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Mentoring Guidelines and Resources

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:

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

Faculty Mentoring beyond Stanford

In-depth Reading: