Academic life can be incredibly rewarding. However, starting a career, often at a new and unfamiliar institution, presents a wide range of challenges for our junior colleagues. No “guidebook” exists, with effective strategies for negotiating the complex balance among our teaching, research and service commitments, nor is there a foolproof checklist for preparing for annual reviews or for tenure and promotion. For this, and the myriad other daily challenges in the life of the junior scholar, KUCFA has decided to sponsor a mentorship program for our new incoming colleagues.
Senior faculty can contribute to the program as a mentor. Its not expected that a mentor guide the mentee every step of the way, nor that the mentor takes up the standard role of the Chair in the mentee’s respective department, the Dean, and so on. The role is to provide support, as desired by the mentee, by initiating the conversation, asking questions, validating needs, help with brainstorming solutions, making connections, and confirming next steps1. Experience can guide the new faculty member to the right resources and lay the groundwork for a successful academic career.
What is the role of a mentor?2
- Initially, discuss mutual expectations regarding the mentorship relationship, agree on topics and goals that meet the mentees needs, and set a mutually agreeable and regular meeting schedule.
Suggestions for potential mentoring topics:
- Discussing the role of the Faculty Association at King’s and supporting mentee in participating in the Association.
- Facilitating introductions between mentee and other faculty with shared interests or resources.
- Discussing short- and long-term career goals and professional interests; advising on a research and publication plan.
- Discussing and advising on preparation for annual reviews, 3rd year reviews, tenure and promotion and career advancement.
- Explaining administrative structure, reviewing academic policies, guidelines, and university governance; informing mentee of institutional resources and support systems.
- Help with identifying resources for course development, instructional techniques, curricular issues, teaching strategies, and syllabi; recommend professional development programs/events/workshops. See https://www.uwo.ca/tsc/faculty_programs/faculty_mentor_program.html
- Help identify sources of funding (such as KUC Internal research grants) and evaluators for external research application.
- Share experience with student issues such as advising, motivating, and preventing academic dishonesty.
- Share experiences with stress management, life/work balance, and effectively managing time; balancing teaching, research, & service.
- Discuss how to deal with feedback on teaching from students and administration.
- Direct to appropriate resources for special needs, concerns, or questions.
1 Rockquemore, K. A. “A New Model of Mentoring.” InsideHigherEd, July 22, 2013. http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/07/22/essay-calling-senior-faculty-embrace-new-style-mentoring
2Adapted From “Faculty Mentoring Models and Effective Practices” Hanover Research 2014 www.hanoverresearch.com