Faculty Mentoring: A Team Approach to Faculty Development and Success.
Craig Beyrouty and George Van Scoyoc. Purdue Univ, Dept of Agronomy, 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054
Providing coordinated support for young faculty is essential to their integration into the university community and their ultimate success. Although mentoring is regarded as important it often is allowed to develop ad hoc, with little departmental or university support and guidance. In the Department of Agronomy at Purdue, a formal mentoring program has been developed for each assistant and associate professor (junior faculty) that includes frequent meetings with personal mentoring committees, annual formative feedback from the departmental promotion committee (all senior faculty), and annual performance review by the department head. Each junior faculty is provided a mentoring committee of three to four senior faculty who offer guidance on program development, navigating the university environment, transitioning into the university culture, and preparing for the promotion process. Discussions are frank and confidential and the mentoring committee meetings are intended to provide a safe and open environment for young faculty to discuss any and all issues. Although consideration of some of our faculty for promotion and tenure occurs in early fall by the promotion committee, collective formative feedback for each junior faculty occurs in spring by the same committee. Each assistant and associate professor (in rank at least two years) submits a document describing accomplishments, programmatic impact, and future direction. Faculty obtain assistance in constructing their documents from their mentoring committees. Each senior faculty in the department receives a copy of the document and provides written comments on performance and progress in areas of responsibility. This is followed by a meeting of the entire promotion committee to discuss accomplishments of each faculty and offer suggestions for program improvement and professional development. This mentoring process in combination with University mentoring programs sends a strong message to each of our junior faculty that our department and University are committed to their success by providing a supportive and caring environment.