How to Be a Good Mentor
- The relationship should be focused on knowledge acquirement and achievement in a mutually beneficial manner. This may include collaborating with your mentee on research projects. Be direct about organizations they should be involved in, journals in which they should aim to publish, and projects that will be helpful to them before they are reviewed for tenure.
- Offer direct hands-on assistance and be a good role model for the mentee. Let junior faculty mentors know that you are approachable. Encourage junior faculty to be inquisitive and proactive about making connections.
- The relationship should be honest. Clarify expectations about areas in which you are able to offer guidance. Critique as well as encourage. Present criticism constructively in a private manner where the focus of the conversation is on improvement.
- Make sure junior faculty are aware of specific rules and policies. Provide detailed information about how to navigate departmental and institutional culture.
- Allow your mentee to talk openly. Encourage them to take ownership of their process. Be open to learning what may be issues with the current system that need to be changed for the benefit of all current and future junior faculty.
- Perform cyclical evaluations of the usefulness of the mentoring relationship.
Practical Tips for Application
- Be sure that your mentee knows how to contact you (e.g., email, telephone, fax, etc.). Request contact information from your mentee.
- Familiarize yourself with promotion/tenure policies.
- Invite your mentee(s) to a meeting; suggest potential topics. Agree on confidentiality and no-fault termination.
- Discuss your expectations and needs with your mentee(s).
- Work with your mentee(s) on yearly goals for the relationship (meeting times, etc.). Plan to meet at least quarterly with your mentee.
- To chart success, help your mentee(s) develop a checklist.
*Note: Adapted from “Giving and Getting Career Advice: A guide for Junior and Senior Faculty” by Pamela J. Smock and Robin Stephenson, 2009, ADVANCE University of Michigan, p. 1-14.