Resources for New Faculty
We firmly believe that new faculty should be in control of their own paths. They benefit from resources--print, on-line, and face-to-face--that help them navigate the path to a successful career as an academic. We have endeavored to put together those resources for new faculty on this web site, and through our own faculty mentoring program.
This emphasis on the protégé also helps overcome some common mentoring problems. Often, a mentor will feel obliged to know all the answers, and the natural solution is to assume that the protégé become a clone of the mentor--rarely a good idea! Additionally, even for successful mentoring pairings, the separation is often awkward and difficult; our program emphasizes independence for the protégé, so that separation is always a goal. This doesn't mean the protégé is completely self-sufficient, but rather the protégé becomes responsible for finding, initiating, and maintaining useful connections, and for allowing others to retire naturally when they have fulfilled their purposes.
Resources for Mentors Too
Mentors provide the best support when they act as mirrors and sounding boards for their protégés. This means providing accountability through regular check-ins, but also as a reality check when plans are unrealistic, or not going as planned. They also serve as a conduit to the rest of the campus, making appropriate referrals, or in rare cases, alerting campus leaders (e.g. the Academic Affairs office) when a faculty member needs help.
This doesn't mean that mentors can't provide other support; in fact, many of our mentors are often very helpful as institutional guides, or job search coaches, or aids in putting together grant proposals, or support through tough personal situations. But we recognize that each pairing is individual, and those connections happen best when they are organic. By not expecting any particular (or really any) extra work by the mentor beyond asking questions about the key four areas (see our simplicity page), we virtually guarantee a successful accountability relationship, and at the same time open the door, with no pressure, to allow other dimensions of the mentoring relationship to develop naturally.