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Faculty Mentoring Policy

The College of Natural Science (NatSci) is committed to the professional development and advancement of its faculty members. Effective mentoring involves activities at the level of departments and programs, the College, and the University. Departmental level mentoring is particularly important, and following University policy, all units in NatSci are required to have a formal and substantive mentoring program for pre-tenure, tenure system faculty. For faculty members with joint appointments, there should be one mentoring plan coordinated among the units, with leadership from the lead unit. Support for mentoring of all faculty members in the College is provided under the direction of the Associate Dean for Faculty Development.

Effective mentoring at the department level is particularly important to the success of new tenure system faculty members. The goals of a department mentoring program may vary by unit, but at a minimum should include guidance concerning establishing and sustaining a leading research program, effective teaching and engagement of undergraduate and graduate students, and building institutional and disciplinary leadership skills and contributions. The structure of mentoring programs may also vary among units, but must include the following elements.

  1. A written document that clearly identifies and communicates program policies, goals and expectations for both the mentor(s) and junior faculty member. These include at least the following.
    • A description of the mentor selection process, including the potential for mentors from outside of the department.
    • Expectations for confidentiality and the role of the mentor(s) in RP&T.
    • The duration of mentoring responsibilities and the process for changing mentors, including a provision for faculty members to choose not to have mentors.
    • A description of expected mentoring activities, with elements addressing research, teaching, and leadership development.
    • A description of how mentoring activities will be reported and evaluated.
  2. One or more senior faculty mentors for each junior faculty member, in addition to the unit executive officer. The mentors need not necessarily be from the unit.
  3. Support and leadership from the chair in integrating mentoring activities into the way the department does business.
  4. Mentors and junior faculty members should be provided with sources of information concerning good mentoring practices, including printed and web based materials, and College/University level workshops.
  5. Units and mentors should demonstrate sensitivity to potentially different challenges faced by diverse faculty.
  6. Mentoring will be considered as a service to the department and college, and should be incorporated into the annual review of faculty.

The College of Natural Science provides leadership and support for departmental mentoring programs through its faculty development program. This support includes the organization of programs and workshops (either directly by the College, or in collaboration with other University units such as the Academic Advancement Network), facilitation of the departmental mentoring programs, and the coordination of mentoring activities with College policies on faculty workload, development, and reappointment, tenure, and promotion. This support may include sponsoring workshops on mentoring, and providing both written and web based resource materials. A college level award for outstanding mentoring of junior faculty will be given annually. The effectiveness of the college and departmental programs will be assessed at an interval not to exceed five years.