New Hire Mentors/Advocates

A critical element to retaining faculty and staff is an effective mentoring or advocacy system. It equalizes the opportunity for each faculty and staff member and enables the success of all faculty and staff. Some faculty and staff may respond well to mentoring, while others may respond better to other developmental approaches.15 16

Some important considerations for establishing a mentoring program include:

  • Have a formal mentoring system in the unit. Consider multiple mentors. For example, instead of expecting a single person to meet all mentoring needs, select multiple people with expertise in separate areas to form a mentoring team—this may include a teaching and a research mentor, or a departmental, a non-departmental, and a non-UNL mentor. Be prepared with financial resources to enable external mentorship.
  • Consider explicit pairing based on cultural and intellectual connections, utilizing faculty outside of the department as needed.
  • Utilize training for mentors.
  • Establish suggested topics for discussion between mentors and mentees.
  • Have mentors walk through the documentation on annual evaluation and promotion/tenure in person, providing advice and strategies.
  • Have defined expectations for the regularity of mentor meetings, and defined advocacy moments for mentors in the promotion and tenure process.
  • Have an easy mechanism to change mentors so that mentor changes can occur smoothly and without retaliation.

15 Zambrana, R . E ., Ray, R ., Espino, M . M ., Castro, C ., Cohen, B . D ., & Eliason, J . (2015) . “Don’t leave us behind”: The importance of mentoring for underrepresented minority faculty. American Educational Research Journal, 52(1), 40-72.

16 Forret, M . L ., Turban, D . B ., & Dougherty, T . W . (1996). Issues facing organizations when implementing formal mentoring programs. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 17(3), 27-30.