Mentoring

Mentoring is crucial to the success of faculty and to the long-term health of the institution. But mentoring is not simply about pairing new faculty with seasoned faculty; it is about establishing relationships structured around shared interests. Mentoring dyads are increasingly replaced by mentoring constellations. Internal structures are increasingly augmented by the deliberate inclusion of external peers. Faculty developers, like those in the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), routinely provide confidential mentoring to all faculty and help establish high-impact mentoring programs for faculty within and across departments. Our goal is to help faculty build the bonds they need to help them succeed.

We are presently developing an inventory of mentoring models in use in the departments at Appalachian, as well as a resource-base of best practices extracted from the literature and experience. Our goal is to develop and share best practices that can be customized to the needs and interests of mentors, mentees, and academic and professional programs. If you would like to discuss mentoring further, please contact Sarah Marshburn, Faculty Development Consultant and Mentoring Leader (marshburnse@appstate.edu).

As we develop this on-demand archive, please consider the following models. Peer-to-peer mentoring is a format that acknowledges the collaborative role of colleagues in their scholarly and creative endeavors and further recognizes the serial or changing nature of this kind of collaboration - some of which may be facilitated using social networking platforms. For a full description, see Towards Passionate Thought: Peer Mentoring as Learning from One Colleague to Another by Dils and Stinson.

The second model is called mutual mentoring. Developed at the University of Massachusetts, this mentoring model helps new faculty to locate one or more individuals from within or without their home institution as a way in which to further their research activity. This model has specific guidelines to measure the success of that mentoring relationship in terms of productivity. See how this has been successfully implemented.

For new faculty

Departments presently have responsibility for assigning mentors to new faculty. Typically, these efforts involve a pairing of individuals within the department or a committee charged with mentoring new faculty. However, and based upon research and feedback from faculty, we are exploring alternative methods of developing more dynamic and enriching mentoring models based on faculty interests, needs, and objectives.

To complement departmental mentoring, CAE will:

  • Offer workshops specifically designed for new faculty
  • Launch a new faculty seminar that will help all new faculty embark on a successful academic career that emphasizes excellence in teaching, learning, scholarship, and service
  • Keep in touch with new faculty throughout their crucial first few years through face-to-face gatherings and online communication
  • Post information on mentoring on this website, such as articles on best practices and building community through mentoring that are germane to our new faculty and their mentors

For mid-career and senior faculty

The mentoring program, while facilitated by CAE staff, is shared with faculty and staff across the campus. Mentoring initiatives can originate from many different constituencies and can take many different forms:

  • A Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for those engaged in mentoring of all kinds - with students, new faculty, mid–career faculty, senior faculty, retiring faculty
  • College/Department/Program mentor directors who could conduct one or more events on areas of concern specific to that unit
  • Mentoring circles for like-minded faculty to meet either formally or informally around areas of particular interest, from teaching to grant writing to collaborative scholarly work

International and visiting international faculty mentoring

"It's not just about being new to higher education; it's about being new to its system, its rules, its customs, and even the country."

These words, spoken recently by a visiting international scholar, struck a chord with us and awakened us to the host of issues unique to those coming here from abroad. Everything from paperwork to FERPA; from the expectations of students and colleagues to assimilation in the academic and social community reveals a different yet vibrant light. In conjunction with our colleagues across campus, we provide, develop, and facilitate the establishment of enriching mentoring bonds with our international faculty.