questions were geared to determine the overall perception of the
training program in order to increase the effectiveness of the training.
Open-ended questions were used throughout each phase to ensure that the study
received rich and in-depth information. The questions effectively recorded the benefits
that the participants received from partaking in the program as well as a clear picture to
what needs to be improved and changed within the program in order to better benefit the
participants and the extension organization in the future.
The remainder of the questionnaire was the same. There were four sections that
focused on different aspects of the pilot program probing for their perceptions in these
different areas. The sections that were asked about were: the selection process, the
pairing, the initiation period, questions pertaining to how communication can be
improved upon between the DEDs, CEDs, and the professional development staff who
were conducting the pilot mentoring program. These questions were asked to gain a
greater insight on what was perceived as being beneficial for the program as well as what
could be done to make the program better.
The mentors and the proteges both received similar phase one questionnaires with
questions pertaining to the general mentoring program. Since the mentors and the
proteges both had different training sessions, they had questions that were specific to the
training in which they were involved.
The mentors had two different training programs. The first training program
consisted of an introduction to the program which covered the purpose of the pilot
program and the mentoring guidebook that specifies the guidelines, procedures,
mentoring roles, characteristics of a good mentor, and other helpful suggestions that will
enable the mentoring process to progress smoothly. This was a two-hour program that
was held April 20, 2004 via Polycom (video conference call) since the participants were
located all throughout Florida. The Polycom delivery method saved travel time and
money since they could participate in the training from their office. This program was
conducted before the initiation of the mentors and proteges in order to allow for any
questions that might need to be answered before the program started (Appendix D).
Following the proteges' orientations, (April 27, 2004) the mentors were then asked to
contact the protege and start the actual program.
The second mentor training program was held June 29, 2004. This was a two hour
training program via Polycom as well. This training program was to help teach and build
on some mentoring skills that would assist in the mentoring pair. The Interim Associate
Dean welcomed the mentors, thanked them for participating, and shared the value of
mentoring to the Florida Extension Systems. A professor in the department of
Agriculture Education and Communication at the University of Florida taught effective
communication skills, and another professor from the same department taught on the
subject of coaching techniques and tips. This training was conducted to provide the
mentors with some effective mentoring skills to help develop the proteges into productive
faculty members (Appendix E).
The proteges also had an orientation program. It was an hour-and-a-half session
conducted via conference call. Conference call delivery was chosen since this was not a
teaching session, but it was primarily an overview of the program. This session was very
similar to the mentors first training session, but it did not go into depth about the
importance of the mentoring roles and characteristics. This session covered the purpose
of the pilot program, the history of Florida mentoring programs, and the mentoring
handbook. The handbook covers topics like what is expected of the protege, what he/she
can expect of the mentor, and guidelines and procedures to follow while in the program.
This session was facilitated to introduce the program to the proteges and allow an
opportunity for any questions or concerns to be addressed. After this orientation session,
the mentors were then allowed to contact the proteges and start the process.
These were the three training sessions that were held before the phase one
questionnaire was administered. In both the mentor and protege questionnaires, the same
questions were asked, but directed to the particular training sessions that were appropriate
for that questionnaire. The four questions asked were geared to help the researchers
determine what aspects were effective, what needed to be improved, the perceived
adequacy of the time allotted, and the best delivery method utilized to provide the
training sessions. These questions helped the researchers determine what was effective
and what needed to be improved upon in order to assure a more effective training
Questions were asked pertaining to the key aspects of the mentoring program to
receive the mentors' and proteges' perceptions and suggestions to improve these main
aspects of the program. There was one question on both sets of questionnaires that
contributed to objective one, which asked for their perception of the effectiveness of time
spent with the mentor/protege. The remainder of the sections on phase one
questionnaires contributed to objective three. These sections were the selection process
of the mentors, the pairing process, the initiation, and what can be done to help improve
these different aspects of the mentoring program. Another section that was asked of the
mentors and proteges pertained to questions regarding contact level. These questions
were asked to investigate the amount of contact that had accrued, the type of contact,
(email, phone, face to face, travel, coordinating a program together, etc) and their
perception of its effectiveness. These questions were asked in order to see how much the
pairs were contacting each other and if they were meeting the recommended levels of
contacts (Appendix F).
Phase two questionnaires were administered to only the mentors and proteges. The
reason for only administering this questionnaire to them was because during this phase,
the DEDs and CEDs did not have much contact with the mentoring pairs. The majority
of the contact and communication was between the mentors and proteges, so it was not
deemed beneficial to survey the others.
This questionnaire was developed to determine what was happening within the
relationships, to find out what was effective and ineffective, and to determine what needs
to be done to help improve any non-effective situations. This questionnaire used two
different types of questions such as open-ended questions and Likert-scale questions.
The first section of open-ended questions focused on the level of contact and the type of
contact that was being used to interact and communicate.
The second section consisted of Likert-scale questions, and these questions were
designed to determine the average levels of satisfaction with the interaction, the
availability of the mentor and protege, the level of career and technical assistance the
mentor can give the protege, and the level of effective communication. Basic statistics
were used to find the average satisfaction in the different aspects of the mentoring
relationship. Each question had a scale from one to five, one being the least satisfied and
five being the optimal level of satisfaction. The Likert-scale was decided upon because it
would allow the participants to easily rank their satisfaction of each one of the questions,
and it would also allow the researches to accurately analyze the data. The researchers
could also determine what was actually happening within the relationship such as contact
level, the mentor's knowledge, communication level, and availability of the
mentor/protege. In the mentoring literature, frequent contact is a determining factor to
the success of the development of the protege, but there are also other factors such as the
mentor's knowledge and listening skills. If the researchers could determine if there was a
lack in these areas, then it could be improved upon with encouragement or other methods.
The third section of open ended questions was developed to examine what the
mentors and proteges perceived to be going well and not so well in the relationship.
These questions determined what type of problems there might be such as logistical
problems, any external factors that might hinder the relationship, or any conflicts within
the relationship. The questions were developed to determine if anything was going
wrong and what could be done to improve the situation.
The fourth section of questions was simply three demographic questions such as
agent title and rank, years in extension, and primary county make-up (urban, suburban,
and rural). These questions enabled the researcher to gain a greater insight into whom the
participants were and determine if any demographic aspects affected the mentoring
relationship in any way.
The third and primary evaluation phase consisted of four two-hour focus groups
that were conducted via Polycom (DEDs) and conference calls (CEDs, Mentors and
Proteges) (Appendix G). The DEDs, CEDs, Mentors, and Proteges were divided to
ensure that each group would be open and not feel constricted by having their supervisors
and other administration in the same focus group. These focus groups all consisted of
open-ended questions to allow in-depth discussions about the mentoring program. These
focus group questions were developed to gather information for all three objectives.
The same questions were primarily asked for the DED and CED focus groups.
Within the first two sections, questions about objectives one and two were asked to
determine the following: what they perceived the mentors and the proteges had gained or
benefited from the program, if they had experienced any issues or problems within these
mentoring relationships, and what could be done for the mentors in regards to rewards or
incentives to attract the most qualified faculty to become mentors. These two sections
gave the researchers input from the direct supervisors of the participants to provide a
different perspective of the benefits that the mentors and proteges received from the
The third section focused on objective three. This section was to focus more on the
guidelines and recommendations for a structured mentoring program. The questions
were geared to obtain the perceptions of the DEDs and CEDs about mentoring guidelines
and structures. The main topics that the questions focused on were the selection process,
training sessions, pairing of the mentors and proteges, initiations period, the way issues
should be handled, the way the program should be coordinated, and the roles of the state
coordinators, DEDs and CEDs within the mentoring program. The recommendations of
these administrators and the mentors and mentees will help provide guidelines and
structure into a mentoring program.
The mentor and protege focus groups were very similar in regards to the type of
questions asked, but each question was tailored to the specific group. For objectives one
and two, the mentors and proteges were asked the following: what their overall
perception of the program was, how they benefited, how they perceived their partner
benefited, what was effective, what the proteges learned from the mentors, what
promoted learning within the relationship, and what issues or problems came up. These
questions captured the personal side of the program, what they got out of the program,
and what they thought their partner got out of the program.
The third section focused on objective three. These questions focused more on the
guidelines, procedures, and structure of the program. The questions focused on the main
aspects of the program such as the selection process, training and orientations sessions,
initiation, their perception on the mentoring handbook, the pairing process,
interaction/communication, incentives/rewards, what could be improved, how should
mentoring be coordinated, and recommendations for the roles of the DEDs, CEDs and
state coordinators. Questions were asked in each of these topics to obtain the
participants' perceptions and to determine how they would improve a mentoring
The questions asked in the questionnaires and the focus groups were all derived
from the major topics discussed in the mentoring literature. The researchers then
developed and compiled the questions to best benefit this pilot mentoring program.
Data Collection and Analysis
The formal review of this study by the Intuitional Review Board (IRB) was
completed during the first data phase of the study. The first phase of the data collection
process actually began prior to IRB approval in order to capture early formative data
from the participants. The data collection started July 19, 2004, and the IRB was
approved August 23, 2004. The IRB-02, located at the University of Florida, is the
department that reviews non-medical research proposals for ethical soundness. The IRB
approved the research proposal, and assigned it an IRB protocol number (2004-U-636)
(Appendix H). The participants of the study consented to participating in the pilot
mentoring program, and the three phases of evaluation for the study upon initial entry
into the program. At that time, the participants were provided with the time requirement
in this study. Participants opted to participate voluntarily in the study with the right to
withdraw from the study at any time without consequence.
A state-wide mentoring program has been in the development process for several
years now in Florida. Currently each of the five districts have different methods of
mentoring, resulting in inconsistent mentoring of new faculty members. As a result,
extension administration has pushed to start a formalized state-wide mentoring program.
Following the decision to develop a mentoring program, research was done to
develop a mentoring program that would be the most beneficial to everyone involved.
Cooperative Extension Systems in the following states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mississippi,
Kentucky, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee were all contacted to generate
information about how they structured their program, how they coordinated their
program, what was positive and negative about their program, and what they would
change to make it better. Each one of these states was very helpful in discussing general
mentoring topics and what they do in their programs. These states also sent packets of
information including mentoring handbooks, purpose statements, mentoring guidelines,
and other materials that would help develop the Florida mentoring program.
Following this process of gathering mentoring information, a task force of two
DEDs, two state specialists, a CED, and a graduate student was formed by the dean's
office to develop a plan for mentoring among new county faculty. Out of this task force
group, one DED, one state specialist, one CED and one graduate student met and
discussed the mentoring information that was pulled together from the different extension
mentoring programs around the country. Following the discussion of the different
programs; mentoring topics such as the length of the program, the mentors, how they
would be trained, what would be expected of them, the pairing process, guidelines,
curriculum and rewards for the mentors were discussed.
