Extension workplace mentoring programs may produce increased Extension programming competence, organizational commitment, job satisfaction (Denny, 2016), and leadership effectiveness (Kutilek & Earnest, 2001). The study described in this article aimed to gather information for a proposed mentoring program for Extension administrative assistants. A total of 12 focus groups were conducted with 78 participants representing five employee groups: administrative assistants, Extension agents, county directors, state specialists, and department heads. Employee groups were separately interviewed. Findings indicated that respondents perceive the role of an administrative assistant as critically important, and major competencies required by the administrative assistant role are people skills/customer service, bookkeeping, technology, and a willingness to learn/adaptability to change. Respondents perceived that workplace mentoring is important, and it should be required of all newly-hired administrative assistants. Regarding incentives, administrative assistants felt that counting mentoring time as part of their University’s annual professional learning requirement of 32 hours would encourage participation. Major recommendations include the establishment of an e-mentoring program that incorporates the administrative assistants’ academic, career, and personal goals in addition to organizational policies and procedures.
Donaldson, J. L., Swart, J. W., & Richards, J. K. (2020). Perceptions of Job Competencies and Mentoring Program Development for Extension Administrative Assistants: A Focus Group Study of Multiple Extension Employee Groups. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 8(1), 11. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol8/iss1/11
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