Benefits of Mentoring
For the mentee:
- individual encouragement
- development of a network
- constructive criticism and informal feedback
- advice on balancing teaching, research, committee work, grant writing, and other responsibilities
- inside information on the workings and culture of the university
- knowledge of the informal and formal rules for advancement
- knowledge of the procedures of the university
- advice on scholarship/teaching
- reduction of stress
For the mentor:
- satisfaction in assisting in the development of a colleague
- satisfaction of contributing to overall good of the university
- ideas for and feedback and collaboration about the mentor’s own teaching/ scholarship/service
- retention of excellent faculty colleagues
- increased commitment, productivity, and satisfaction of new faculty
- retention—prevention of attrition of new faculty
- encouragement of cooperation and cohesiveness for those involved in the program
- Meet regularly. It is important to meet regularly, even when one of you feels too busy. Set agendas for each meeting so you are certain to cover important topics.
- Leave time for unstructured conversations. While agendas are good for orientation purposes, be sure to leave time to discuss issues that have arisen for your mentee. Be certain you hold those conversations in strictest confidence in order to maintain the trust that is important to your mentoring relationship.
- Lean in and help establish a culturally-responsive social and professional network. Introduce your mentee to colleagues across campus—both as a social act and to help build professional connections. Consider attending university events together, like lectures, receptions, faculty meetings, etc. Introduce your mentee to the crucial staff people in offices across campus.
- Be proactive. Your mentee will not always know the right questions to ask or may not always feel comfortable admitting to a teaching problem or lack of knowledge. Ask specific questions that will generate conversation.
- Understand your mentee’s needs through their cultural lens and context. It is important to get to know your mentee’s background, goals, interests, and needs to understand the person you are mentoring. New hires range widely in their previous experiences and expertise, so learning about your mentee early on can make your mentoring efforts more focused and productive.
- Make time to meet regularly with your mentor. You will be very busy the first semester, but it is important to make time to meet regularly with your mentor, even when you feel overwhelmed… or especially when you feel overwhelmed. Research shows that a good mentoring relationship leads to a “more rapid socialization to campus” as well as improved ratings of teaching. So look at mentoring as an important long-term investment of your time, not just another hassle in your short-term schedule.
- Ask for help or feedback when you need it. Ask questions when you have them; floundering around or fixing mistakes later will take too much of your valuable time. Don’t worry that you are bothering your mentor, or how asking for help might appear. You are new and need assistance; that is the precise reason we have a mentor program in place!
- Lean in and be willing to listen and learn. Part of your professional identity probably involves being self-reliant but take the time to listen to the advice your mentor provides and look at this as an important learning opportunity. Sure, not all advice is useful or accurate in any situation but be open to learning from your experienced colleagues.
- Take advantage of the opportunities presented. Again, consider various opportunities— classroom observations, teaching circles, writing retreats, mini-grants, etc.—as investments in your long-term professional development. Find time for these opportunities and consider asking your mentor for guidance on which uses of your time might be most beneficial.
- Be open and honest. Honesty is vital to getting you the guidance and assistance you need. Because your mentor understands the need for confidentiality, you can feel safe in sharing these thoughts. Remember that confidentiality works both ways, and that your mentors will be best able to advise you if they know confidentiality will be respected by you as well.
Examples of Types of Mentoring Models
Peer: Guidance from peers or “near peers,” colleagues who are close in career level who have been through similar experiences.
Group: Mentoring group led by one or two experienced faculty members.
Mutual: Mentoring model encourages the development of a broader, more flexible network of support that mirrors the diversity of real-life mentoring in which no single person is required or expected to possess the expertise of many. Within this model, early-career faculty build robust networks by engaging multiple “mentoring partners” in non-hierarchical, collaborative partnerships to address specific areas of knowledge and experience, such as research, teaching, tenure, and work-life balance.
Ad hoc: Short-term or project-based relationships with individuals who have specialized knowledge needed “in the moment,” such as an academic technology expert, library liaison, or grant writing expert.
Mentoring Panel or Committee Model: In this model, a panel of 2-5 mentors works with one junior mentee. In this mentoring type, multiple experienced mentors offer the mentee a wide range of guidance in one setting every 4-12 months.
Online: Mentoring conducted in a primarily online environment but could be blended with other mentoring models. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD, 2018) adopts this model.
Hybrid: Mentoring conducted through an intentional combination of face-to-face, online, and/or virtual.
External: Relationships with former professors, employers, or other colleagues or outreach to experts in the field or discipline
Mosaic: In mosaic mentoring, a diverse group of individuals of different ranks, ages, genders, races, skills, and experience come together in a non-hierarchical community or network. Benefits include collaboration, reduced pressure on mentors, and the potential for merging small pools of people together.
Han, I., & Onchwari, A. J. (2018). Development and Implementation of a Culturally Responsive Mentoring Program for Faculty and Staff of Color. Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies, 5(2), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.24926/ijps.v5i2.1006