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Counseling and Mentoring

Upon appointment, each junior faculty member should be assigned a more senior member of the faculty as mentor.  The assignment is to be made by the Department Chair.  Additionally, department chairs, deans or their delegates should confer annually with each junior faculty member to provide counseling, i.e., feedback on his/her performance relative to the standards for reappointment or promotion.  Schools and departments are expected to have policies and practices for providing mentoring to all junior faculty.  

The core purpose of counseling and mentoring is to provide candid and helpful feedback and guidance to the individual. The goal is to provide a supportive atmosphere to assist the junior faculty in succeeding in his or her academic career. However, it should also be recognized and communicated to the junior faculty member that the ultimate responsibility for career trajectory and success lies with each faculty member himself or herself.

Individual faculty members, mentors or mentees, may contact the Vice Provost or the Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Development for coaching and guidance related to the mentoring expectations, relationship and in case of needing advice in challenging situations.

Responsibilities of the Junior Faculty Member

It is up to the junior faculty to respond to invitations to meet with their mentors, department chairs, or deans; request counseling and mentoring sessions if such sessions are not otherwise scheduled for them; attend information sessions offered to them; and be familiar with the policies and procedures concerning reappointment, tenure and promotion, in particular those in the Faculty Handbook (including the criteria in the forms found in Appendix B) and in school faculty handbooks.

Similarly the junior faculty member should understand that a faculty mentor’s strategic advice (like the advice contained in the counseling letter written at the time of reappointment) is not a prescription for achieving tenure or promotion, but rather a senior colleague’s best judgment, to be accepted or rejected as the junior faculty member chooses. Accordingly, inadequate counseling and mentoring is generally not considered sufficient grounds for appealing a negative tenure or promotion decision.

For the most current version of this information, please consult Chapter 2, Section 8A of the Faculty Handbook.

Download  Guide to Faculty Mentoring Programs and Resources at Stanford.


  1. Department chairs or deans or their delegates should confer annually with each junior faculty member to provide counseling, i.e., feedback on his/her performance relative to the standards for reappointment or promotion.

  2. During the counseling session with junior faculty, the comparative and predictive aspects of the tenure or promotion decision should be stressed.

  3. It is recommended mentors who are senior faculty members be other than the junior faculty's department chairs. In situations in which the initial mentor assignment is not successful, department chairs or deans should work with the junior faculty member to identify a suitable mentor.

  4. Mentors should provide guidance on an ongoing basis and should meet at least annually with their junior faculty mentees.

  5. Junior faculty should also be encouraged to seek informal mentors from inside or outside their departments who may share interests and provide additional perspectives.

Additional information about counseling and mentoring are:


Faculty Mentoring Programs at the Schools


  • Survive and Thrive: A Guide for Untenured Faculty. By Wendy Crone. Mogan & Claypool Publishers. 2010. FREE copy for new faculty through VPFDD. Request your free copy here.
  • Advice for New Faculty Members. By Robert Boice. Pearson. 2000.
  • Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Second Edition. Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 2006. FREE through VPFDD or online .
  • Getting the Most out of Your Mentoring Relationships: A Handbook for Women in STEM. By Donna J. Dean. Springer. 2009.
  • The Academic Medicine Handbook: A Guide to Achievement and Fulfillment for Academic Faculty. Edited by Laura Weiss Roberts. Springer. 2013.
  • Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering. By Richard Reis. IEEE Press and Wiley. 1996 and 2012.
  • At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator. By 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.  By Harvard Business School Press.  2004.  (includes online tools)