Throughout the discussion, there were many differences in opinion about
mentoring; therefore, it was decided to develop a pilot mentoring program that would
enable the Florida Extension Systems to test the training, structure and curriculum of a
mentoring program prior to pursuing a formalized program. Therefore, a plan was
established to develop and evaluate a pilot mentoring program with guidance from the
task force and from current mentoring literature. The following details explain how the
program was developed and implemented.
In November of 2003, the decision was made to develop a pilot mentoring
program. At that time, ideas, curriculum, guidelines and mentoring program structures
were combined and adapted to the Florida Extension System to develop a pilot mentoring
program that would be conducive to the Florida System. From November of 2003 to
February of 2004, the program was developed. It was decided that the DEDs and the
CEDs would pick the mentors and pair them with the new faculty selected for the pilot
program since they best knew each particular county faculty. It was at this time that the
DEDs were contacted by phone to see if they would be willing to help in the program,
and all of the DEDs were willing to help. A research-based document (Appendix J) was
prepared to give to the DEDs that explained how the mentors would be selected and the
pairs would be matched. This document provided insight on what the literature
recommended for choosing mentors and pairing the pairs in a way that would be the most
beneficial to everyone. Due to time limitations, the CEDs were notified after the mentors
and proteges were chosen. The ideal situation would be to have them team up with the
DEDs in order to pick the mentors and join up the pairs, but due to time restraints the
DEDs solely completed the picking and pairing.
After evaluating several mentoring handbooks, it was decided to seek approval
from the Penn State Cooperative Extension to adapt their Mentoring Handbook to fit the
Florida Cooperative Extension pilot mentoring program. This decision was made
because Penn State's Mentoring Handbook contained the needed information in a
compact and applicable way. After it was approved, the researcher adapted the handbook
to meet Florida's needs. It then consisted of the mentoring program agreement, the
mentor/protege biographical sketch, the protege needs self-assessment, a guide to meet
the protege's needs, the frequency of contact, the positive mentoring behaviors, listening
techniques, and the roles of the mentor and mentoring activities log (Appendix K). This
document laid the framework for what the mentors and proteges should do within the
mentoring relationship. The adapted Handbook was sent to the IFAS communication
department where the researcher and the IFAS communication staff worked together to
develop a booklet for the Florida pilot mentoring program. This handbook was
completed and formatted in a word document and emailed to all of the participants for the
orientation/training sessions. Then shortly after the initiation period of the mentors and
proteges, the final mentor handbook (in booklet form) was completed and a hardcopy was
mailed to all of the participants in early May 2004.
The training sessions were then developed to introduce the mentors and proteges to
the program. As explained earlier in this chapter, there were two training sessions for the
mentors and one orientation session for the proteges. These sessions were to give an
overview of the program and help teach the mentors key aspects of mentoring that could
help improve the mentoring relationship.
Following the development of the basic guidelines, the curriculum, and the training
sessions, the participants of the program were then selected. In February of 2003, the
DEDs office pulled together a list of new county faculty members that had been most
recently hired and had not been through the New Faculty Orientation as of October 2003.
There were ten that fit this time period, and out of these ten new hires, four of the five
districts in Florida were represented. The four districts that were represented in this
program were Northeast Florida (two proteges), Northwest Florida (two proteges), South
Central Florida (two proteges) and South Florida (four proteges). The next step was to
contact each one of the DEDs of these districts by phone. They needed to know that
there were new faculty members in their district that had been chosen to be in the pilot
mentoring program, and to confirm that they were willing to support the program and
choose mentors to be paired with the proteges. All four of the DEDs committed to
The proteges were then contacted by the researcher via phone to find out if they
were willing to take part in the program. They were all willing to participate. The DEDs
were then notified that all the participants were willing to be a part of the program. The
DEDs then selected the mentors for the proteges. This selection period was during the
months of February and March, but the pairs were not officially paired up until the last
orientation session. It was found that one DED had already paired two of the proteges
up with the mentor before the announcement of the formal mentoring program, so in this
case the mentor and protege remained a pair and they continued to mentor, but within the
pilot mentoring pair. As the DEDs let the researcher know who would be a mentor, the
researcher called and asked him/her about participating, and they all agreed.
By April, all the mentors were chosen and the pairs were selected. After the first
initial contact via phone, the majority of the contact was through email. Before the first
orientation/training sessions, an email list was developed for the DEDs, mentors, and
proteges to allow each group to set up the best times for everyone to conduct the training
programs. The dates participants had available for the training sessions were collected
via email, and then the researcher decided on the best dates to conduct each of the
training sessions. The participants that were not available to attend the training sessions
made arrangements with the researcher to conduct a private training session at his/her
On April 20, 2004, the first training program was conducted via Polycom for the
mentors. Polycom's use was coordinated through the IFAS IT department days before
the training/orientations were held. On April 27, 2004, the proteges went through their
orientation via conference call. All of the mentors, proteges and three of the four DEDs
completed the training/orientation program.
The mentors were told that they could contact their proteges to start the mentoring
relationship after April 27, 2004. An email was sent out to everyone thanking them for
their participation and wishing them success in this program. The researcher's contact
numbers were also given out in case any problems arose.
The second mentor training session, explained earlier in the chapter, was conducted
June 29, 2004, via Polycom. Seven of the ten mentors participated and one of the four
DEDs participated. Polycom was set up through IFAS's IT department and it was a great
way to be able to allow everyone to verbally and visually participate.
It was after the second training program and before the first evaluation when an
email notice was sent out to all of the CEDs that they had a mentor or a protege in the
pilot mentoring program. It was explained to them that due to time constraints, it was not
possible to contact all of the CEDs and get them on board before the program started.
