Mentoring Programs for New faculty

October 14, 2016

Mentoring programs for new faculties are really useful. It is the process in which a supervisor or a peer guides a new employee through the initial few months of his employment. Faculty mentoring is a relatively new concept that pairs senior tenured faculty with new hires, who can also be former doctoral or postgraduate research students. Mentoring is important in a university setting because it strengthens relationships, enhances the quality of teaching and research and better integrates new faculty into the university community.

Facts

Researches done on well known institutes reveal that new faculty members often express “feelings of isolation” because senior faculty have more conversations with peers in their respective fields . Faculty mentoring can turn this around — junior faculty often brings new perspectives to the mentoring relationship while benefiting from the senior faculty member’s networks and experience. Mentoring relationship types include traditional one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, where a small group of faculty members shares common interests and seeks interpersonal support, and distant mentoring, where the mentor and mentee are from different institutions but share research interests.

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Benefits of Mentoring Programs
Mentoring relationships can lead to a mutually supportive environment in every working orginizations. Mentees should have a role in selecting their mentors, and mentors are often surprised by how much they benefit from the program. Tracy found, however, that the mentor’s lack of time availability can be detrimental to the relationship. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology mentoring booklet lists several ways in which mentors can help with administrative issues, including committee work, the tenure process and dealing with controversial matters. Mentors can also help with research programs. Examples include obtaining research grants, fund-raising from government and private sources, research paper authorship etiquette and where and how often to publish.

Success Factors
Different Universities all over the world suggests that a structured mentoring relationship is preferable, where a senior faculty member is assigned to a junior member and the relationship proceeds according to set guidelines and expectations. Departments should customize mentoring programs and explore interdisciplinary mentoring wherever possible. Department chairs should monitor the program, and university administration should recognize successful mentors on an annual basis. A 2010-11 University of Rochester mentoring report recommended that the support and nurturing of faculty members’ professional development should be among the university’s highest priorities. Participating in mentoring programs should be voluntary, and the type of mentoring offered by the department should be made clear to new faculty.

Mentor Profile
The desirable characteristics of a faculty mentor include expertise, honesty, integrity and approachability, according to research by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing professor Ronald Berk. The mentor’s responsibilities include offering guidance and providing constructive reviews of the mentee’s work. According to a mentoring booklet a mentor should not be in competition with the mentee; instead, she should be an advocate and help to establish a professional network for the mentee.

From- Management’s Desk SIIT