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FSH Faculty Mentoring Program

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Introduction and Purpose

Mentorship is an important ingredient of faculty success, and promotes a collegial environment of scholars.  At RFU, faculty are supported in their research and teaching efforts through a community of mentors centered not only within CMS, but extending across the university. 

Every junior faculty member (Assistant Professor or Instructor with at least 0.5 FTE in CMS) who is hired with a primary appointment in FSH will be placed into the FSH Faculty Mentoring Program. The Program consists of, at minimum, a designated faculty mentor and formalized mentoring plan for every junior faculty member. In addition, FSH faculty who do not meet this definition can also participate in the FSH Faculty Mentoring Program upon arrangement with their Discipline Chair.

Every junior faculty member (“Mentee”) will engage in formalized mentoring under the direction of one or more Primary Mentors. The choice of Primary Mentor will be made on an individualized basis, based on the junior faculty member’s intended workload balance (i.e., research- or teaching-dominant). For research-focused faculty, the Primary Mentor will most often be the Director of the Research Center the Mentee was hired into.  For teaching-focused faculty, the Primary Mentor will most often be the Chair of the Discipline in which the junior faculty has a primary appointment. However, it is recognized that another senior faculty member may be a more suitable mentor based on experience or expertise. It is also possible for the Discipline Chair and Research Center Director to act as co-Primary Mentors, or for either of these individuals to be substituted by another senior faculty member. Once the Primary Mentor has been identified, they are expected to meet with the Mentee to establish a mentoring plan based on the needs of the Mentee.  

The establishment and implementation of the mentoring plan is highly flexible and should be tailored to the needs of the junior faculty member. There are three primary areas of mentorship for CMS faculty: teaching, research, and service. It is understood that the mentorship needs of each faculty member can differ among these areas, and additional areas may also be identified.

Procedure for Mentoring of Junior Faculty

  1. The Discipline Chair meets with a junior faculty member within one month of appointment start date to initiate the mentoring plan. If the junior faculty member was hired into a Research Center, the Research Center Director also participates in this meeting.
  2. The Primary Mentor(s) is selected, based on the intended workload focus of the Mentee (e.g., the Primary Mentor will be the Research Center Director for a research-focused new faculty member, the Discipline Chair for a teaching-focused new faculty member, or both, or another mutually-agreed upon senior faculty member). 
  3. The Primary Mentor and Mentee will then meet to identify the current needs of the Mentee and formulate a written mentoring plan to address those needs. 
  4. The Primary Mentor and Mentee meet at fixed intervals defined in the mentoring plan, in addition to communicating on an as-needed basis.
  5. The mentoring plan is re-evaluated annually by the Primary Mentor and Mentee. The mentoring plan can be revised at any time by agreement of the Primary Mentor and Mentee, based on evolving needs of the Mentee.
  6. Participation in the FSH Faculty Mentoring Program is expected to conclude after 4-7 years, depending on the needs of the Mentee. The relationship between Primary Mentor and Mentee may change over time and discontinue “no-fault” by either Mentor or Mentee.

Components of the Mentoring Plan

Every Mentee will have different areas of strength and weakness, as well as different roles within their Discipline.  The mentoring plan is an agreement between the Primary Mentor and Mentee that should include, at minimum:

  1. Schedule of meetings 
    Regular contact is encouraged with informal/brief meetings about 1-2 times a month and more substantial/in-depth meetings about 2-3 times a year.
  2. Areas of mentorship
    Common areas include Teaching, Research, Service, Publishing, Grant-Writing, Scientific & Professional Ethics, Work-Life Balance.
  3. Role of the Mentor
    The Primary Mentor provides guidance in each of the above areas through one-on-one discussions, referral to resources, or advocating on behalf of the Mentee. Depending on their expertise, the Mentor may: provide feedback on grants and manuscripts; advise about the management of employees, support staff, students, and postdocs; assist with networking; provide guidance on how to contribute to the missions of the Research Center, Department/Discipline, CMS, and University; provide awareness of policies, procedures, and mechanisms relevant to faculty advancement.
  4. Responsibilities of each party:
    1. Discipline Chair
      The Discipline Chair has the initial responsibility to formally discuss where the efforts of the new faculty member should lie. If the new faculty member was hired into one of the Research Centers, this initial discussion will take place together with the Research Center Director.  Through the annual Workload Evaluation process, the Discipline Chair and the Mentee will discuss how well the mentoring needs of the Mentee are being met.
    2. Research Center Director
      For research-focused faculty, the Research Center Director will normally serve as Primary Mentor. However, the Research Center Director may, in consultation with the junior faculty member, appoint another senior faculty member to serve as Primary Mentor. The Research Center Director also participates in the annual discussion of mentoring during the Workload Evaluation process for research-focused faculty.
    3. Mentee
      The Mentee is expected to work with the Primary Mentor to develop a mentoring plan that best suits the Mentee’s needs. The Mentee is also expected to follow this tailored mentoring plan, respect the advice of the Primary Mentor, and pursue resources identified as valuable for their development.
    4. Primary Mentor
      The Primary Mentor is expected to work with the Mentee to create a mentoring plan and to carry out the responsibilities designated in the plan. For activities outside the role or expertise of the Primary Mentor, the Primary Mentor is expected to help the Mentee identify available resources or others that may serve as additional mentors.

Evaluation of the FSH Faculty Mentoring Program

As the overall goal of this program is to facilitate success and retention of faculty, the primary measure of its success is the percent retention and promotion of junior faculty. Success of the mentoring program for tenure-track faculty is also measured as the proportion of faculty who gain tenure. In addition, faculty mentoring is assessed as part of the annual evaluation of each Discipline Chair and Research Center Director by the CMS Dean.