Then it was explained that their participation in the evaluation process would be greatly
appreciated. Throughout the whole pilot mentoring program, six of the thirteen CEDs
participated in the program.
Following the orientation/training sessions, the initiation process, and two months
for the participants to start developing the mentoring relationship; the first evaluation was
conducted. This phase one evaluation, as explained earlier in the chapter, would evaluate
the following: the selection, pairing, initiation, contact level, ways to help, and the
effectiveness of the orientation/training sessions. These were all of the main aspects of
the program up until this point.
The evaluation was emailed to all of the participants on July 19, 2004. The email
consisted of two attached documents, the cover letter second and the evaluation
questionnaire. The cover letter explained aspects of this first phase of the evaluations
such as the following: this is the first of three evaluations, the approximate time it should
take to complete the questionnaire, the fact that this evaluation would provide the
researchers with greater understanding on how to improve the program (objective three),
that the document will be anonymous, when and where the document should be
completed and emailed back to the researcher, and lastly a thank you for their
The participation was marginal in phase one. Two out of the four DEDs, three out
of the thirteen CEDs, seven out of the ten mentors, and seven out of the ten proteges
completed and returned the phase one questionnaire. It was understandable that the
CEDs would not have a great response rate since they were not involved in the first part
of the program. One brief email reminder was sent to all of the participants four days
before the August 6th deadline just to remind the ones that had not completed their
questionnaires. After the deadline, two more reminder emails were sent out within two
weeks after the deadline. These reminder emails helped retrieve three of the late
As the questionnaires were completed and returned, the data was compiled on four
separate master data sheets (word documents). Then the data from the four separate data
sheets were compiled on to one master data sheet that included data from all of the
participants. Since this was a formative evaluation, it allowed the researcher to evaluate
the program's progress at that particular time in order make any modifications or
adjustments to improve the program. It also served as data that would be evaluated at the
conclusion of the study to make recommendations on how to improve the mentoring
Phase two of the evaluation process was structured similar to phase one, but with
some differences. This phase also consisted of mailing questionnaires out to the
participants, but the target groups were only the mentors and proteges. It was decided to
only target them in this phase because the questionnaire focused on their relationship,
targeting key topics such as contact/interaction, availability, knowledge, who is seeking
help, effectiveness of communication, pros and cons of the relationship, logistics, what
assistance is needed, and demographic questions. A cover letter was not attached to the
email; directions were simply stated on the questionnaire itself.
This questionnaire was emailed on October 1, 2004, and completed questionnaires
were due back by October 15, 2004. Just as in phase one, a reminder email was sent out
four days before the questionnaires were due to remind the participants about the
upcoming due date. Several of the questionnaires were not emailed in by the due date
because of the hurricanes causing great distress among the people. After the reminder
email, there were two weeks where there was no pressure on the participants due to the
hurricanes. After everything settled down, another reminder email was sent and the final
count for the questionnaires received was six out of ten mentors and nine out of ten
proteges. Due to the horrific conditions in Florida at this time and the extra pressure put
on the extension faculty in a time of natural disaster, the researchers were pleased with
the number of returned questionnaires.
The data from these questionnaires were also compiled onto one master document.
This allowed the researcher to compare and analyze the data from both the mentors and
the proteges on one document. As the data from this phase was compiled, it was
determined if any modifications or adjustments needed to be made for the program to
operate more smoothly. Then after this data was briefly reviewed, the data from phase
one and two was compiled on to one master document. Each population group was color
coded and each response was marked to signify if it came from phase one or two. This
color coding and marking system was to ensure that the researcher knew what population
group the data came from and from which phase it was collected. The master sheet was
organized into the three objectives and each question was cut and pasted within the
correct objective. This method organized the data in a way that made it easy for the
researcher to review the data and determine the major and minor themes.
Phase three of the evaluations was completely different from phase one and two.
As explained earlier in the chapter, this phase consisted of four separate focus groups for
the DEDs, CEDs, mentors and proteges. It was decided that the most convenient and
economical way to conduct these focus groups would be to do them via conference call
or Polycom. Due to the number of participants that would be participating in the CEDs',
mentors', and proteges' focus groups, it was conducted via conference call. When using
the UF/IFAS Polycom system with more then four sites, including the UF home site, it is
required to use the University-wide Polycom system. In the past, there have been
technical problems with the county sites not being able to connect or stay connected with
this system. Therefore it was decided to use the conference call system for these three
focus groups to ensure that everyone would be able to participate with minimal technical
problems. Since each one of the DEDs had a Polycom system in their office, using
Polycom for this group was beneficial because of the convenience and all of the
participants could see each other.
The focus groups were set up similar to the training sessions. On September 30,
2004, an email was sent out to all of the participants to set up the dates for the phase three
focus groups. This email updated all of the participants on the progress of the program
and thanked them for their participation and informed them about phase three. They
were asked if they could email their preferred dates back by October 8, 2004, so the dates
could be evaluated and the most convenient time for all participants could be chosen.
Only one focus group could be conducted for each group. So the dates were chosen to
best accommodate as many of the participants as possible. Due to more hurricanes at this
same time, it took three extra weeks to get all of the available dates in, but by October 20,
2004, the final focus group dates were emailed back to all of the participants. The focus
group dates were Dec. 8, 2004, from 1:30 to 3:30 for the DEDs; Dec. 15, 2004, from 1:30
to 3:30 for the CEDs; Dec. 14, 2004, from 1:30 to 3:30 for the mentors; and Dec. 14,
2004, from 10:00 to 12:00 for the proteges.
