Mentoring is an important form of support and guidance for faculty at all career stages. The word “mentoring” may call to mind a traditional dyadic relationship in which a senior faculty member (“guru” mentor) is the primary guide and model for all aspects of the development a junior faculty member (“disciple” mentee). However, this is just one of many forms of faculty mentoring. And it may not be fully supportive of a faculty member’s needs.
Mentoring networks are a rich, flexible alternative to the traditional model of dyadic, hierarchical mentoring. By developing a network of mentors over time, a faculty member has many different individuals to rely on for a variety of needs and specialized skills (e.g., grant-writing, feedback on manuscript drafts from content-area experts, dealing with common instructional issues, challenges in professional relationships, emotional support, etc.). Mentoring networks are especially valuable for faculty members who are in a minority in their department or discipline.
Members of mentoring networks can come from one’s department, another department or college, another university, and from outside academia. A good way to begin developing a mentoring network is to review the mentoring network map developed by Kerry Ann Rockquemore.