Roles & Expectations
Mentoring is conceived as a partnership between mentees, mentors, and College leadership all working together towards the mentees’ tenure and success.
Expectations of Mentees
The tenure and success of the mentee is the focus of this mentoring program and assigned mentoring relationships. As such, the following should be noted as terms of agreement for participation as a mentee:
- It is the responsibility of the mentor(s) to ensure meetings happen at a minimum cadence of once per semester (in the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer). Mentors should establish meeting times and modes that work for both parties. Mentees are also welcome to request a meeting.
- Mentees and Mentors should respond promptly to mentor(s) invitations to meet.
- Mentors and Mentees should prepare for mentoring meetings with a clear agenda for discussion. The provided agenda guides can be used, and mentees should be ready to take meeting notes/minutes in the provided agendas.
- Mentees should review their mentoring meeting notes with their mentor(s), and make them available to their Program Chair to provide insight into the outcomes.
- Mentees should be proactive about initiating, seeking, and customizing any support that they know they need.
- Mentees should provide an account of their academic/professional activities and experiences by sharing their CV with their mentor(s) in advance of meeting.
- Mentees and mentors should agree upon a mutual understanding of confidentiality.
- Mentees should communicate with mentor(s) their questions and concerns about University life and faculty success.
- Mentees should be open to feedback and willing to listen to advice, even if they decide not to act on it.
- Mentees should also remember that they are in the strongest position to recognize what is in their best interests.
Some practical strategies for mentees to communicate effectively:
- Actively listen in discussions with your mentor(s). This is where taking meeting notes can be helpful, and should be reviewed with mentor(s) for clarification before making them available to the Program Chair.
- Be prepared to ask for explicit advice on your skill sets, goals, and challenges.
- Make it easy for your mentor(s) to give you honest and specific feedback. Ask for it early in your relationship.
- Be willing to accept constructive criticism. Thank your mentor(s) for being honest with you and request precise recommendations for areas of improvement.
Expectations of Mentors
Mentors are trustworthy advisors who strive to share the wisdom gained from their own experiences. The following outlines the multi-faceted support that a mentor can offer:
- As an advisor who helps the tenure-track mentee set and attain career goals.
- As a strategist who helps a mentee make connections and build relationships that will sustain a successful academic career.
- As an advocate for scholarly values and academic integrity.
- Knowledgeable about institutional culture and faculty life at Taubman College and the University of Michigan.
- Skilled at resolving difficult work-related issues.
- Able to provide constructive guidance and practical feedback.
- Sensitive to the challenges of creating work-life balance.
- Prepared to make a reasonable time commitment.
- Responsive to professional issues associated with identity, including gender, race/ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation.
Serving as an advocate for a mentee means helping them to:
- Navigate the “unwritten rules” and avoid the pitfalls of academia when dealing with reviewers, editors, and research sponsors.
- Manage the practicalities of professional setbacks, such as grant and manuscript rejections, or poor teaching evaluations.
- Negotiate effectively to avoid overextension in service, advising, or teaching loads.
- Become well-versed in current tenure and promotion policies and procedures.
- Establish networks of support through introductions to key University administrators, faculty, and staff.
The following should be noted as terms of agreement for participation in the mentoring program as a mentor:
- It is the mentor’s responsibility to initiate and lead the first meeting. This should be scheduled for the Fall semester of the mentee’s first year on the tenure track, although the earlier in the year the better. A first meeting agenda is provided to guide this discussion (see Section 6.1).
- It is the responsibility of the mentor(s) to ensure subsequent meetings happen at a minimum cadence of once per semester (in the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer). Mentees and mentors should establish meeting times and modes that work for both parties. Mentees are also welcome to request a meeting.
- Mentors should respond promptly to mentee invitations to meet.
- Mentors should share information about their own background and experiences at Taubman College and the University of Michigan.
- Mentors should know how to access and understand tenure and promotion policies.
- Mentors should be familiar with benefits, College/University support etc to refer mentees to when appropriate.
- Mentors should communicate to assess how the mentoring match is working.
- Mentors should make referrals and/or gather resources in response to questions they may not be able to answer initially.
