Faculty Mentoring: Tips for Unit Executive Officers

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Mentoring is an Investment!

Mentoring is an investment that pays dividends in:

  • active and dynamic colleagues.
  • enriched scholarly environment.
  • enhanced opportunities for collaboration in research, teaching, and governance.

10 Simple Things You Can Do as a Unit Executive Officer to Foster a Culture of Mentoring

All departments and units are encouraged to have a mentoring program in place. The form and shape of the mentoring program will vary based on your department’s mission, culture, size, disciplinary standards, and expectations. As your unit’s executive officer, you are key in fostering a culture where mentoring is an integral part of the relationship between faculty.

  1. Develop a climate that is supportive and inclusive to facilitate effective and sustainable mentoring and development programs for faculty, staff and students.
  2. Be proactive with individual faculty to establish a mentoring strategy and career advising plan.
  3. Help your faculty identify potential mentors who fit the mentee’s expertise, needs, and career stage. You may also call on your Dean to help identify potential mentors from other units.
  4. Encourage your faculty to access resources and opportunities for faculty development at the college, campus, and national levels. Resources may include policies and guidelines to insure faculty success as well as programmatic activities such as academies and workshops.
  5. Apply good mentoring practices to your review processes. While the purpose of an annual review is evaluative, it can also be an opportunity for faculty to reflect upon their goals and performance. Annual reviews offer structured occasions for you to listen to faculty’s self-evaluation, connect their activities to the unit’s goals, and re-evaluate the mentoring plan.
  6. Prioritize junior faculty and mid-career faculty for resources and opportunities. Support them by ensuring they are (a) aware of research and funding sources; (b) able to meet with external speakers and visitors; (c) nominated for awards, fellowships, and panels; (d) invited to present research-in-progress; and (e) engaged in programs and activities that address their interests and concerns (e.g., participating in book writing groups or teaching circles).
  7. Support faculty mentors. Provide potential mentors with resources and information about effective mentoring practices. Explain the different roles of a mentor, clarify expectations for the mentoring relationship, and provide guidance about appropriate professional boundaries.
  8. Acknowledge and appreciate mentors. It is important to remember the investment in time and resources that mentors often do go above and beyond their regular duties. Recognize them with awards and consideration of mentoring in their annual faculty evaluation of service to the unit and the institution.
  9. Seek feedback. Meet regularly with your junior and mid-career faculty as a group to share information about policies and practices. Solicit their input about future directions and priorities.
  10. Share news of successes and achievements to inspire others and create a sense of community and pride for the achievements of your faculty that ultimately benefit your unit as a whole.

Resources

The Office of the Provost offers resources for faculty that include faculty development, work-life balance and family-friendly programs, and more. Click on the menu links under Faculty Affairs to learn more.

Assistance

For further assistance with faculty and career development, call the Office of the Provost at 217-333-6677.