Posts tagged ‘mentoring’
Today we held a lunch for the mentors participating in our One-to-One Faculty Mentoring Program. Due to massive amounts of wind, snow, ice, slush, etc we were unable to meet with as many mentors as originally planned. Two of our co-PIs did join us to help answer questions and we discussed cross-departmental mentoring.
Mentors noted that as an external source of information they were able to help new faculty members distinguish the different types of university committees. Also time management strategies and work/life balance have been main topics during their meetings. Initially, there is also a need for information about relocation: where is a good place to live and where are the good schools and local childcare?
There was some discussion about an additional need for tenure-track faculty as they get closer to the tenure decision. Currently our One-to-One Program is a one year commitment and only available to tenure-track faculty in their first year. Do you have experience with a one-to-one program? If so, have you seen or felt a need for a mentor outside your department in the later years before tenure?
Continuing to collect resources on mentoring, with particular attention to anything that could help us further develop the one-to-one and peer mentoring programs we have, I came across “Lessons Learned About Mentoring” by Robert Boice*. Notes from this chapter:
- The essence of good mentoring according to almost all pairs, was socioemotional support
- Cross-departmental mentor-mentee pairs seemed to [have] slightly greater success compared to more traditional mentoring pairs (mentees and mentors seek out and pair up themselves).
- Frequent nudges to meet regularly helped ensure pair bonds
- Left to themselves, most mentoring pairs worked on a limited range of topics
- Mentors assumed the role of interventionist with reluctance
New faculty who found quick success as teachers and as productive researchers and scholars
- Seek out social supports and advice from a variety of colleagues, especially those in the position to make decisions about their retention and tenure. Note social networking, to be effective, occupies as much time as moderate investments in teaching preparation and in research and scholarship
- Solve the problem of time management by making tasks such as writing fit into the brief openings of already busy days. Further, tacit knowledge is critical: they need to learn how to manage themselves, others, and tasks in order to thrive in academe
Although 20 years old, we’ve found a number of these conclusions to hold true, and have used this type of information not only for program development but for expansion of resources such as our One-to-One Faculty Mentoring Guide.
What has been your experience?
*Boice, R. (1992). Lessons learned about mentoring. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 50. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Arizona State University just went live with a new website for faculty development and mentoring: CareerWISE. The project’s principal investigator, Bianca L. Bernstein, explained in the Chronicle blog Wired Campus that the site’s mission is, “to teach women how to counter discouragement and give them the confidence to deal with any situation that comes up.” This resource is geared toward women PhD students in STEM, however addresses common issues/situations junior faculty and postdocs face.
The website aims to do more than state the facts by offering you (the user) solutions for solving problems and learning about yourself and your work environment. Users sign up for a free account which enables access to all the resources. The site is easy to use. Each page has a table of contents, which allows you to quickly survey the information on each page and click to go directly to a section of interest. Also useful, are the many videos of successful women telling their stories/describing relevant experiences. Check it out!
Our internal evaluator, Dr. Carrie Spearin of the Department of Sociology, surveyed participants from both the One-to-One and Peer-Group faculty mentoring programs last year. We have written two white papers from her analysis with a summary of the results from each program:
We recently attended the annual ADVANCE PI Meeting. During the two-day event, we attend the workshop “Mentoring that Works,” presented by Dr. Donna Dean, Professor Miriam Rossi, and Professor Barbara Whitten. Notes and reflections include:
- To the woman looking to be mentored: mentoring is not cloning.
- You want to find multiple advisers for the many facets of your professional career.
- Seeking advice and lessons that you can adapt and adopt for yourself.
- One of the strongest points presenters made about their participation in an alliance or peer-mentoring group was an incredible decreased sense of isolation.
- These women (the other participants in their alliance) were similar to them, but not in direct competition; and they were personally committed to the group. They even used Skype to cost-effectively video chat with each other every other week.
- These alliances were funded (and given credibility) through an NSF ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination (PAID) award.
- Participants also reported the support they received from peers made them a better mentor themselves.
- For program sustainability they identified the following key components: composition, credibility, and meetings.
It’s that time of year. I did a search this week for articles and resources on faculty peer-mentoring programs. I was hoping to find examples of handouts or guides other universities have created for their faculty. Didn’t have much luck; perhaps most peer-mentoring networks are informal. I did find an interesting example of a group of four women faculty who met for a year and spent a good amount of time supporting each others’ research careers. Happy reading: Peer-Mentoring for Tenure-Track Faculty.
