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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.