August Community Letter: The impact of a great mentor
I was at my office desk when I received news of the passing of Judy Chambers. We first met during New Student Orientation. It was a warm August day as a large group of new students were assembled on Knoles Lawn. I remember seeing Dr. Chambers and knew that she was an important person. Dr. Chambers was introduced as the vice president for student affairs. When I became a dean of student affairs years later, I fashioned my own leadership style after her: lead with integrity, competence, and grace, with a focus on relationships with students, staff and faculty.
We often think of a mentor as an experienced and trusted advisor that helps others accomplish their goals. A mentor is a person who provides good counsel to help guide others in their journey or way. Yet, along with giving astute guidance, a great mentor also invests in building authentic relationships.
Great mentors invest time in building a professional bond with students, staff or faculty that encourages growth and support.
Great mentors provide a sense of safety and belonging that helps the mentee feel secure and know that they matter.
Great mentors understand that the investment in the relationship will endure long after their sage advice or helpful instruction has passed.
This fall I encourage each Pacifican to be a mentor to someone at the university who could benefit from their unique experiences and perspectives. Here are a couple places to begin:
- The Staff Advisory Council offers the Mentor Me Program that provides professional development opportunities to Pacific staff to create avenues for growth potential, career advancement, and improve skills through goal setting, time management and exposure to other leaders within the institution.
- The Pacific Faculty Mentoring Program, sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, allows experienced and early-career faculty to exchange ideas and guidance around teaching, service, scholarship, university culture and well-being.
As New Student Orientation, New Faculty Orientation and New Staff Orientation brings thousands of new Pacificans to campus, I want to encourage every Pacifican to embrace our capacities and agency to be a mentor to someone who needs your guidance and support.
I was just one student among hundreds of new students that day gathered on Knoles Lawn and Dr. Chambers made me feel special. She knew that student success could only be found in relationship-rich education. I was the recipient of her relationship-rich mentorship for over three decades.
Judy Chambers’ mentorship continues as the impact of our relationship endures. Let us all aspire to create a lasting influence on others as profound and meaningful as hers.
Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Communication