Sponsorship practices in higher education Recorded at Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) Forum, Murdoch University, 13 July 2017
Mentoring programs: Development & change
The ‘bifocal approach’ transforms mentoring programs from being a career boost for individuals to an organisational change strategy designed to benefit mentees, mentors and the organisation.
Mentoring places demands on 'time poor' senior and executive staff and the dividend to the organisation often remains unmeasured and uncertain. The 'bifocal approach' to mentoring places a premium on thinking beyond a focus on the mentee. It is this broader focus on ensuring benefits to the mentor and the organisation that’s sets Jen’s work apart from the majority of mentoring programs.
Bifocal mentoring places a premium on supporting mentors in their role. This approach emphasises facilitating and supporting the establishment of two-way developmental mentoring relationships. Senior mentors are brought together to 'zoom out' to the bigger picture systemic issues revealed through the collective stories of their mentees, and challenged to become advocates and change agents.
Mentoring can be harmful. Mentoring programs that lack a framework and do not support and train their mentors are often inadvertently maintaining the status quo. The senior partner often relies heavily on proffering advice and teaching the junior mentee to succeed the way they succeeded. This can serve to further entrench rather than challenge (masculine) norms and practices, and works against organisational renewal, learning and innovation.
The opportunity for colleagues to learn from their mentees and work together with other mentors for change takes mentoring into new territory, with benefits for the mentee, mentor and organisation.
Jen has covered all the mentoring bases over the last 20 years; from in-house program co-ordinator, through to evaluating, researching and publishing about mentoring; and as a consultant, designing programs and facilitating mentor and mentee training. She has experience with one to one (dyad), group and peer mentoring, and has worked with a number of target groups, from women only mentoring programs to those for early career researchers, mentoring programs that are part of leadership programs through to more generic mixed gender programs, and for all levels of staff. This depth and breadth of experience is appreciated by her clients, and allows her to engage at all levels, from big picture design through to assisting with matching.
Jen continues to lead comprehensive mentoring program based on the 'bifocal approach'. The program recently finished its seventh year, at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. (see Reports and evaluations) Other comprehensive programs include an early to mid-career program with the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. a women’s mentoring program with the Melbourne School of Engineering and the roll out of Faculty based early career programs with the University of Auckland.
We don't have to wait for someone to take up a mentor role within a formal program as the catalyst to work with leaders and managers. Jen increasingly works with management teams to strengthen informal mentoring and sponsorship practices, as an integral part of building more enabling cultures.
Jen's expert knowledge and innovative approach to mentoring have been popular with organisations. She has delivered conference papers, keynotes, workshops and masterclasses in Australia, New Zealand and Europe (UK, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and The Netherlands).
Examples of Programs, Workshops and Public Speaking
|Institution||Target group||Format & duration||Title|
|Art Faculty, University of Melbourne||Academic & professional staff as mentees, Male and female mentors||Program, Year long, 5 workshops for the mentees and 3 for the mentors||Faculty Mentoring program|
|University of Auckland, NZ||Senior Women's Network||Invited speaker, 2 hr networking event||Sponsorship in Higher Education careers|
|University of Auckland, NZ||Heads of School||Half day workshop||Enabling Cultures: Mentorting and sponsorship|
|University of Auckland, NZ||Senior professional leadership across institution||Address and workshop||Leadership Conversations: Mentoring and sponsorship to support career development|
|Consortium of Universities in Vienna, Austria||Equity practitioners from universities & research institutes in Austria||Keynote address||Advances in Mentoring: Strategic approaches to mentoring and sponsorship for diverse target groups|
|Melbourne Children's Institute, Melbourne||Early career researchers||Comprehensive year long program with 5 workshops for mentees and 3 for mentors||Mentoring Program based on the bifocal approach|
|Victoria University, Melbourne||Mentors||Half day workshop||The 'bifocal approach' Mentoring for development & change|
"I thought the workshop was very valuable.It gave me a chance to outline the strategy, to see what we already have in place and the work we have to do to develop our ecosystem of support"
Paul Donaldson, Head of School of Medical Sciences University of Auckland
"Her expertise in organisational change meant that she understood our strategic focus on distributive leadership and the importance of building an engaging culture. Her 'bifocal' approach to mentoring weaves perfectly into our other OD initiatives."
- Melanie Moorcroft
University of Auckland
"In working with Jen, I appreciated her collaboration and flexibility in developing a program that meets our contextual needs."
- Professor Marilys Guillemin
University of Melbourne
Related Program Evaluations
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