Advice, feedback, and support are keys to faculty development at all stages. This program is intended to provide a structure for informal guidance on career advancement for all who are at early stages on the faculty career path at NYUAD. This includes assistant professors (either employed on a continuing contract, tenure track or as emerging scholars) and early career lecturers. We aspire to achieve academic excellence for the entire NYUAD faculty, and it is well established that the path to excellence depends on a network of support from peers, mentors, advisors, and sponsors as well as from an institutional framework for success.
Career mentors and discipline mentors are important for professional growth for all faculty and are particularly valuable to those who are underrepresented. While there is much discussion of the benefits of career mentoring centered on early career faculty, the senior faculty who serve as advisors and mentors also reap rewards; this work hones listening skills, enhances the ability to provide constructive and effective feedback, and provides an opportunity to reflect on one’s own career path. In addition, the satisfaction of supporting those who will carry the mission of the university forward and advance the discipline is deeply rewarding for many.
NYUAD Early Career Faculty Mentoring
What is the essence of this program?
There is much to be gained from the experience of those who have successfully navigated an academic career. The Early Career Mentoring Program provides a framework and resources so that early career faculty can gain guidance from colleagues with more experience at NYUAD or in the discipline; ideally, this will be expanded to generate a network of people on which each faculty member can rely. Participation The Program means that each member of the mentoring relationship is committed to meeting regularly will engage constructive, supportive dialog focused on specific topics that are directly relevant to the career stage of the mentee. Mentees are expected to be proactive, to be open to feedback, and to set and work toward realistic and appropriate goals for advancement.
Career mentoring requires all involved to engage in regular interaction and transparent dialog; it does not require shared research interests, although the mentor should have knowledge of how to evaluate success and benchmark progress in the field. At times, mentors may act as sponsors (i.e. a highly experienced colleague in the same field who leverages their influence to advance the career of an early career colleague, for instance, through advocating for awards or making introductions of strategic importance). However, sponsorship, collaboration, and in-depth engagement with the scholarly work s not necessary for impactful career mentoring. It is advisable for all faculty to engage with colleagues in the NYU Global Network to collaborate, gain discipline specific advice, and to broaden career networks; career mentors should encourage mentees to seek a mentor in their specific discipline outside of NYUAD.
How do I get involved?
Participation in this program is voluntary and matches are made via work in each division. Initially, matches are established to provide optimal interaction, but the structure of the relationship can be adjusted as needed. While pair-mentoring relationships are most common, committees in which 2 or more senior or near-peer colleagues advise early career colleagues are an alternative option to provide diversity in perspectives and feedback. The key components of this program are to meet regularly (once a semester is optimal), establish rapport, enter into conversation with an openness to professional growth and engage in self-reflection.
There are 2 ways to make a match. One is that there is a match made by the divisional administrative leadership (i.e. dean, associate dean or program head). In this case, input from faculty about match preferences and then the mentor(s) and mentee are introduced to one another as a mentoring match. The other is that the mentee directly asks a more seasoned member of the faculty to serve as their mentor. This should be explicit. All early career faculty who want mentorship should have one standing or affiliated faculty member to serve in this role.
How much time does this take?
Some prefer to meet monthly, while others prefer to meet less frequently. It is advised that mentors and mentees meet for an hour at least once per semester. These meetings require some preparation, and there may be other, ad hoc, meetings as needed and material, such as a CV or components of renewal, tenure, or promotion docket to review. It is typical for most engaged in a mentoring relationship to spend 2-3 hours each semester engaged in the work together.
Role of the Mentor
The primary role of each faculty mentor is to provide personalized support and feedback to early career colleagues. Interactions are intended to be informal. Sharing a meal or coffee, either in person or virtually, is a good way to start. The relationship and discussion should be structured around topics pertinent to the teaching, scholarship and service activities of the early career colleague. Career advising also benefits senior faculty, who can hone their skills in providing career advice to early career colleagues and will directly contribute to the growth of the NYUAD faculty. Developing effective approaches to advise career development is a skill that can be learned, and as such, is an aspect of career development for the mentor and mentee alike. Specific guidelines for mentors include:
- Being a compassionate listener and responsive communicator to provide a supportive environment where faculty feel valued and included in the mission of NYUAD.
- Reviewing the role of the mentee within the context of the program, Division, and NYUAD to structure a framework for appropriate professional goals.
- Reviewing the format and content of the academic CV.
- Familiarity with policies, procedures, and organizational structures that are important for faculty activities and advancement. These will be reviewed in training sessions and relevant documentation will be provided in writing and through consultation with the Provost Office.
- Guidance on research/artistic activity and publications strategy (as appropriate). Collaboration on research or in-depth review or commentary on the research material is not expected.
- Guidance in the preparation and delivery of teaching. This includes a review of teaching and assessment strategies, interpretation of teaching evaluations, and as appropriate encouraging faculty to seek support for teaching through the HBC for Teaching and Learning or other venues that provide support for the development of teaching skills.
- Providing new faculty with guidance to aid integration into the program, Division, and NYUAD, including encouragement to attend relevant orientation programs. Mentors are expected to be familiar with the materials that are covered in this orientation.
- Reviewing renewal or promotion materials in advance of submission.
- Identifying impediments that disproportionately hinder the advancement of women or underrepresented faculty in their discipline and, as appropriate, providing referrals to resources that can augment networking and career advancement.
- Availability for in-person meetings at least once a semester and intermittent interaction on an ad hoc basis in person or via email.
Role of the Mentee
The faculty member being advised holds a major part of the responsibility for making the relationship with his/her career mentor productive and rewarding. This relationship relies on a willingness to be open, respectful and to maintain professional courtesy and respect in all interactions. Specific guidelines for mentees include:
- Focusing the content of the dialog on professional development related to teaching, research, and service.
- Engaging in self-reflection on career aspirations and activities to achieve these.
- Engaging in open dialog through clear and consistent communication about career development and goals, including collaborative development of benchmarks and discipline-specific definitions of success.
- Taking maximum advantage of the opportunity to develop a strategy for advancement, responding to feedback, and setting concrete goals as a way to manage your own career development.
- Setting and communicating meeting times well in advance (once per semester is recommended).
- Keeping the mentor informed of progress, accomplishments, and challenges.
- Preparing for and participating in meetings by providing any written material for review well in advance.
Resources & References
- McMurtie, B. (July 21, 2014). The difference mentoring makes. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1–7.
- Pfund, C., Maidl Pribbenow, C., Branchaw, J., Miller Lauffer, S., & Handelsman, J.
(2006) Professional skills: The merits of training mentors. Science. 311(5760), 473–474.
- Rockquemore, KA There is No Guru (PDF) (April 7, 2019) National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity www.FacultyDiversity.org
- Sorcinelli, M. D., & Yun, J. (2007). From mentor to mentoring networks: Mentoring in the new academy. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 39(6), 58–61.
- Phillips, S.L. and. Dennison, S., Chapters 1 and 3 in Faculty Mentoring A Practical Manual for Mentors, Mentees, Administrators, and Faculty Developers (PDF), Stylus Publishing, 2015
Resources for mentoring at NYU