Issues To Consider: Make Mentoring Permanent
Faculty careers develop over time. We need information, advice, opportunities, and support all along the way to advance our careers. It’s important to remember that Mutual Mentoring is not just for new faculty. Early, mid-career, and senior faculty can build and participate in strong, productive, and substantive Mutual Mentoring networks.
Consider your motivation for being a mentor. How will your experience and expertise contribute? What can you learn from your mentoring partner?
- What concrete things can you and your mentoring partner do to support each other (e.g., share the “inside story” on departmental culture, exchange advice about course or teaching issues, read each other’s manuscript or grant proposal)?
- Let your mentoring partner know that he/she is welcome to talk with you, and give your full attention when he/she does. You don’t have to have the answer for every question. You can listen and, if needed, point your mentoring partner to the appropriate individual or office who can help.
- Mentoring is one of many commitments that you and your mentoring partner are juggling. Clarify how frequently you are able to meet. Try always to keep appointments but be open to rescheduling meetings if necessary. Call a “time out” if you have a heavy travel or teaching schedule. Acknowledge that you can’t fulfill every area of expertise and recommend others who can extend your mentoring partner’s network.
Assess the needs of your colleagues to better understand the state of mentoring in your department and to inform the development of a mentoring program.
- Bring together a representative group of faculty to explore mentoring models and recommend a workable departmental program. For example, the department might create a mentoring committee for each new faculty, multiple mentors of limited terms, or mentors both in and outside of the department.
- Check department schedules and the campus calendar to minimize conflicts. Consider that attendance at early breakfast, dinner, or evening sessions may be difficult for colleagues with families.
- Encourage mentoring partners to set concrete goals, to develop a roadmap or specific steps for each meeting (how to get from here to there), and to measure their progress along the way.
- Build responsibility for mutual mentoring into the evaluation of faculty and seek ways to recognize and reward faculty for time spent working with their mentoring partners.