Characteristics of effective mentors may include but be limited to the following:
- Hold rank of Associate or Full Professor with tenure
- At least one mentor will have some alignment in disciplinary expertise with each mentee
- Strong knowledge base
- Good listening ability
- Helpful attitude
- Willingness and ability to make time
- A sense that the mentor will also enjoy and benefit from the process
- Shared interests
- Supportive and understanding of different faculty experiences related to gender or race
- Not identified with a strong faction in a contentious situation
- Not negative towards the mentee’s research or teaching interests
- Not known to be excessively dogmatic or critical
- Not hostile to the philosophy of the mentoring program
Even if a potential mentor does meet these criteria, the Program Chair will still discuss with mentees and potential mentors to confirm the suitability of a match.
Roles of College Leadership Team in Faculty Mentoring Program
The College Leadership Team is critical in establishing institutional support for a consistent, formalized, and transparent mentoring program. Institutionalizing a faculty mentoring program tangibly demonstrates that the College supports the faculty and their success. This in turn can contribute to a positive and productive faculty culture, which becomes particularly important in regard to faculty retention. Collectively, the College Leadership Team will be responsible for ensuring the mentoring program is established and continues to function effectively. The following members of the College Leadership Team have separately identified roles and responsibilities:
The Program Chairs will primarily be responsible for the assignment and oversight of the mentoring relationships in their department. They will also serve as the primary point of contact for faculty to reach out to regarding any mentoring issues they may encounter.
Tasks that Program Chairs will be responsible for will include: initiating discussions with new mentees to understand mentee goals and priorities for mentoring, discussing with other College leaders on strategies for mentoring assignments, informing mentees and mentors of their assignments, ensuring mentoring meetings are occurring, annually meeting with mentees (along with other College leaders), participating in annual mentee review sessions to provide feedback on work in progress, annually discussing strategies with other College leaders and helping to implement processes for continual improvement of the mentoring program.
Chief of Staff
The Chief of Staff has oversight for all staff and faculty HR issues and related administrative processes at the College, including the annual faculty activity review, the interim/reappointment review, the promotion and tenure process, sabbatical requests, time off clock requests, leaves of absence for family care or medical reasons, etc.
Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice
The Senior Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice will be responsible for providing additional mentoring support to faculty in their research and creative practice endeavors. Through the College Research + Creative Team, support in research administration and development is available to faculty.
Tasks that the Senior Associate Dean for Research + Creative Practice will be responsible for will include: discussing with other College leaders on strategies for mentoring assignments, annually meeting with mentees (along with other College administrative leadership), participating in annual mentee review sessions to provide feedback on work in progress, annually discussing strategies with other College leaders and helping to implement processes for continual improvement of the mentoring program (concurrent with the FAR review).
Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives
The Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives will be responsible for providing additional mentoring support to faculty in their teaching and pedagogy. With support from the Academic Initiatives Team, will explore productive synergies between faculty-driven, university-wide and college initiatives.
Tasks that the Associate Dean for Academic Initiatives will be responsible for will include: discussing with other College leaders on strategies for mentoring assignments, annually meeting with mentees (along with other College administrative leadership), participating in annual mentee review sessions to provide feedback on work in progress, annually discussing strategies with other College leaders and helping to implement processes for continual improvement of the mentoring program (concurrent with the FAR review).
Roles of Staff in Faculty Mentoring Program
A number of staff members are also available to provide career support for faculty members. The following is a list of those staff members and their roles:
Senior Research Administrator
The Senior Research Administrator is available to support all faculty members in the administrative processing of sponsored research and creative practice, including providing support for project budgeting, PAF preparation, changes to project scope, and project closeout.
Director of Research and Creative Practice Development
The Director of Research and Creative Practice Development is available to support faculty in increasing their awareness and competitiveness of sponsored research and creative practice opportunities. This might include working with faculty to implement insights gained through mentoring, such as a research development strategy that leverages seed funding and other forms of support towards more cumulative efforts, identifying research partnerships, adapting research proposal narratives for different audiences, characterizing research and creative practice impacts, or planning out a multi-domain project.
Human Resources Officer
The Human Resources Officer is contactable to support faculty with all their HR needs. Of particular note, the HR Officer supports faculty with employment administrative processes, including hiring any students for projects, and sponsorship for potential visiting faculty collaborators.
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
The Chief DEI Officer is available to support the Taubman community around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Faculty can set up a meeting with the Chief DEI Officer to discuss any issues that may arise.