Office of the Provost

Good Practices for Effective Mentoring

(This section is copied from the "Report of the Faculty Mentoring Study")

These practices are offered here as ideas which the Committee has determined are applicable to the many purposes, models, practices, and contexts related to mentoring. They are intended to be general; more specific practices for implementation can be found in the appendix to the data report.

Good mentoring requires a diversity of approaches

  • No one mentoring system meets all needs.

  • Faculty will generally need a combination of mentors from both within and outside the department.

  • A mix of unstructured (informal) and structured (formal) mentoring efforts is more effective than single programs.
    • Mentoring efforts can range from formal (e.g., scheduled meetings with the department chair, mentor assignments) to informal (e.g., academic and/or social events that give junior faculty members the chance to meet a variety of senior faculty members in a non-threatening environment).
    • Making a social connection is often an important first step to forming a professional connection).
    • Mentoring can be best conceived as networking, rather than as one-on-one interactions with a single mentor who must meet all needs.

Good mentoring addresses multiple topics

  • Mentoring should address the specific department- and discipline-related needs.

  • Mentoring should address the specific needs of individual junior faculty members.

  • An important component of all mentoring is advice about the “nuts and bolts” of academic work.

  • Mentoring must supply information that demystifies the process of becoming a successful faculty member.

  • An effective approach to mentoring junior faculty is to focus on the process of becoming the best academics they can be, instead of focusing solely on achieving tenure.


Good mentoring arises from a culture that recognizes and supports the importance of mentoring

  • Academic leadership and senior faculty should recognize publicly the importance of faculty mentoring as a tool for academic success.

  • Deans, department chairs, and academic program directors must foster a culture of trust and collaboration.