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370.410.9 - Mentoring for New Center Directors


OPR:  Office of Human Capital

Instruction:  This is a new Survey Manual Chapter (SMC).

1. Purpose.  The purpose of SMC 370.410.9 is to establish a requirement for a new Center Director to participate in a one-year mentoring program, beginning within the first 90 days of appointment.  Per the objectives of SMC 370.412.3 (Supervisory, Management, and Executive Development - Management Development), mentorships within this policy are intended to provide valuable resources and internal knowledge toward the successful integration of new Center Directors.

2. Scope.  This chapter applies to all new USGS Center Directors and their supervisors.

3. Authority.  The mentoring requirement established in this chapter is authorized by the USGS Workforce Plan 2015-2020, Goal 5: Succession Planning (see

4. Policy.  New Center Directors will be assigned a mentor within the first 90 days of being appointed to this position.  This requirement coincides with the establishment of the Center Director’s performance standards and Individual Development Plan.  This chapter prescribes that top management will take an active role in supporting the USGS management development program by being personally responsible for the development of subordinates; making available the necessary resources and internal knowledge to successfully accomplish the development of managers; and establishing a work environment conducive to good management practices.  The time commitment required for successful completion of this program is 2-4 hours per month over a 12-month period. Time required to participate in the mentor relationship is paid for by the new Center Director’s Cost Center.  Participation is tracked through the USGS Learning Management System.  Every Mentoring Program participant both Mentor and Protégé are eligible for 40 hours of training.  To receive the training credit, participants must complete the mentoring course in the USGS Learning Management System.

5.  Definitions. 

A. Center Directors are supervisory positions responsible for managing USGS Cost Centers (see SMC 370.412.1 Supervisory, Management, and Executive Development - General Provisions). 

B. Cost Centers are the organizations at which indirect costs are collected and managed.  Within the USGS, field centers and national centers function as Cost Centers (see SMC 320.1 Cost Centers).

C. Mentoring is a developmental partnership where two people, a mentor and a protégé, invest time, know-how and effort to enhance growth, knowledge, and skills.  This partnership often involves coaching, networking, sponsoring, and career counseling.

D. Succession Planning is a systematic process of identifying and developing the talent pool for key positions that have a significant impact on the mission of an organization.  It also mitigates the risks associated with the planned or unplanned loss of knowledge and skills critical to the organization’s success.

6.  Responsibilities.

A. Supervisors of new Center Directors are responsible for assigning mentors to new Center Directors within 90 days of appointment.  Supervisors are responsible for soliciting potential mentors based on their own knowledge of possible mentors at USGS, and are responsible for identifying an appropriate match based on criteria such as staff size, budget, scope, and complexity.  For example, a Center Director responsible for an organization of 100 employees, a $10 million budget, and geographically dispersed staff should be matched with a mentor who is or who has previously managed a similar organization. 

B. Mentors are responsible for committing 2-4 hours per month over a 12-month period toward the professional development of their protégés, new Center Directors, in an effort to enhance growth, knowledge, and skills within USGS management.  Once a mentor-protégé relationship has been established, the mentor will contact the Mentoring Program Manager for further guidance and access to an e-learning course on how to conduct a productive mentoring relationship. 

C. New Center Directors are responsible for identifying mentoring relationship goals, actively pursuing these goals with the support and guidance of the mentor, and engaging the mentor through biweekly communication.

D. The Office of Human Capital is responsible for managing the USGS Mentorship Program (see 

7. Reports and Forms.  While there are no official reporting requirements or forms for implementing this  
policy, the following outcomes are expected as a result of the mentoring partnership:  access to critical information and perspectives; increased acculturation through access to expanded networks and relationships; improved interdisciplinary understanding and awareness; and maximized employee contributions based on career guidance.

8. Expiration Date.  This chapter must be reviewed biennially, or as needed.