ADVANCE-Purdue and the Center for Faculty Success A Department within the Division of Diversity and Inclusion

Summary of Guides on Mentoring

Definition of Mentoring (sometimes called Career Advice) – “Many people think of ‘mentoring’ as something that is part of the graduate school relationship between an advisor and an advisee … To avoid confusing this type of mentorship with the kind of interaction that junior faculty … need to have with senior colleagues, we are using the term ‘career advising’ instead of mentoring.” – University of Michigan ADVANCE.

There are many definitions for mentoring. Here are a few:

  • Mentoring occurs when significant career/professional assistance is given by a more experienced person or persons to a less experienced one during a transition. – Marilyn Haring
  • Advisors, people with career experience willing to share their knowledge; supporters, people who give emotional and moral encouragement; tutors, people who give specific feedback on one’s performance; masters, in the sense of an employer to whom one is apprenticed; [and] sponsors, sources of information about, and aid in obtaining opportunities. – Zelditch (1990)
  • A person who facilitates the career and development of another person, usually junior, through one or more of the following activities: providing advice and counseling; providing psychological support; advocating for, promoting, and sponsoring the career of the mentee. – University of Michigan Gender in Science and Engineering Subcommittee on Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Leadership’s April 2004 Final Report.

Goals of providing mentoring/career advice:

  • Providing information about the promotion and tenure process
  • Demystifying departmental, research center, college, and university culture
  • Providing constructive and supportive feedback on specific work or career progress
  • Providing encouragement and support
  • Helping to foster important connections and visibility
  • Looking out for the junior faculty interests

Different forms of mentoring/career advice

  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Group mentoring
  • Peer mentoring
  • Network mentoring

Stages of Formal Mentoring Relationships

  • Building the relationship
  • Exchanging information and setting goals
  • Working towards goals/deepening the engagement
  • Ending the formal mentoring relationship and planning for the future
For Mentors (Senior Faculty)For Mentees (Junior Faculty)

How do I become a Mentor?

  • What experiences can I bring to the relationship?
  • What are my expectations for the relationship?
  • Are there obstacles to the relationship?

How do I find a Mentor?

  • What do I hope to gain from the relationship?
  • What kind of mentor am I interested in?
  • What are the potential barriers to the mentoring relationship?

Key Mentoring Skills

  • Listening Actively
  • Building Trust
  • Determining Goals and Building Capacity
  • Encouraging and Inspiring

Key Mentoring Skills

  • Listening Actively
  • Building Trust
  • Determining Goals
  • Encouraging
  • Learning Quickly
  • Managing the Relationship

Mentoring Best Practices

  • Think of yourself as a “learning facilitator” rather than the person with all of the answers.
  • Think of yourself as a “learning facilitator” rather than the person with all of the answers.
  • When requested, share your own experiences. Limit the urge to solve the problem for your mentee.
  • When requested, share your own experiences. Limit the urge to solve the problem for your mentee.
  • Help the mentee see alternative interpretations and approaches.
  • Build your mentee’s confidence.
  • Encourage your mentee to achieve his/her goals.
  • Help your mentee reflect on successful strategies to be applied to new challenges.
  • Be spontaneous.
  • Request feedback.
  • Enjoy the privilege of mentoring.

Mentoring Best Practices

  • Think of your mentor as a “learning facilitator” rather than having all of the answers. Be open to using a variety of resources and discussing your findings with your mentor.
  • Seek discussion and input rather than advice.
  • Apply the knowledge shared and discuss its application.
  • Be open to your mentor’s efforts to see alternative interpretations.
  • You are responsible for your own growth.
  • Be receptive to constructive feedback.
  • Ask your mentor to share with you successful strategies and resources he/she has used in the past and apply to the challenges you face.
  • Enjoy the mentoring experience.

Questions to ask and answer by junior and senior faculty as part of the mentoring relationship:

Department or Research Unit Culture
Who are the key people in the department or research unit?
What are appropriate ways to raise different kinds of concerns or issues and with whom?
Who can help me set up an email account, find out about resources like copying or processes like grading?
How do people find out about getting nominated for awards and prizes?
What organizations are important to join?
Can you tell me about IRB, which provides approval for human and animal subjects’ experiments?
How do I set up my lab?
How do I get grants?
Are my grant proposals appropriate for this department or unit?
Are there research or equipment projects being developed by another faculty in the department that I can or should get involved with?
May I read some successful grant proposals, as close to my research area as possible?
What conferences should I attend?
Are there people that I should collaborate with?
How do you get on professional association panels?
What are the journals to publish in? How many colleagues published there?
Am I publishing enough?
How can I increase my visibility in the field?
What classes do I need to teach?
How do I get a good teaching schedule?
How do I get to teach important classes?
How do I deal with sticky situations or problems with students?
Do I have enough graduate students?
How are teaching evaluations handled and weighted?
What are the important committees to serve on?
How can I get nominated to be on them?
Are there committees to avoid?
How is this work documented?
Promotion and Tenure
What are the department’s formal and informal criteria for promotion and tenure?
What or who can clarify these criteria?
What would you have wanted to know when you began the tenure process?
How does one build a tenure file?
Who sits on the tenure committee and how are they selected?
How should I prepare for the annual review
What can I negotiate when I get an outside offer?
How should I prepare for the third year review?
Is my job description matching the work I do?
Are my research, teaching, service and grants of an appropriate level?
Who should I meet in the institution, in the discipline and even worldwide?

The above material was drawn directly from the guides listed below. For more detailed information go to the following documents from which the preceding information was summarized:

These are published by the University of Michigan ADVANCE Grant and by the Center for Health Leadership and Practice of the Publish Health Institute in Oakland, CA.

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