Our new-and-improved Mentoring Guide is now available!!
Taking into consideration the results of our mentoring program evaluations and what we’ve learned this past year, we updated our Mentoring Guide to better meet the needs of the faculty we serve. Additions include:
- Explicit recommendations for setting short and long term goals, and identifying benchmarks for these aims.
- Defining what it means to be an advocate for ones mentee.
- Best practices for mentoring women faculty.
The Guide also contains a new and extensive list of faculty development resources for help in framing career goals. New topics include negotiation and how to say no; research and publishing; intellectual property and copyright; laboratory management; raising your research profile and finding collaborators; writing for publication; teaching; tenure and promotion; and work-life balance. And, of course, we continue to provide best practices for fostering a productive mentoring relationship and the role of junior faculty and mentors within the parameters of the relationship.
This week, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone published an article in the Washington Post entitled, Five Myths about Working Mothers. The authors identified the following myths and offered compelling stats and references that dispute them:
- Mothers today spend much less time caring for children than did their parents and grandparents.
- Women’s jobs interfere with family life more than men’s.
- Mothers with college degrees are more likely than other women to opt out of the workforce.
- Women who work are less likely to have successful marriages.
- Parents don’t experience discrimination in the workplace.
Peer-mentoring groups can be an important resource for women faculty seeking to attain balance (or at least satisfaction) between their work and family lives. We have a very active mid-career peer mentoring group, which frequently addresses many of these topics.
We recently came across Janet D. Stemwedel’s post asking her community to identify blogs that, “give you a glimpse of the lives of people who are working out … how to combine a scientific career with a life outside of that career.” Not only is this an opportunity for faculty who may work in remote locations to find additional role models, but also for minorities in a department, including women, who may feel isolated.
Here is a list of ten blogs the respondents indicated give, “honest information about lived scientific lives that you hope a mentor would give.”
- Bitch PhD – written by feminist academic with regular guest bloggers
- Blue Lab Coats – written by a tenure-track faculty veterinarian and biologist
- DrugMonkey – advice from a biomedical perspective
- FemaleScienceProfessor – practical advice on career stages from a non-biomedical perspective
- Knowledge and Experience – Feminist Theory, Philosophy of Science, Environmental Philosophy
- Looking for Detachment – written by an exploration geologist
- Ms. Mentor - a Chronicle of Higher Ed advice column
- Prof in Training – written by second year biomedical assistant professor
- Prof-like Substance – written by science faculty member in the Northeast
- Zuska - written by an engineer/scientist/feminist
This past month, we worked with our internal evaluator to develop evaluation instruments for all participants of our Faculty Mentoring Program. This includes the One-to-One Faculty Mentoring Program as well as our Peer-Mentoring Groups.
Evaluation forms were distributed via email within the body of the email document and as an attachment, for those who wanted to print and return via campus mail. Below is a summary of our results:
We had a 53.1% (n=17) response rate among tenure-track faculty mentee participants, and a 66.7% (n=20) response rate from mentors. Of the mentors who responded to the survey, 90% were full professors and all of the mentees were assistant professors.
Tenure-track faculty were asked how successful their mentor was in helping them achieve their career-related goals. Fifty-percent (50%) of respondents indicated that their mentor was very or somewhat successful in this task. While many mentors indicated that it was still too early to tell, three-quarters (75%) of mentors believed their mentee was successful in achieving their career-related goals. Almost three-quarters (73.7%) of mentors indicated they worked with their mentee to set career-related goals.
Tenure-track mentee and mentor respondents identified the top three topics discussed by mentoring pairs as tenure and promotion, departmental dynamics, and research. A large majority (80%) of mentor respondents indicated they were satisfied with their mentoring relationship and 89% of mentors suggested they would continue meeting with their mentee after the conclusion of the academic year. Similar results were found among mentees. Over three-quarters (76.5%) of mentees were either very satisfied or satisfied with their mentoring relationship and 82.4% indicated they were likely to continue their mentoring relationship.
Mentees were asked additional questions regarding the quality of their mentor. Almost all respondents rated their mentor as either excellent or good when it came to being available and taking the initiative to make contact (82.4%). Many other mentees rated highly their mentors in terms of offering support (94.1% stated excellent or good), and offering guidance and advice (87.5%).