The Distance Education Accrediting Commission's Meeting Mentoring Program is designed to help make first-time attendees feel more at ease, introduce them to colleagues in the DEAC family and make sure they get the most from their first DEAC meeting. The program will match experienced DEAC meeting goers with first-time meeting attendees.

The program gives first-time meeting attendees the opportunity to meet and learn from an experienced DEAC member, and have a friendly contact to talk to and ask questions of throughout the meeting. The mentor gains the opportunity of meeting new colleagues and sharing their expertise. These relationships can develop into collegial friendships and continue long after the conference is over.

Qualifications

Mentees should be any first-time meeting attendee, from member or non-member institutions. Mentees should be ready to learn from their mentor and not be afraid to ask questions.

Mentors should be from institutions currently accredited by DEAC and have at least one year of meeting experience. Mentors also should be willing to volunteer a few hours of time sharing, advising and assisting new meeting attendees.

Participants of the program will receive the name and e-mail address of the individual with whom they are matched. If possible, matched participants should contact each other before the meeting begins. During the meeting, participants should plan to meet a minimum of two times. First time meetings should take place at the Welcome Reception, if possible.

Guidelines

Mentors (those providing mentoring) should have a sincere interest in helping new attendees get the most out of DEAC meetings. Qualifications involve having good listening skills, having attended at least one year of DEAC meetings and the ability to act as a professional role model. Mentors must be from institutions currently accredited by DEAC.

Take a few minutes to "talk" to your mentee (either by telephone or e-mail) before the meeting. Find out if they have any questions. Make arrangements to meet with them at the beginning of the meeting - the Welcome Reception is a great place to start. Things to discuss with your mentee include their interests (professional or personal), how the meeting works, etc.

Introduce your mentee to other colleagues and DEAC staff. Check in with your mentee during the meeting, especially at group social events, just to make sure they aren't lonely. It is not necessary to commit to spending all of your time with your mentee; it is just important to touch base occasionally.

Mentees should be interested in making the most from their first DEAC meeting experience, being introduced to other colleagues, and learning from their mentor. When talking to your mentor, be sure to ask them any questions you have. No question is too silly.

Make arrangements to meet with your mentor at the beginning of the meeting - the Welcome Reception is perfect for this. Things to discuss with your mentor include your interests (professional or personal), how the meeting works, how your mentor became involved with DEAC, etc. Don't be shy about asking to be introduced to other colleagues or DEAC staff members.

If you feel the need, arrange to touch base occasionally throughout the conference. It is not necessary to commit to spending all of your time with your mentor.

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