UNG provides new faculty with a mentoring partner who will help them learn about the institutional culture, essential campus services, and transition to the institution. The department matches incoming faculty with one who has some years at UNG. Each fall, the mentors meet for an organized social event. Then, throughout the year, the mentors meet informally with their mentees.
UNG Mentoring Program Goals
New faculty will:
- Learn about the history and institutional culture in order to become active members of the university.
- Become acclimated to the surrounding community.
- Learn about support resources for faculty.
- Have a knowledgeable source to ask questions and address concerns.
- Exchange insights about teaching and career development with a seasoned veteran.
- Broaden the network of faculty contacts.
Inspire experienced faculty to:
- Share in the development of collegiality and effective departmental communication.
- Promote teaching and learning excellence by passing on knowledge and experience to new faculty.
- Garner professional satisfaction and self-renewal by contributing to the careers of new colleagues.
- Encourage excellence in teaching, research and scholarly activities, and service at UNG.
Some Mentoring Activities
UNG encourages mentors and new faculty to meet face-to-face regularly during the first two semesters. They might attend programs and events, as well as have coffee or lunch. New faculty might enjoy discussing:
- Academic policies and guidelines, as well as university governance structure.
- Short term and long term career goals and professional interests.
- Information on academic and student support services.
- Effective instructional techniques, course development and curricular issues.
- Research and sponsored funding opportunities, and writing publications.
- Attend campus events such as sports, theater productions, and cultural programs.
- Share information on instructional resources and Web sites useful to new faculty.
- Student issues, such as advising, motivating, and handling academic dishonesty.
- Ideas for managing time, handling stress, and balancing workload effectively.
- Preparing for tenure and promotion and career advancement.
- Explore professional development opportunities available to new faculty.
- Address special needs, concerns, or questions and help in troubleshooting difficult situations.
The 10 Commandments of Mentoring1
- Don't be afraid to be a mentor. Many mentors underestimate the amount of knowledge that they have about the academic system or their organization, the contacts they have, and the avenues they can use to help someone else. A faculty member does not have to be at the absolute top of his or her profession or discipline to be a mentor. Teaching assistants can mentor other graduate students, graduate students can mentor undergraduates, and undergraduate majors can help those beginning the major.
- Remember you don't have to demonstrate every possible faculty role to be an effective mentor, but let your new faculty colleagues know where you are willing to help and what kind of information or support you can give that you believe will be particularly helpful. Be clear about whether you are willing to advise on personal issues, such as suggestions about how to balance family and career responsibilities.
- Clarify expectations about how much time and guidance you are prepared to offer.
- Let new faculty know if they are asking for too much or too little of your time.
- Be sure to give criticism, as well as praise, when warranted, but present it with specific suggestions for improvement. Do it in a private and non-threatening context. Giving criticism in the form of a question can be helpful, as in "What other strategy might you have used to increase student participation?"
- Where appropriate, "talk up" your new faculty accomplishments to others in your department and institution, as well as at conferences and other meetings.
- Include new faculty in informal activities whenever possible - lunch, discussions following meetings or lectures, dinners during academic conferences.
- Teach new faculty how to seek other career help whenever possible, such as funds to attend workshops or release time for special projects.
- Work within your institution to develop formal and informal mentoring programs and encourage social networks.
- Be willing to provide support for people different from yourself.
1 Taken from: Sandler, B. 1993. “Women as Mentors: Myths and Commandments.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 10, 1993.
Acknowledgments and additional information: Thanks to the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) members for their insights into mentoring programs.