To collect the data from the focus groups, each focus group was conducted in the
same manner. There was a facilitator that read the questions from the interview guide
and probed the participants for further understanding. There was also a note-taker that
documented key points that arose. This note-taker also made sure that the audio tape was
recording properly. Each group was taped with a mini recorder with the permission of all
of the participants. This allowed the researchers to have all of the focus groups' tapes
transcribed to capture the main topics and themes for complete documentation and
analysis of the data, and to support the three objectives in the study.
After the audio tapes where professionally transcribed, the researcher read through
the transcripts and colored-coded each question and the discussion that was associated
with that particular question. The color coding was to allow the researcher to easily
identify when there was a topic change in the transcript. This allowed the researcher to
easily review each topic and transfer the data from these topics to one master document.
The data was also compiled onto one document by study objectives so each of the
population's responses could be reviewed and analyzed together. This allowed the
researcher to have only two master documents with the data from all three phases.
The participation for phase three was not what was expected due to busy end of the
year schedules. Other tasks seemed to take priority over the mentoring focus group.
Four out of four DEDs, five out of thirteen CEDs, five out of ten mentors and five out of
ten proteges participated in the phase three focus groups. It was explained to all of the
participants that this would be the end of the formal evaluations, but it did not have to be
the end of the mentoring relationships.
The analysis of the data is a critical part of the study to ensure that all of the major
and minor common themes are documented and recommendations are accurately made
according to those themes. As stated above, the phase one and two completed
questionnaires were compiled onto one master document. This allowed the researcher to
analyze the data for the common themes from each section/question. The common
themes were detected in each of the main sections such as selection, pairing, initiation,
help needed, contact/interaction, communication, and training/orientation. In phase one
and two, questions from the questionnaires contributed to objective three with only one
question in phase one that contributed to objective one. Therefore, most of the data
collected for objective one and two were collected in phase three to ensure that the
perceptions of the mentors and proteges would be the collective perceptions of the entire
In phase two, there were five Likert-scale questions asked of the mentors and six of
this same type questions asked of the proteges. The mean was calculated and each
question was analyzed.
In phase three, all four focus groups were taped (audio only) then the transcribing
was out-sourced to ensure that the job was done to its highest quality and within a
reasonable amount time. The transcripts for each focus group were carefully evaluated
and major and minor themes in each section were drawn out of these transcripts. Because
the open-ended questions on the questionnaires and the in-depth focus groups consisted
of qualitative data, a data analysis process was developed and utilized. This analysis
process consisted of four categories: analysis, interpretation, judgment, and
recommendations (Archer, 1987).
The data was analyzed via a cut-and-paste methodology (Stewart & Shamdasani,
1990). Data from the first two phases was cut and pasted onto one document that was
arranged according to the study objectives. Then phase three's data was compiled onto
one master document and separated into the study objective sections. This method
allowed the researcher to compile all the data for topics within each objective onto one
document. This also allowed each topic to be grouped together and then categorized into
groups of responses consisting of the same topic and response type. The response type
consisted of responses that were negative, positive or could have been a recommendation
or suggestion for a certain topic.
Within objective three, the data was grouped even more specifically into subgroups
such as the selection process and the pairing process. These subgroups were grouped
separately to enable easier and more complete data analysis. From this grouping, major
and minor themes were recognized for mentoring guidelines and recommendations.
Data interpretation involved defining descriptive patterns and associations and
linkages between these patterns. This consisted of finding major and minor themes that
emerged from the data. As the data was cut and pasted, it was then grouped into logical
topics within each study objective. Responses within each topic were reviewed from data
from all three evaluation phases. From reviewing each response in each topic the
researcher made judgments as to the major and minor themes within the data.
The major themes were decided on by selecting the most common responses within
each topic area. Major themes were those areas where dominate themes arose within
each topic area. The minor themes were those responses that were not dominate, but
were stated by one or more participants. This method of determining the major and
minor themes was deemed very thorough in evaluating and analyzing responses within
each topic area
As the major and minor themes emerged, they were used by the researcher to make
recommendations from the data that was collected in this study. If the theme was stating
a value or benefit this theme was simply documented. If the theme was stating a
perception, idea or suggestion that could make a future mentoring program more
effective, then the theme was documented as a recommendation. These major and minor
themes provided the researcher with an overview of the participants' perceptions of the
benefits they gained as well as the aspects of the program that were effective and the ones
that could be improved upon.
This chapter provided an overview of the research protocol that was used in this
study to evaluate the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Systems' pilot mentoring program
for new county faculty. The primary data collection methods were formative and
summative evaluation questionnaires and focus groups. This chapter covered the steps
and procedures utilized for the design, implementation, and analysis of these findings. A
combination of the questionnaires and in-depth focus groups provided depth and richness.
Questionnaire and focus group findings were organized and interpreted based on
common themes that emerged. As these themes emerged, judgments and
recommendation were made and documented.
This chapter provides comprehensive results of the pilot mentoring program. The
results are presented within the framework of three objectives. The chapter was
organized by stating the data within each objective. Under the objectives, each phase was
addressed. Other than a few Likert-scale questions in phase two, the majority of the data
was qualitative. The qualitative data included in this chapter represents common themes
frequently mentioned by the participants of the study in the surveys as well as the focus
There were two fundamental data collection procedures used to achieve the
objectives. The first was qualitative questionnaires, and the second included focus
groups among the four participant groups. The data collected within the focus groups
provide depth, richness and breadth to the results obtained by the questionnaires.
