Although mentoring is a term with many definitions, we use it to refer to a professionally supportive partnership in which one person shares expertise, knowledge, and insight with another for the purpose of facilitating that person’s professional growth and development. Although mentoring is designed to foster the “mentee’s” objectives, both parties generally gain through the relationship. In addition, the sharing of knowledge and expertise benefits the academic units and the university.
Objectives. The mentoring program is designed to serve the following goals:
- Assist new faculty with the transition to teaching and all faculty in defining their role as teachers, which might include setting professional goals and scholarship agendas, accessing education resources, and identifying
- institutional supports and obstacles to professional development;
- Support faculty at any level of professional development who are at a transition point with regard to teaching, course design, scholarship, service, and status.
- Mentoring in teaching could include, inter alia, classroom teaching in various settings, design and supervision of student projects, and teaching methodology.
- Course design could include designing a course from scratch including setting learning outcomes and assessment, selecting texts and other teaching materials, and planning lectures.
- Scholarship might include developing scholarship agendas or the actual development and drafting of an article.
- Service issues could include service within the university, the academy, and the community.
- Status issues might range from preparation for promotion and tenure, preparation for critical review, and formal and informal hierarchical structures.
- Provide mentors with an opportunity to share their experience and expertise and the opportunity to connect with other faculty.
- Build community among faculty through the formation of mentoring relationships.
Target Audience. We want to encourage wide participation within the Chapman community. The mentoring service will be available as a benefit for all Chapman educators.
The Mentoring Process: Mentors, Mentees & the Matching Process. A successful mentoring process has certain identifiable elements including mentees with defined goals, committed mentors, a matching process that is both efficient and effective, sufficient time for the relationship to develop, and some direction so that participants will know how to proceed.
- Mentees. Participants seeking mentoring will probably benefit the most when they have defined goals and defined areas of professional development in which they want to achieve. Mentees who are goal-oriented, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to the mentoring process are likely to have a successful experience. We will encourage mentees to identify their objectives at the outset and to identify characteristics of a mentor that might enhance their success. For example, a mentee might seek assistance preparing for tenure, promotion, or critical year review and prefer a mentor outside of his or her department. Another individual seeking help with scholarship might prefer someone frequently on campus so that in-person meetings can be arranged.
- Mentors. The two most essential qualities of mentors will be experience in the areas requested by the mentees and commitment to the mentoring process. The mentor has to be enthusiastic about helping a colleague, willing to share experiences and knowledge, and ready to contribute time and energy to the process. Not surprisingly, many of the same qualities that mark outstanding teachers will identify excellent mentors. Mentors with excellent interpersonal skills, such as an ability to listen, suspend judgment, and encourage and engage in reflection are likely to be successful mentors. Good mentoring is likely to require mentors to be both proactive in fostering the relationship while maintaining nondirectiveness with regard to the agenda. In addition, faculty who can serve as role models in terms of professional development will provide insight regarding the faculty member roles, values, and growth.
- The Matching Process. The success of the mentoring program depends upon the efficacy of matching mentors and mentees. By vigorously promoting the program throughout the year, we expect to develop a “mentor pool” from which we can draw mentors to meet the needs of mentees. We expect to encourage our fellow members of the ad hoc committee as well as Faculty Senate leaders to participate as mentors. Each mentor will also be asked to recruit others from their school. The matching process will be on-going throughout the year, with matches made as quickly as possible after a request is made. The actual match will be made based on the preferences and needs of the mentee with primary consideration given to the professional objective for which mentoring is sought.
The mentor and mentee forms are available as Word documents and brochures are available in hard copy and online (see below). The completed applications should be emailed (as an attachment) or handed in to Dr. Joel Colbert, Director of the IET (see contact information above).
Time Frame Commitment. Mentors will be asked to make a one-year commitment once they are matched with a colleague. Mentees will be asked to make a three-month commitment to the process once they are matched with a mentor. We want the process to be driven by the mentees’ needs that may be addressed in less than a year. We also want to ensure that both parties have sufficient time to get acquainted, establish a strategy, and work through the kinks of a new relationship. We understand that some objectives will be met in less time. The parties will be free to reconfigure their commitments based on new objectives or terminate the mentoring either temporarily or permanently. Conversely, progress towards other objectives may take longer than expected and the participants will be welcome to extend their commitments. Finally, we recognize that some matches simply will not work for a wide variety of reasons. In those cases, the participants will contact an IET committee member who will make an appropriate adjustment, such as reassessing needs and reassignment.