For more information:

ADVANCE Resource Center

001 Carlotti Hall

75 Lower College Road

Kingston, RI  02881

 

Phone:  (401) 874-9422

Fax: (401) 874 - 5780

Email: advance1@etal.uri.edu

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Enhancing the academic careers of women in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics

URI Faculty Mentoring Program Proposal

Endorsed by the Provost December 21, 2006

Why Mentoring?

Evidence supports that career mentoring is a key component to junior faculty's success and overall retention rates. Although mentoring is important for all faculty, mentoring for women and historically underrepresented faculty, especially in areas where they have been underutilized, is particularly critical in order to increase connectedness to professional and social resources, reduce feelings of isolation, and achieve equity goals. Indeed, a proactive, formally implemented mentoring program can play an important role in achieving the goals of the Inclusiveness Initiative of the 2006-2009 URI Strategic Plan, and sends a positive message to prospective employees. An effective mentoring program should include at least the following:

  • A working definition of mentoring that is specific and institutionally endorsed
  • Ensuring that mentoring relationships remain satisfactory to both parties
  • Endorsement of mentoring as a valuable service contribution to the University
  • Measuring the institutional impact of an effective mentoring program
  • Some form of training of both mentors and junior faculty (mentees)
Focus group findings, as well as 2 mentor training workshops and extensive contact with junior faculty (particularly women in science and engineering), points to much variability in the effectiveness of faculty mentoring at URI. Historically, attempts to provide sufficient or appropriate mentor matches at URI have been uneven and the understanding of what constitutes "good mentoring" is highly variable. Additionally, junior faculty members are often unaware of what they can expect in a mentoring relationship or are hesitant to ask for different mentors, and often "slip through the cracks." ADVANCE can identify many examples of faculty whose careers may have been hindered because of lack of good guidance.

ADVANCE is committed to the success and retention of junior faculty at URI, and requests that URI embrace a formal mentoring initiative for faculty as part of its 2006-2009 Strategic Plan. We are prepared to help with this significantly. We would like to offer the following policy statement for your consideration, as well as several steps ADVANCE can take in championing this initiative.

University Mentoring Program Policy

All URI colleges shall implement a mentoring policy that provides for effective mentoring for their new faculty. This mentoring shall consist of career-advancing guidance, as well as social and psychological support for the new faculty member. College policies shall include the provision of one or more mentor(s) to each new faculty member, some form of mentor training, and regular "checking in" to ensure that the needs of junior faculty are being met.

Role of the ADVANCE office - Faculty Mentor Program Assistance

Both mentors and junior faculty should be provided some level of training, as should a pool of faculty members willing to serve as future mentors, and effective mentoring should be formally recognized. ADVANCE can facilitate the efforts of the Provost's office and individual departments by helping colleges develop their programs, soliciting and training new mentors, informally touching base to ensure that mentoring relationships are satisfactory, functioning as a resource for both junior faculty and mentors if challenges arise, and maintaining a mentor data base. ADVANCE can function in a facilitative role and promote better understanding and sustained attention to the critical importance of good mentoring.

The ADVANCE Center will:

  • Assist/coach junior faculty and/or mentors with any issues or challenges
  • Advise colleges on how to increase the effectiveness of their mentoring programs
  • Contact all mentors and junior faculty annually to ensure relationships are mutually satisfactory and the various needs of junior faculty are being met
  • Maintain a master list of faculty mentor assignments across all colleges
  • Provide annual mentor training sessions for both mentors and junior faculty
  • Provide written mentoring materials and web tutorial
  • Solicit and maintain a list of faculty interested in serving as mentors
  • Publicly acknowledge excellent mentoring through some sort of public acknowledgment, award, or such (TBD)
Thank you for your consideration. We believe a solid mentoring program for faculty can provide a model for other mentoring initiatives, including mentoring for staff, students, and mid-career faculty. We would like to begin meeting with colleges this spring.