Faculty Mentoring: Tips for Mentees

Enhancing & Promoting a Productive & Positive Mentoring Experience: Tips for Mentees

Why is mentoring important to my career at Illinois?

Mentoring is vital to your professional growth. Mentoring can help you produce more effective research, teaching, and service.

Mentoring can also help you:

  • develop a greater sense of ownership and connection to your discipline and the university.
  • form deeper collaborations and more extensive networks.
  • achieve a better work-life balance.
  • enhance your use of resources and opportunities available at the university and your own discipline.

10 Simple Things You Can Do as a Mentee to Enhance and Promote a Productive and Positive Mentoring Experience

Mentoring is not a passive activity. As a mentee, you play an important and active role in developing mentoring relationships with colleagues. Understanding that you, and not your mentors are ultimately responsible for your success, underscores the importance of driving your mentoring experience!

  1. Be proactive with your department head or chair to develop a mentoring plan and change your plan, as the need arises.
  2. Seek opportunities for formal and informal interactions with academic leaders, senior colleagues, and peers in the same career stage.
  3. Provide your mentor with clear and honest input. Reflect on your needs to determine what you want to get out of your mentoring relationship. Be candid in sharing your self-assessment of areas for improvement.
  4. Identify specific areas where you would like advice. For example, ask your mentor to comment on a manuscript draft or strategies to actively engage students in class.
  5. Ask thoughtful questions to help your mentors provide you with the appropriate guidance and advice. It can help you focus and work through tough concerns.
  6. Participate in campus and community life. Give talks, attend symposiums, and take part in events on campus and in the community.
  7. Give feedback to your mentors and department head or chair. Mentoring is a process and receiving constructive feedback can help them develop as mentors and enhance your mentoring relationships.
  8. Acknowledge appreciation for your mentors’ time. It is important to remember that they too are investing resources in your career, which they often do above and beyond their regular duties.
  9. Share news of successes and achievements to inspire others and create a sense of pride for all those who support you, including your mentors, in achieving your career goals.
  10. As your mentor-mentee relationship strengthens, introduce your mentor to your network of colleagues and new research frontiers. This provides incentives for your mentor to deepen the mentoring relationship.


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.


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