What should participants expect of the mentoring relationship?
While the faculty-to-faculty mentoring program will match protégés to available mentors, these are recommended pairings. he goal is to match protégés and mentors who can work comfortably and compatibly toward positive outcomes for the protégé. The relationship need not be based on a pre-existing friendship or acquaintance, or common departmental affiliation. Protégés can and should use the mentoring program to effectively expand their networks on campus. The mentoring relationship is a professional one, not a personal one, and often begins as a non-reciprocal, though mutually satisfactory relationship. Over time, the pair will find that both parties learn in the relationship. It is important that mentors have something to share, and that protégés are open to learning. Parties should make sure they can speak frankly and confidentially with one another about their teaching, research, and adjustment to the Loyola community. Protégés should feel that mentors are well-versed in campus resources, and knowledgeable about procedures relevant to faculty life.
By way of providing further support, it should be remembered that untenured faculty also develop important mentoring relationships with their department chairs. This type of department based guidance is a significant part of the department chairs’ responsibility, and operates separately from the faculty-to-faculty mentoring program. Participants will quickly find that the departmental and campus-wide programs are complementary in nature, though distinctive in aim. The departmental programs are conducted using departmental faculty who may provide expert mentoring in departmental processes. The faculty-to-faculty mentoring program is developmental, designed to focus on skill building, integrating new faculty into the Loyola community, and the development of strong teaching and research profiles.
If either party feels the relationship is ineffective, or finds that their personal commitments have changed or interfere with the demands of the mentoring relationship, the concerned person should contact the office of academic affairs confidentially to discuss the need for change. The office will mediate differences, or arrange for a new partner.
Participation in the program is voluntary which means it is not required as part of the tenure and promotion process. Participation will offer a protégé the constructive support of someone who has successfully completed the tenure process and who is regularly updated on changes in the tenure and promotion process. Moreover, participants will have organized opportunities to learn about and discuss the process in workshops with tenured and untenured colleagues, deans, department chairs, and administrators.
Tenure is a significant goal for tenure track faculty, but it will not be their only professional goal. Mentors assist protégés as they address many other professional and adjustment goals in the Loyola and Baltimore communities. Protégés should expect a mentor to perform in four key areas. The mentor should act as a:
Coach – a person who offers instruction and direction. For example, the mentor should offer clear instruction on the use of the student honor code, or the organization of a syllabus.
Facilitator – a person who clarifies the process, makes the protégé’s progress smoother. A mentor can explain the purpose of the annual review process, share examples of successful reports, and review the protégé’s report before submission.
Advisor – someone who gives advise. As an advisor, the mentor can help a protégé design a viable research agenda, or help the protégé determine which committee assignments are most appropriate.
Networker – a person who leverages personal professional relationships and contacts on behalf of the protégé, or for mutual assistance and support. Help the protégé construct a plan to develop and use relationships with colleagues in the discipline, at journals, and on conference organizing groups that offer the protégé new opportunities for professional growth, or based on personal relationships with colleagues in the protégé’s field, the mentor may provide introductions that will help the protégé develop useful relationships in the field.
Mentors are expected to take the lead in this professional relationship. Once mentors have been assigned a protégé, they are responsible for making the initial contact with the protégé, and arranging a meeting. From that point forward, mentors should expect to meet protégés in person at regular intervals throughout the year. Email should be used to schedule meetings, but should not serve as a primary means of communication between mentor and protégé. Since mentors do not evaluate or assess protégés as part of any formal evaluation process, protégés should expect to speak confidentially and frankly with mentors. Mentors should respect these confidences, and should be clear about matters they feel require outside help. Generally, mentors should provide constructive guidance.
Mentors assist their protégés with short- and long-term goals. In the short term, mentors help protégés develop priorities, and become familiar with campus policies, governance, and culture. In the longer term, mentors help protégés gain visibility in the profession, and proceed toward tenure and promotion.