A faculty mentor is generally defined as a person or people who facilitate the development of a junior faculty member through counseling and advice, the provision of support and through the sponsorship, advocacy and promotion of the career of the mentee. Mentoring can be used to share ideas, develop departmental relationships and help integrate newer faculty into the university community.
Many considerations go in to creating the best mentoring environment for faculty, including:
Effective mentoring positively impacts retention and tenure rates1. Being part of an active formal and informal network of peers plays a key role in the process of academic integration along the higher education pipeline2. Mentoring provides sponsorship, visibility and challenges for a mentee3. It also provides psychosocial benefits by enhancing a mentee’s sense of competence and effectiveness4. Junior faculty who collaborate with established scientists are also more likely to become more productive researchers5.
See Fox and Fanesca’s (2006) pioneering work on mentoring faculty in science and engineering. Mentoring:
- Facilitates the understanding of the unspoken and ‘tacit’ knowledge about the culture of scientific and academic achievement
- Assists in the development and sustainment of a productive research program in the short time frame for promotion between assistant and associate professor.
- Helps navigate any changes that may occur in the academic setting which may include changes in:
- Requirements for productivity
- Competency development to bolster institutional profile
- External scrutiny and evaluation of academic departments and faculty members
2 (Girves, Zepada and Gwathmey, 2005, Stenken & Zajicek, 2010).
3 (Kram, 1988).
4 (Higgins & Kram, 2001).
5 (Bland, et. al., 2009).
Additional references: (Savage, Karp, and Logue, 2004; Blake Beard et. al., 2011; Carey, et. al., 2010). (Rosser, 2006).