Curriculum specialist Rachel Seymour was two years into her time at UC Merced when she applied for the university’s Career Advancement Mentorship Program (CAMP), in which staff members seeking mentoring and professional development are paired with seasoned colleagues.
“I went in with no expectations of finding a mentor, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet and network with employees in different departments and locations,” Seymour said.
During a “speed networking” activity, she met Amy Moffat, a student and program assessment manager for the School of Natural Sciences. Seymour told Moffat how helping undergraduate students with their post-baccalaureate opportunities “made me think about going back to school myself.”
The program paired Moffat and Seymour. Moffat — a former CAMP mentee herself — helped Seymour with graduate school applications, and Seymour was accepted to California State University, Fullerton, where she’ll begin her program in the fall.
CAMP is currently seeking both mentors and mentees for its 2018-19 cohort, and the deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Thursday. The program starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2019. A schedule of the year’s activities and required time commitments are posted on the HR website along with application forms:
CAMP pairs mentors and mentees according to HR’s Career Tracks job family and functional areas or their shared interests, as was the case with Moffat and Seymour. Career Tracks classifies and groups positions into job families that reflect job duties. The structure supports professional development that enhances career mobility at the campus level and across the UC.
“Mentoring is about sharing specialized knowledge and specific skill development,” said Rachael Martin, UC Merced’s talent development manager. “It helps employees see where they’re at in their career and identify the process for advancement or for growing in place so they can get even better at what they do.”
By the end of the program, mentees will:
- know their personal strengths;
- develop a vision and goals for their career plan;
- complete and implement an individual development plan; and
- learn career path strategies from campus leadership.
Annette Garcia, the School of Natural Sciences’ assistant dean for faculty support, has been a mentor since CAMP started in 2014. She said it’s worth the time investment for both parties.
“It’s energizing and inspiring to help colleagues on their journey of career self-discovery,” Garcia said. “We’re all so busy in our jobs on a day-to-day basis, we can easily feel like we’re trapped on a hamster wheel. CAMP provides us with an hour or two where we can deliberately step off the wheel and carve out a little bit of time to be reflective.”