To help understand each group of respondents, the following information was
collected during the study through discussion and questionnaires. There were four DEDs
surveyed in the study that had county faculty participating in the study. All of the
participants in this DED group were males. Six CEDs were surveyed in the study as
well. Like the DEDs, the CEDs had county faculty working in their county who were
participants in the pilot mentoring program. This group was made up of three males and
three females. Nine mentors were surveyed in the study. This group consisted of six
females and three males with an average of nineteen years of experience in extension.
The protege participant group consisted of nine proteges, four females and five males.
This group all had one year or less of extension experience.
Objective one was to document the benefits and values of a mentoring program
among new extension faculty. The questions in regards to objective one were designed to
document the benefits and values of mentoring among new extension faculty during the
first and third phase of the study. The decision was made to briefly address objective one
in phase one in order to evaluate the effectiveness of how the mentoring program could
benefit the new faculty throughout the first section of the program. In phase one and two,
questions in regards to this objective were only asked to the mentors and proteges, but in
the third phase questions where asked to every participant.
Benefits and values were found within this first phase. Mentors and proteges were
asked a question to evaluate their perception of the effectiveness of the time spent with
their partner. The responses from this question were primarily positive. Phase one was
primarily concerned with evaluating the first three months of the mentoring program.
The common theme that arose within the answers was that these first three months were
very effective and time well-spent. It was documented that the proteges benefited by
being involved in the mentoring program through a decrease in overwhelming feelings
that the new faculty often experience when coming into the extension organization.
Proteges said that they learned a great amount, gained insight, and obtained valuable
information regarding programs and process. It was said by both the mentors and the
proteges that the time was well spent.
There was only one negative response to this question, and it was by a mentor that
was paired with a protege who would not allocate time to meet with the mentor. The
mentor, a female CED/program leader with 25 years of experience in extension in a
suburban county, stated that the protege, a female 4-H agent who had prior experience in
extension in another state, was contacted and meeting times were attempted to be
scheduled, but no time was allocated on the protege's part. In this case the mentoring
program had no benefit or value to the protege or the mentor.
There was no data collected in regards to objective one within phase two of the
study. Phase two was designed only to collect data for objective three. Phase two was an
excellent time to utilize a formative evaluation to collect data on the structure and
guidelines of the pilot mentoring program in the core months of the mentoring program.
Each participant was asked questions to collect data on what kind of value the
protege received from this pilot mentoring program. Data was collected from each
participant, with the exception of the DEDs, who reported not having enough contact
with the proteges to be able to comment on the program's benefits. In the data collected
for this objective, common themes emerged from the answers.
One of the common themes was that the proteges found that they appreciated the
structure of having someone other then a person within their chain of command (DEDs
and CEDs) assigned to them, so that when they had a question or concern, they could
simply call or email them. It was noted by the proteges that before they were in the
mentoring program they had no one to ask questions to unless it was their DED or CED.
They did not feel comfortable in asking their supervisors questions because they felt like
they would be judged if the supervisor thought the question was unintelligent. The
existence of a mentor enabled the protege to feel comfortable in asking questions that
they may not have asked someone in their chain of command. This assured them that
they were not alone during this beginning period.
It was also established that the proteges found value in being able to assist their
mentors with their programs. This gave the proteges a chance to have hands-on
experience and gain new knowledge, which they could take back to their county and
develop as part of their own programs. In addition, it was found that the proteges
benefited from the mentors through helping them develop advisory groups to ensure that
they were able to develop successful programs for their clientele.
The next common themes were primarily from the proteges themselves and focused
on the value and benefit that they gained by being in this program. Some of these themes
may relate to those mentioned above, but they all emerged from the proteges' data. The
proteges reported that they received general advice and ideas as well as needed support
and encouragement from their mentors. More specifically, they developed skills in
volunteer management, gained insight on how the extension organization works, received
technical support, were assisted in organizational techniques for developing and reporting
POWs (Plan Of Work) and ROAs (Report of Accomplishments), and lastly they learned
who the major program supporters in the surrounding communities and industries were
and how to get acquainted with them.
Therefore, all of the participants in the three populations who responded to this
objective reported very positive results that the proteges gained value and received
benefit from being a part of this program.
Objective two was to document the benefits and values of mentoring among
seasoned extension faculty. It was hoped to determine if mentors received any value or
benefit from being a mentor in the program. Data for this objective was only collected in
the third evaluation phase and questions where asked to each population in regards to this
Phase One and Two
Data for objective two was not collected in phase one or two. It was decided that it
would be best to only collect data about how the mentoring program benefited the
seasoned extension faculty in the summative focus group evaluations in the third phase.
Questions were asked to all of the participants in the pilot mentoring program, but
just as in objective one, the DEDs had too little contact with the mentors to know if they
received any value or gained any benefit from this program. However, they did state
some potential benefits that the mentors could receive from fulfilling the role of mentor.
The common themes that arose from this topic were consistent across all three of the
participant groups who saw benefits and values that the mentors received from this
program. Therefore, there is one set of common themes for all three groups.
First of all, the DEDs did not have enough contact with the mentors to notice any
benefits the mentors might have received from the program. They did state, however,
several benefits and values that mentors might receive by being in this program. They
stated the following benefits and values: it could help the mentor develop their listening
skills, reflect on their own needs, enhance their ability to network with people of different
personalities, and allow them to strengthen their own leadership abilities.
