Northwest Archivists, Inc.

NWA Mentoring Program

The goal of the Northwest Archivists (NWA) Mentoring Program is to contribute to the success of NWA members by facilitating individual growth, fostering a sense of community within the profession, encouraging thoughtful and meaningful engagement with issues, and developing competencies that strengthen the position of individuals, organizations, and programs in our ever-changing environment.

The NWA Mentoring Program is designed to bring together mentors and protégés, offer recommendations and guidelines that support successful matches, and provide an assessment component for the program to gauge its value to participants and to NWA as a whole.

In order to make the best possible match, mentors and protégés are asked to complete an application form.

Mentor Application Form (.doc)

Protégé Application Form (.doc)

Questions and/or comments about the NWAs Mentoring Program?
Please contact:

Anne Foster, Archivist
Yellowstone National Park Archives
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
(307) 344-2563
anne_foster at

Definition of Mentoring
Mentoring can be defined as a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person provides support and guidance to a less experienced person. For example, an archivist with years of professional experience could serve as a mentor to someone in their first archival job, or a person with specific skills (website development, film preservation, staff supervision) could mentor someone taking on new responsibilities or seeking to improve their abilities. Mentoring goes beyond the traditional teacher-student relationship - effective mentors serve as advisers, coaches, teachers, sounding boards, cheerleaders, and critics all rolled into one. Mentors give those with less experience an opportunity to improve their understanding of practices, discuss problems, and analyze and learn from mistakes in an atmosphere that is collaborative, constructive, and confidential.

Benefits of Mentoring
Research shows that successful mentoring relationships can benefit both protégés and mentors. Mentors can receive satisfaction from contributing to the growth, knowledge, and skills of another individual. They can grow personally and professionally from the process of engaging in one-to-one learning, and may gain or strengthen skills and abilities applicable to their own work. Protégés can gain knowledge, skills and abilities from a more experienced person. Having a mentor to share concerns with, bounce ideas off, and learn from can increase protégé self confidence and facilitate taking on a new project or moving into a new role. Examples of areas that a protégé can address with a mentor include but are not limited to:

  • assistance with development of a new skill / competency
  • feedback about the status of current competencies
  • clarification or critique of career goals and/or professional progress
  • discussion of selected readings / research
  • exploration of new area of readings / research
  • introduction to / referral through professional network
  • discussion or critique of professional project(s)
  • analysis of interpersonal skills, group dynamics, management skills
  • reflections on personal values, job satisfaction, and career objectives

What Participants Can Expect From NWA's Mentoring Program
The NWA Program Coordinator will contact each applicant within 10 working days of receipt of the application. In order to facilitate the best possible match, the Program Coordinator may clarify questions addressed on the application or ask additional ones. (As examples - is it important that your match be able to visit your repository? Is there one specific area you'd like to focus on?) When a match is made, the Program Coordinator will telephone both the mentor and the protégé to discuss known factors for increasing the chances of a successful pairing including adhering to the stated time commitment, and the importance of making the pairing a collaborative effort. The Coordinator will also send a list of the "fundamentals of a successful mentoring relationship" to both the mentor and the protégé, and will reiterate the importance of the “no-fault” termination agreement.

Both the mentor and protégé will be encouraged to contact the Program Coordinator at any time about any issues related to the match. Within the first three months of the match, the Program Coordinator will contact both the mentor and the protégé to ensure that contact between the pair has been made and that a schedule for meetings is in place. At the 11-month point of the pairing, the Program Coordinator will conduct a confidential survey of mentors and protégés to gauge their satisfaction with the program and its process. A similar survey will be conducted between 6 months to a year after the NWA-facilitated match has concluded. Results of these surveys will be presented to the NWA membership as a means to assess the Mentoring Program.

Mentoring Program Committee Members
Anne Foster, Program Coordinator (2011-2015)
Karl Mc Creary, Chair (2012-2015)
Donna McCrea (2011-2014)
Arlene Schmuland (2011-2013)

Bibliography (.pdf)

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