Faculty at all career stages benefit from strategies designed to maintain and increase their scholarly and clinical productivity along with their personal satisfaction. One of the most important is formal mentoring. Faculty with mentors demonstrate higher levels of the following success factors when compared to non-mentored faculty
- Teaching effectiveness
- Research productivity
- Professional socialization and interactions with colleagues
Here are some facts about mentoring:
- Mentoring is not dependent on personality alone, but rather on tasks and activities that mentor and mentee do together
- Early and enduring mentoring is most beneficial
- Mentoring programs require a coordinator
- Multiple mentors are of value to faculty, providing different aspects of career development
- Having mentors from outside the mentee’s department is very effective
- Less than 25 percent of faculty find mentors on their own
- Formal mentoring is, overall, more effective than informal mentoring.
- Peer mentoring and informal mentoring may be of special importance to women, minority, and more senior faculty.
Faculty Mentoring Program
Faculty members of the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology serve various roles within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) and UW Health based on their “Faculty Track.” The roles of mentors and mentor committees are different for Tenure, Clinician Health Sciences (CHS), and Clinician Teacher (C-T) track department members.
In general, Tenure track faculty spend the majority of their time in educational and research endeavors rather than clinical service. CHS track faculty spend over 50% of their time in clinical care and clinical teaching while the remainder is spent in focused education and/or research activities. C-T track physician faculty spend greater than 90% of their time providing clinical care and clinical teaching.
The following plan acknowledges the increased need for early mentoring for probationary faculty on the CHS and Tenure track. Probationary faculty are faculty whose continued employment is contingent on promotion to the level of Associate Professor. Both tenure and CHS track faculty are “probationary” faculty while C-T track faculty are not.
Mentors and mentoring committees support and nurture the early career development of the faculty. All new CHS and Tenure track faculty will have a mentoring plan established shortly after joining the Department. The probationary faculty (Assistant Professors) will have a mentor (oversight) committee assigned to guide their early career development. The first two years of employment offer an opportunity to understand and support the professional goals of the new faculty and to reassess any need for track transfer. In general, faculty are appointed to a given track for their entire professional career at UW. There are some cases where a track transfer may be recommended if there are significant changes in job responsibilities or career direction.
Clinical Health Sciences (CHS) track faculty contribute to the SMPH’s missions through a scholarly approach to patient care, teaching and/or research. Clinical activity requires demonstration of outstanding clinical performance combined with a deep commitment to furthering the knowledge base of practitioners in the region or nation. Clinical duties, which are primary and typically comprise at least 50% of the faculty member’s effort, include provision of care to patients at UW Health or other locations; oversight of students and trainees in clinical settings within the academic health center; oversight, direction and training of other clinical practitioners in a clinical setting; and/or leadership in the area of clinical training and clinical care. The CHS faculty member assumes an active role in the training/education of medical students, residents or other learners in a clinical discipline. Consistent with the individual’s background, this position may pursue independent research as well as collaborate with other established researchers. The maximum probationary period in the CHS track is nine years of full-time equivalent service (which includes a one notice year).
Division Directors should form an individual mentor committee for Assistant CHS faculty shortly after arrival. The committee should consist of at least three members; one member of the same faculty Division, one faculty member outside of the Department who is familiar with the work of the probationary faculty member, and the mentoring committee Chair.
The role of this mentoring committee is to provide faculty with an objective assessment of performance relative to the CHS track guidelines and to counsel on early career development. This will assist the faculty in obtaining his or her academic and clinical goals. The committee will also help the mentee to identify their primary and secondary area of focus (clinical, education, or research). The Chair of the mentor committee will document the meetings and submit the report to the Division Director, Department Chair, and Faculty Development Coordinator. The objective of this committee is to provide probationary faculty with both guidance toward appropriate productivity and regular evaluation of progress toward promotion on the CHS track. The Division Director must ensure that each faculty member has a mentor committee and that their progress towards promotion is monitored.
Tenure track faculty contribute to the research, educational, and service missions of the Department. The faculty member is expected to develop and maintain a strong research program as evidenced by extramural research support; invitations to speak at national or international conferences; invitations to participate as visiting professor; invitations to prepare books, chapters, or reviews; service on editorial boards or as an officer in a national or international professional society; awards or honors--regional, national or international; appointment to governmental review panels or committees; and/or appointments to major committees of national professional societies. A decision on tenure must be made before the end of the sixth year.
Division Directors should form an individual mentor committee for Assistant Professors on the tenure track shortly after arrival. The committee should consist of at least three members. Suggested membership includes one member of the same faculty Division and at least one faculty member outside of the Department who is familiar with the work of the probationary faculty member. It is recommended that the Division Director not sit on the mentor committee for tenure track faculty. Each mentor committee should have a designated mentoring committee Chair.
The objective of this committee is to provide probationary faculty with both guidance toward appropriate productivity and regular evaluation of progress toward promotion on the tenure track. The faculty will be provided information on the tenure track guidelines of the appropriate Divisional committee (biological sciences, social sciences, etc.).
The mentoring committee and/or Chair should meet with probationary faculty on a regular basis. The mentor committee is required to report in writing to the Executive Committee regarding the faculty member's progress. The Executive Committee shall review each probationary faculty member's progress on an annual basis. The mentor committee Chair will file reports with the Department Chair, Executive Committee, Division Director, and faculty member regarding faculty progress. The Division Director must ensure that each faculty member is properly mentored and that their progress towards promotion is adequately monitored.
- Division Director: Form a mentoring committee for probationary faculty shortly after faculty arrive in the department and designate a Chair for the mentoring committee.
- Faculty: Work with Division Director to form the mentoring committee. Prepare your CV using the UW sample template. Meet with your mentor(s) and or mentor committee at least annually and more often in years 1-3. Prepare the preliminary promotion document at the appropriate time under the guidance of the Chair of the mentor committee and Division Director with administrative support from the Chair’s office.
- Mentor Committee Chair: Review faculty progress every six months and arrange at least an annual mentoring committee meeting. Forward annual faculty mentoring reports to the Dept. Chair, Division Director, Faculty Development Coordinator, and Executive committee.
- Mentor Committee: Review faculty progress at least annually and assist in the academic development of probationary faculty.
- Executive Committee: Review probationary faculty progress annually.
Choosing your Mentor
When you choose your mentor(s) please think about the following:
- Working with someone outside your division/department will broaden your network of colleagues, provide a new perspective in thinking about your work, and allow you to consider new approaches or applications.
- Working with someone who is not your direct supervisor may allow you to explore plans and discuss barriers and challenges to the work on your project without reservation.
- Taking the lead in negotiating your relationship with your mentor allows you to schedule meetings and determine the preferred method of communication with your mentor. Be sure to ask your mentor for specific and constructive feedback throughout your work together.
Functional mentoring occurs between a faculty member with specific needs and a mentor with the specific skills and expertise to meet those needs. They come together to focus on a project such as developing a course or curriculum, writing a grant, starting a new area of research, or developing a new clinical service. The mentoring relationship develops as work on the project progresses. Functional mentoring lasts until the project is completed, but may continue if both parties agree. It may involve discussions beyond the project (such as career counseling) and lead to further work together. Functional mentoring is a strategy to “jump-start” your search to obtain the mentoring that you need—with or without the assistance of a formal institutional mentoring program.
Don’t wait for a mentor to find you. Think about a project or a task that you have been asked to do, one that you would like to do, or one that you believe will advance your academic career. Identify your needs to make this project a success, and find a functional mentor to meet those needs. Your efforts will pay off with a tangible product at the end of the process