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Mentoring Program - Structure and Tips

Tips for Faculty Mentors

Topics to raise/discuss with mentees

Familiarize yourself with the CV and or website of your mentee!

  • Connecting Teaching to Conference Presentations and Publications
  • How to vary the kinds of presentations and work done in class
  • Managing discussions and student participation
  • Assignments (how many, how often, how much?)
  • Course evaluations – midterm and end of term
  • Dealing with student challenges in class
  • When to take a student’s issues to the dean’s office and what the process is for doing that (i.e., that it doesn’t have to be a crisis to raise a flag on a student)
  • Advising (especially for 2nd and 3rd year faculty new to the process)
  • Student Retention
  • Class Visits: Offer to let mentee sit in one of your classes.  If asked, sit in one of your mentee’s classes and offer constructive, informal feedback (face to face, not in an email)
Campus Life and Governance
  • Finding ways to connect to other departments or faculty members
  • Role of interdisciplinary programs
  • Committee structure and committee choices in late spring
  • Faculty meetings and decision-making process (in departments and at the college)
  • Research and Reading groups etc.
  • Sources of funding for curricular and research purposes: TriCo Mellon Seed Grants etc.
Work/Life Balance Issues
  • Figuring out the daily schedule
  • College Service – how much is too much, how to say yes to the right requests and no to others etc.
  • Finding time to write/do research
  • Parental leave policies (delaying the tenure clock)
  • Community resources (public libraries, schools, sports, hobbies, doctors, vets, events etc.)
  • Third year review process
  • Sabbatical planning, 2nd semester leave process and other funding (how to ask for money)


  • Have one of the two meetings of the semester on campus in a public place so you can introduce your person to others (you don’t have to introduce him/her as your mentee but rather as a colleague)
  • Invite another colleague who would be a useful/good person for your mentee to meet to join you for a mentoring coffee or lunch
  • Invite the mentee to meet you at a faculty lunch and sit with people who might be useful for the mentee to meet
  • Meet up in Media or Philadelphia, instead of on campus

Addressing more serious problems or issues raised by mentee:

  • The mentor’s primary role is normally to listen and counsel, to help the mentee problem solve
  • If you have a mentee on a temporary contract, be mindful of managing expectations.  While you are encouraged to support a mentee’s career with your experienced academic counsel, you are not the pipeline to a permanent job.  If you feel pressed upon to negotiate, tell your mentees that the associate provost or provost would be happy to talk to them and arrange a meeting
  • Encourage the mentee to talk to appropriate people depending on the issue at hand (Department Chair, Associate Provost, Provost, EEO Officer, Faculty Title IX Deputy), and, if you want to, offer to join him or her in the conversation if that would help make it happen or feel more comfortable
  • Contact the Provost’s office if you feel that additional interventions would be useful; you don’t have to put yourself in the position of intervening or advocating for your mentee


The following websites have compiled excellent research on mentoring as well as practical guidance:

Program Structure for Faculty Mentoring


  • The Mentoring Program was developed to provide incoming and junior faculty a senior mentor from a different department/program than their own to serve as a sounding board and collegial resource without the pressures of evaluation
  • For this reason, Mentors will NOT be asked to write for Mentees’ third year review files


  • Tenure Track and Multiple Year Appointments


  • Mentors will normally work with a Mentee for three years (depending on contract and leave cycles)


  • In the summer, the Associate Provost matches mentor/mentee pairs based on common research/teaching interests
  • Senior faculty members are asked about mentoring an incoming faculty member or continuing to mentor a second or third year mentee.
  • Once they accept, junior colleagues are informed of the match.


  • Mentees and mentors are encouraged to reach out and email each other prior to the start of the semester
  • Mentors should be proactive in arranging at least two meetings each semester
  • The Provost’s Office will reimburse Mentors for two informal lunches/coffees per semester with their mentee
  • Mentors and Mentees are encouraged to arrange at least one cycle of reciprocal informal classroom visits with subsequent feedback sessions in the first year

Mentor Cohorts:

  • The Associate Provost organizes three Monday Cohort Mentoring Lunches each year (2/Fall, 1/Spring), where Mentors and Mentees meet with a Cohort of up to four other pairs
  • Cohorts are composed so that junior and senior faculty of the same program do NOT overlap


  • Faculty members are encouraged to contact the Associate Provost about any issues regarding the mentoring program