A mentoring program is recognized as a useful way of orienting new faculty members to the requirements of academia during the early years of their academic careers.
By pairing each new faculty member with an experienced and well-respected faculty member, new faculty are guided in achieving their academic goals and maximizing their full potential. All aspects of the program are intended to assist the new faculty member, with the mentor providing advice and direction as requested (responsibility is maintained by the new faculty member).
Various mentoring programs have been developed at numerous Universities across North America. The University of Alberta's mentoring program has been drawn extensively from the University of Toronto.
The following information has been extracted and modified from a recent study on the benefits of mentoring by the Association of American Colleges.
Goals of the Mentorship Program
- Ensure new faculty members receive appropriate documentation pertaining to the academic environment in the Faculty of Science, such as:
- Faculty Agreement
- FEC Procedures for End of First Probationary Appointments, Tenure and Application for Promotion to the Rank of Professor
- Criteria for Merit Increments, Tenure and Promotion
- Removal Expense Regulations
- Research Excellence in the Faculty of Science
- Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science
- Allow the above information to be personalized and interpretted based on the individual and varying contexts within each Faculty of Science department
- Alleviate the transition from the research-intensive pursuits of a graduate student or post-doc to the balanced academic responsibilities of a faculty member (teaching, research and service)
Benefits of the Mentorship Program
For the New Faculty Member:
- advice on balancing workload (teaching, research, service work and other responsibilities)
- individual recognition and encouragement
- constructive criticism and informal feedback
- psychological and social support
- guidance regarding scholarship/teaching
- knowledge of the formal and informal rules for advancement
- individual training of processes within the Department/Faculty of Science/University
- knowledge of the procedures of the University
For the Mentor:
- satisfaction of assisting with the development of a colleague
- reflection of the mentor's current teaching/research/service, leading to improvements
- departmental/faculty quality improvement resulting in better students and a higher profile research environment
- expanding the network of knowledgeable colleagues who have passed through the program
For the Institution:
- increased commitment, productivity and satisfaction of new faculty
- reduced attrition of new faculty
- improved cooperation and cohesiveness amongst those involved in the program
- improved quality of teaching, research and service
A mentor should treat all dealings and discussions in confidence. There is no requirement to report to senior administration. The mentor has no role as an evaluator or assessor of the new faculty member. The role is one of supportive guidance and constructive criticism.
Mentorship Program Review
The Mentorship Program was started in August 2004 and will be reviewed each year by the Vice Dean, in consultation with Chairs, mentors and new faculty members. The Vice Dean will consult mentors and new faculty members for advice and feedback during the program.