The dean of FAS made mentoring oftenure-track faculty a central topic at his fall2015 retreat for the FAS academic deans. Together, the deans reviewed the principles underlying the FAS’s AY 2009‒10approach to mentoring and professional development, discussed fresh approaches,and formulated benchmarks to help themevaluate at the upcoming academic planning meetings how well departments/areas were doing.Throughout fall 2015, asthese academic planning discussions tookplace, the Office for Faculty Affairs (OFA)separately conducted focus groups withtenure-track and recently tenured faculty to discuss their experiences on the tenure track. In addition, every ladder facultymember was asked about mentoring in hisor her activity report, an annual survey in which faculty describe their accomplishments over the last year. From these reports,OFA culled best practices on mentoring.Inaddition, OFA researched the literature on mentoring. Synthesizing information fromthese sources and from the academic planning meetings, in spring 2016 OFA createdand distributed to all FAS ladder faculty its “Guide to Faculty Mentoring in theFaculty of Arts and Sciences.”These effortshave continued. For example, the FASheld a fall 2016 workshop for tenure-track faculty on giving and receiving feedback.During spring 2017, OFA held a paneldiscussion on advising graduate students and piloted laser-coaching sessions fortenure-track faculty that have continued to be offered in AY 2017‒18. In February 2017, the Standing Committee on Women (SCW) held more mini-symposia forwomen faculty in the Science Divisionand SEAS, and mini-symposia in thedivisions of the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences were scheduled in AY 2017‒18. A series of workshops on researchmanagement,for tenure-track and recentlytenured faculty, co-organized by OFA andResearch Administration Services, also launched in AY 2017‒18.
This practice is a good example of how to move forward strategically on an inclusionand belonging agenda item, in this case mentoring.This case models the following steps:
- Make mentoring a top leadershippriority and incorporate it into strategicplanning processes.
- Allocate resources to develop practicesfor how effective mentoring takes placein your own context and tap a broad range of constituents to provide input and feedback.
- Offer a range of events and workshopsto bring practices alive and share learnings with each other.
- Determine key points to gatherfeedback to assess the effectiveness of the mentoring efforts and improve over time.