Equal Opportunity & Access

Internship Mentoring Guidelines

Do I have time to be a mentor?

A conservative estimate of the amount of time needed to mentor includes:

  • Planning for internship and project: 5 – 10 hours
  • One on one meetings with intern: 1 - 2 hours every week
  • Taking intern to meetings, etc.: Up to 10 hours a week

A mentor can expect to invest more time working with and guiding an intern at the beginning of the internship. For instance, a mentor might plan to meet with his/her intern in one to one meetings at least every two to three days at the beginning of the internship, but only once a week later in the internship.


  • Spend a significant amount of time with the intern at the beginning of the internship to be certain that the intern knows what is expected and how to make progress in the internship.
  • Provide reading materials about the mentor’s area, job, and activities.
  • Provide specific guidelines to the intern for how s/he should spend his/her time, particularly at the beginning of the internship.
  • Work with the intern to develop a plan for specific goals that will be accomplished during the internship, including a plan for a specific project.

Role in the Intern's Project

  • Have a thorough understanding of the types of activities that constitute a “project” for the intern to work on, and thus typically provides a significant amount of help to the intern in selecting an appropriate project.
  • Guide the intern in choosing as well as carrying out a specific project, appropriate to the mentor’s area, that allows the intern to exercise some administrative skills, to work with other members of the university community, and to produce an identifiable outcome that the intern has held primary responsibility for.

Suggested Information to Provide for Interns

  • Explain what his/her overall job entails, how his/her job fits into the appropriate area of the university, and into the university as a whole.
  • Explain who reports to him/her (by function).
  • Explain what his/her vision is for the area s/he administers, and why.
    * should explain to the intern what his/her definition of “administration” is and how administration is different from other jobs in the appropriate area.

Planning Activities for Interns

  • Plan to take the intern along to any/all meeting which the mentor attends in his/her job.
  • For each meeting, the mentor should explain to the intern what the particular meeting was about in relation to its history, what the mentor’s own role is in the group, what the other group members’ roles are in the group and at the university, what the general task of the group is, how this group fits into the mentor’s overall job and how this groups fits into the larger university context.
  • Consider allowing the intern to “rotate” among areas which report to the mentor. If so, then the mentor should ensure that all those hosting the intern are knowledgeable of the mentoring guidelines (copies of this document are available from the Equal Opportunity & Employment Office.)
  • Consider having the intern “shadow” him/her for a period of time
  • Ensure that the intern has multiple opportunities to observe and participate in many of the university’s administrative decision making processes.
  • Expose the intern to appropriate aspects of the mentor’s policy development and interpretation.

Mentor Responsibilities

  • Provide a “space” for the intern, including a desk, chair, phone and computer (as appropriate). The “space” should be in the mentor’s physical location.
  • Take the initiative to help the intern periodically assess his/her progress on meeting (or revising) all the goals and objectives identified for the internship.
  • Be willing to closely guide the intern’s project plans (particularly at the beginning) and continue to provide support and advice as the project matures.
  • Consider providing some support for the intern to attend appropriate conferences, buy supplies, etc.
  • Should make a serious commitment to helping the intern learn new information, gain a broad understanding of the institution, and engage in critical thinking and problem solving as appropriate to the area of placement

Intern Responsibilities

  • To inform the mentor if anything needs attention during the internship.
  • To perform in his/her internship activities to his/her best abilities.
  • To commit to treating the internship as seriously as s/he would perform a job.

What is inappropriate to ask an Equal Opportunity & Access Intern to do?

Interns should not:

  • be expected to do any more clerical work than the mentor does.
  • be expected to stand in for the mentor in carrying out the mentor’s administrative duties.

What is my relationship with the Equal Opportunity & Access Administrative Internship Committee?

  • The Equal Opportunity & Access Internship Coordinator will contact you to discuss the intern’s plans and progress, both before and during the internship.
  • You should contact the Equal Opportunity and Access Office if any concerns, problems or questions arise.
  • Remember, these are GUIDELINES only and not a recipe for success!
  • Each intern and mentor should develop their own unique relationship that is effective for both parties.