From the other three participant groups (CEDs, mentors and proteges), it was found
that the mentors received personal satisfaction and enjoyment from knowing that they
were helping new faculty grow and develop into productive extension faculty. As they
worked with the new faculty, it was noted that they gained a new perspective on their
work, they learned new ideas from the protege, and the protege brought about a renewed
sense of excitement and freshness.
Being paired up with the proteges, gave the mentors a chance to get to know the
protege and exchange programming ideas as well as discuss different extension issues. It
was found that the mentors gained new knowledge from the proteges and simply enjoyed
getting to know them. This relationship also gave the mentor a new contact to co-plan
programs together. If the protege was in a different county, they could potentially work
together on some multi-county programs.
It was also established that the mentors found being asked to be in the program
flattering because someone in administration thought highly enough of them to ask them
to be a mentor. Being a part of this program could also be another great activity the
mentors could add to their promotion packet to help them move up in the organization.
Therefore, this program was looked upon very positively in regards to benefits that
the mentors received. Overall, it was found that they received personal satisfaction, new
ideas, and a new contact for programming help in the future.
Objective three was to determine guidelines and recommendations for a structured
mentoring program based upon the results from this pilot program. This objective was
meant to collect data that would allow the researchers to improve and develop a
formalized mentoring program by making guidelines and recommendations from the
major themes that emerged. Data was collected for this objective in each phase and all
participants were asked for their perception on the improvements and developments that
the mentor program needed. However, only the mentors and proteges were surveyed in
the second phase because the questions primarily focused on their contact and interaction.
The mentor selection topic was addressed by all four populations and a strong
theme appeared that the DEDs and CEDs should be the ones selecting the mentors for the
Selection of the mentors for this program was a vital aspect of the program. The
common theme that emerged was that the DEDs and CEDs should work together to select
the mentors. The CEDs are the mentors' direct supervisors and the DEDs are a part of
the mentors' evaluation process, which puts both the DEDs and CEDs in the best position
for selecting a proper mentor. The DEDs and CEDs are able to better select a mentor
who has respect from their peers, program and organizational knowledge, provides
successful programs, and has several years of experience in extension as well as the
available time to lend to a mentoring program. It was suggested that if the DEDs and
CEDs selected a mentor, they could discuss the role of a mentor and provide initial input.
The potential mentor could then make the decision whether or not to participate in the
After selecting faculty who were qualified to be a mentor, the next task would be to
pair the mentors and proteges. Two common themes emerged including which
individuals should do the pairing and what criteria should be evaluated when pairing.
As said in the selection findings, it was best for the DEDs and CEDs to pick the
mentors due to the fact that they know them and their work ethics, and the same common
theme emerged in the pairing section as well. It was felt that the DEDs and CEDs would
do the best job to couple these pairs because they already know the mentors. Most likely
they also know the new hire because they would have personally interviewed him or her.
Consequently, at the time of hire, the DEDs and CEDs are in the best position to do the
Another common theme emerged in regards to who has input in the pairing, and if
that pair can be changed once a selection is made. Different suggestions were given such
as when DEDs and CEDs are coupling the pairs, they could also seek approval from the
mentor and protege. Sometimes the mentor or protege may already have someone in
mind that they have previously connected with before hiring or in the first couple of days
before the pair has been made. Another suggestion involved allowing the proteges an
option to change their mentor if there was another mentor that would be better suited for
him or her.
Several criteria for pairing mentors and proteges were evident. The strongest theme
was the geographic location of the mentor and protege. It was important for both the
mentors and proteges to be in close proximity to each other in order to increase their
contact. There are several reasons why proximity is so important. The first reason is that
it allows the mentor and protege to work jointly on program. If there is too much
distance between the pair, it will be too difficult to allocate time for projects when the
pair is required to drive long distances or be limited to phone calls or email. Secondly, it
gives more of an opportunity for the proteges to observe the mentor at work. A mentor
will find it convenient to simply come by the office for an informal observation. Lastly,
being close to each other simply gives an opportunity for the pair to meet face-to-face
more often to discuss programming and current issues in extension. Contact and frequent
interaction was viewed as being vital for a mentoring relationship. Close proximity was
connected to making it easier to have the frequent contact that is needed for the
mentoring relationship to thrive.
Having the same job responsibilities and/or program areas was viewed as being
very important in the mentoring pair. This proved to be very beneficial because of the
knowledge and experience that the mentor had to share with the protege. This was a
primary criterion for the pairing process.
The needs of the protege were acknowledged in regards to pairing. It was felt that
along with the other pairing criterion, the protege should also be paired with a mentor
who can effectively address his/her needs. With this focus on the protege's specific
needs, he or she can become a more productive faculty member.
Personalities were also criteria that emerged in regards to pairing. It was found by
some pairs that having similar personalities such as two very expressive extraverts paired
together worked better than an expressive extravert paired with a more serious introvert.
The pairs with similar personalities seem to grow and mature into having stronger
relationships. The point was also made that pairs with different personalities could also
have different work styles. Having different work styles can decrease the amount of time
that the pair works together. For example, if one person in the pair is very structured and
the other person is not then this could cause frustration when planning programs together.
This frustration could cause the pair to work less together. Personality is definitely a
criterion to consider when joining the pairs.
Overall, the pairing was viewed very positively. Common statements were made
that the pairing was very beneficial because good personal relationships developed from
these pairs. Also the protege had an experienced person on whom to rely.
The next aspect of the mentoring program was the training/orientation sessions for
the mentors and proteges. This next section refers to findings regarding the April 2004
training/orientation programs as well as the June 2004 mentor training program. This
section focused on what was effective, what could be improved, the participants'
perceptions of the length of the sessions, and their perceptions of the delivery method
(Polycom, conference call).
