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ADVANCE Faculty Mentoring Tutorial

Guidelines for Mentors

Be available.


  • The mentor should be available to the new faculty member, must keep in contact, and be prepared to spend time discussing University affairs, reading proposals and papers, and reviewing the new faculty member's progress.
  • Consider scheduling meetings with greater frequency in the first semester.
  • Listen and ask questions; these are two essential skills for succesful mentoring.
  • Ask powerful questions, questions that are challenging in a friendly way and questions that help your mentee talk about what is important to her/him.

Be plugged in.


  • The mentor should be in a postion to help establish a professional network for the new faculty member.
  • Ensure that the new faculty member is included in formal and informal information flow in the department, college, university, and professional community.
  • Include mentees in informal activities whenever possible and help find social support network if necessary.
  • Help make contacts for outreach.

Be an advocate.


  • The mentor should be prepared to advocate in support of the new faculty member with regard to space, students, funds, etc.
  • The mentor should treat all dealings and discussions in confidence, providing supportive guidance and constructive criticism.
  • Maintain and respect privacy, honesty and integrity.
  • Make these boundaries very clear at the beginning of the mentoring relationship.

Short-term goals.


  • Familiarization with the University, administrative systems and division heads. Know campus resources and where to direct your mentee for questions you cannot answer.
  • Establishing priorities – help mentee with budgeting time, setting up a lab, publications, teaching, committees.
  • Sources of research funds and support in proposal writing.
  • Dealing with difficulties - lab space, access to students.
  • Advice on dealing with academic offenses.

Long-term goals.


  • Advice on criteria for promotion and tenure; make mentee aware of the expectations in various categories (scholarship, teaching, graduate supervision).
  • Discuss what progress might be expected during the first 3 years. 
  • Discuss where the professional profile should be after 3 years.

Other guidelines.


  • Evaluate what you can offer to mentee.  Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Set a clear structure for the relationship at   the beginning. Discuss expectations. Discuss time commitments. Renegotiate these time commitments as needed.  Do not expect yourself to fulfill every mentoring function.
  • The mentee may feel uncomfortable with the imbalance of power in the mentor/mentee relationship. Tell him or her how much you get out of the relationship, and that he/she should not feel beholden to you. 
  • Mentor because you enjoy it and think it is the right thing to do. Demonstrate enthusiasm and motivation for mentoring.
  • Be sure to give constructive criticism as well as praise.  Give suggestions for improvement privately.
  • “Talk-up” your mentee’s accomplishments when appropriate to other colleagues.
  • Help mentees learn what kinds of institutional support they should seek in order to further their own career such as funds to attend conferences, workshops and/or release time for special          projects.
  • Make a list of the things that you would have wanted to know when you were in the position of the person you will be mentoring.
  • Experiment with the process. Meetings with your mentee can include alternatives to meeting in your office. Consider sharing lunch, meeting at a coffee shop, or attending a special event together.
  • Plan for the next meeting before you depart from each meeting. Review your progress based on your agenda and solicit ideas about what might be discussed in your next meeting.
  • Clarify expectations about the extent to which you will offer personal as well as professional guidance.
  • Establish expectations regarding the duration of the relationship; 3  years, until tenure is achieved, or undecided.


Bearing in mind that it is unrealistic to expect to be able to meet all of your mentee’s needs, take the time to assess your strengths.  The Faculty Mentoring Profile (Appendix A) is designed to assist in a self-evaluation.