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 of 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.
- Review the mentoring network map developed by Kerry Ann Rockquemore to quickly see what kinds of mentors you already have, and what new kinds of mentors may help you.
- Clarify what you need and start to ask colleagues around you for help.
- Ask for help with something specific to make the most of your mentoring conversations.
- Explore more places to find new members of your mentoring network: colleagues in your college, faculty working in interdisciplinary centers, participants in university-wide workshops or meetings (e.g., CETL, committees), and special interest groups or mentoring services provided by your disciplinary societies.
- If you would like assistance finding additional mentors to help you with a specific issue or aspect of your development, please contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at [email protected]. We may be able to suggest a specific faculty member or a type of support session that will meet your needs.
- Learn more about how the mentoring network model works.
- Learn more about shifting from a guru approach to a coaching approach.
- Reflect on your ability to mentor across gender and racial differences.
- Take a few simple steps to welcome new faculty colleagues and encourage your department colleagues to do the same.
- Pass on the mentoring network map!
Coaches provide immediate, short-term, task-related help, while mentors ideally contribute to a developmentally oriented relationship over a longer period of time. Both can be valuable parts of a mentoring network.
A sponsor speaks up on your behalf, opens up significant opportunities for you, and shapes how others perceive you. Learn more about how to cultivate sponsors.
Talk to OFA to learn more about the effective models of mentoring introduced here and what kind of budget and incentives can best support faculty mentoring.