The first training session that was evaluated was the mentor training session on
April 21, 2004. The study was initially looking for the participants' perceptions of the
mentor training. The following common themes for this training session were gathered
from the mentors. The common theme was that the training session provided
understanding about the mentoring program, informed the participants of what the
program entailed, and gave them a description of the responsibilities. It was noted that
this session let the mentors know what to expect and helped them get started in the
Most of the participants were very pleased with the length of the training session.
There was one mentor (female, program coordinator for 4-H, 8 years in extension, urban
county) that thought the session should have less discussion on the value of mentoring
because she commented that most people already recognize this as being important. The
common perception among others was that the length was satisfactory.
The most common theme in regards to what should be changed was that the first
training session should have been face-to-face. Within this common theme, several
minor themes emerged as well. One thought was that the session could be held in each
district for the mentoring participants or in a central location. The other theme was that
the mentors and proteges should all meet at this face-to-face training session. It was
stated that this first face-to-face meeting would make the program more personable and
increase interaction in the future. It was also mentioned that this would be a great time
for the administration to have some involvement in order to show that they really value
Consequently, it was clear that for the first session the Polycom delivery method
was not the method of choice. Body language and other visual communications were lost
due to conducting the training session via Polycom. There were also some technical
difficulties with the Polycom. These technical difficulties decreased the communication
and effectiveness of the training session. Although Polycom may not be the best delivery
method for the first training session, it was said that it did cut down on travel and
Overall, the mentors' perceptions of the first training session were that it was an
effective length and successful in preparing them to be a mentor.
The next orientation/training session evaluated was the one for the proteges that
took place on April 27, 2004. This study was looking for the proteges' perceptions on the
information covered during that training session. What was valuable, what could be
improved, and what they thought of the delivery method (conference call) were all
questions that were asked. The proteges were the only participants that were surveyed on
this orientation session because the DEDs, CEDs, and the mentors were not involved
with this session.
The general perception of the information that was covered was that it was
adequate and clearly explained. The proteges did not go into great detail of what they
thought of the particular information that was covered.
The information that the proteges thought was valuable varied. Some thought that
all the information was valuable. There were other more specific comments such as they
appreciated the background of why they were picked to be a protege, and they thought
the explanation of how the mentoring program was to work was valuable.
The survey also focused on what could be improved. A couple of suggestions
emerged such as to explain more clearly the amount of contact expected, and to be more
open to addressing issues or concerns from the proteges. There were some proteges who
either did not answer this question or said they would not change anything.
In regards to the delivery method, the proteges thought that the conference call
method was a good way to make the necessary information available. It was said that
this method was good because it allowed the participants to stay in their counties or
offices so they did not have to spend time and money on travel. Only one protege
(female, program coordinator for Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, Agent 1, 10 months
in extension, Suburban County) thought that this session should be a face-to-face
meeting. Overall, the proteges were happy with this orientation session.
The last mentor training session held June 29, 2004, was only for the mentors, but
one of the DEDs sat in on this session. Therefore, the DEDs and the mentors were asked
questions regarding this session on the phase one questionnaire. These questions focused
on what was effective, what could be improved, the participants' perceptions of the
length of the session, and the effectiveness of the delivery method. Most of the input
from these questions was from the mentors.
The participants were asked what they thought was effective within this training
session and several common themes emerged. The first theme was that they enjoyed the
discussion and interaction between the participants. It was said that the ideas brought up
during the discussion time were very helpful for mentoring. The effective
communication and time organization topics were also perceived as effective aspects of
the session that helped them in their mentoring task.
The next topic that was surveyed was what could be improved. The major theme
was that the session needed more interaction time for the participants. It was said that
there needed to be more question and discussion time to acquire additional ideas about
how to be a more effective mentor. To help with the discussion, it was mentioned that
more interactive techniques could be used such as role play, which would assist in
constructive questioning, and active learning. One participant (female, CED, Suburban
county) said that the topic areas could be decreased so that only a few references are
provided and if any of the participants needed to follow-up and get more information
later, they could. It was stated that some of the information shared was prior knowledge
and did not need to be reviewed.
The major theme for the length of the program was that it was fine to cover the
information that needed to be covered. There was, however, some conflicting data from
the mentors who did not think the time was adequate. One mentor (female, CED,
Suburban County) thought that the training was too long. While other mentors said that
the time was too short, and the time could be increased to allow for more interaction and
discussion among the mentors. Therefore, there were some differences in the mentors'
perceptions of the length of the session, but the major theme was that the length was
adequate to cover the information that was taught.
The delivery method was also discussed. The participants would prefer to meet
face-to-face, but they did not have the time and money to spend going to training sessions
in a location outside of their county. Although participants would prefer face-to-face
meetings, Polycom made these training sessions more convenient for everyone to
participate. If the technical problems were taken care of for enabling the sessions to run
more smoothly, Polycom would be the most convenient and realistic delivery method.
The initiation period was the time period when the mentors and proteges
commenced their relationship. The study focused on the participants' opinions about the
effectiveness of the beginning of the relationship, their perceptions of the bio-sheets, and
what they thought were the most valuable and least valuable points on the bio-sheet. The
study also probed for suggestions to make the initiation period more engaging and asked
what the University of Florida's staff could do to improve this initiation period.
The overall perception of the initiation period was that it was necessary and
effective, and it gave the mentors and proteges a chance to get to know each other and
start building their relationship. The participants were also asked what could be done to