Mentoring encompasses the most important learning and development function for faculty members as they progress in their careers. Whether recognized by the term "mentoring" or not, all faculty members learn and grow in their work by observing and engaging with more experienced members of their profession.
Effective mentoring, through both formal and informal relationships, enables an individual to continue to learn how to work more effectively to meet the multitude of responsibilities expected of a faculty member, while thriving and building professional success. Individuals should expect to engage with multiple people in their professional work who can provide information, insights, examples of their own experiences, advice, coaching, feedback, encouragement, beneficial collaborations, connections to other colleagues and opportunities, enhanced visibility, and sponsorship.
To facilitate the orientation and development of early career faculty members at Stanford, department chairs will assign a senior faculty member in the department to serve as a mentor for each incoming pre-tenure faculty member. Importantly, however, it is the responsibility of early career faculty members to be proactive in developing the mentoring relationships they need to succeed.
Guidelines for early career faculty members, senior faculty mentors, and department chairs:
Department chairs or deans or their delegates should confer annually with each early career faculty member to provide counseling, i.e., feedback on the faculty member's performance relative to the standards for reappointment or promotion. Comparative and predictive aspects of tenure or promotion decisions should be addressed as fully as possible.
Ideally, an assigned mentor will be a senior faculty member other than the early career faculty member's department chair. If the initial mentor assignment is not successful, department chairs or deans should work with the early career faculty member to identify a different assigned mentor from the department.
Senior Faculty Mentors are asked to provide guidance on an ongoing basis and meet regularly (at least annually, often more frequently) with the early career faculty whom they have been asked to mentor.
Early career faculty members are expected to reach out proactively to their assigned mentors, to work with mentors to clarify a set of mutual expectations for the (and other) mentoring relationship, in terms of objectives; topics for discussion; informal feedback; frequency and duration of meetings, and other logistical arrangements of meetings.
- Early career faculty members are also strongly encouraged to seek out and develop further informal mentors who are able to be helpful in providing additional perspectives and guidance. Such additional mentors are likely to share commonalities with the early career faculty member in scholarly interests, personal interests, and/or life experiences, and who may be from inside or outside their departments, schools, or even Stanford. Senior scholars, those who have recently passed a desired career milestone (e.g. tenure), and peer mentors all may contribute to valuable learning.
Additional information about mentoring and counseling:
Faculty Mentoring Programs at the Schools
- School of Earth Sciences Faculty Mentoring Program
- School of Medicine Mentoring Initiative and Resources
Faculty Mentoring beyond Stanford
- Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring Office of the Provost, Columbia University
- Career Development Award Toolkit is a virtual resource center through the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs offering information on fostering strong mentoring relationships. The site offers extensive access and resources for mentors and their proteges.
- National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a nationwide cosortium, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, that offers a plethora of training and opportunities to connect for mentors and mentees in the biosciences.
- National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity-- Stanford faculty members may access the mentor network of alums of the NCFDD's Faculty Success Program and other resources.
- Giving and Getting Career Advice: A Guide for Junior and Senior Faculty - A resource on career advice for Junior and Senior Faculty from University of Michigan.
- Survive and Thrive: A Guide for Untenured Faculty, Wendy Crone. Mogan & Claypool Publishers. 2010.
- Advice for New Faculty Members,Robert Boice. Pearson. 2000.
- Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Second Edition(free and available online), Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 2006.
- Getting the Most out of Your Mentoring Relationships: A Handbook for Women in STEM, Donna J. Dean. Springer. 2009.
- The Academic Medicine Handbook: A Guide to Achievement and Fulfillment for Academic Faculty, Laura Weiss Roberts, editor. Springer. 2013.
- Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering, Richard Reis. IEEE Press and Wiley. 1996 and 2012.
- At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator.Kathy Barker. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 2002.
- Mentoring for Academic Careers in Engineering: Proceedings of the PAESMEM/Stanford School of Engineering Workshop,2005.
- Coaching and Mentoring: How to Develop Talent and Achieve Stronger Performance. Harvard Business School Press, 2004 (includes online tools).