Faculty Mentoring Program

In March 2011, Provost Wilcox issued a University-wide mentoring policy that requires each college to implement a formal, faculty mentoring program by August 16, 2011. The purpose of this program is to ensure that tenure-track faculty move successfully through reappointment and tenure and promotion. The College of Music has had a mentoring program in place since Fall 2008. It was developed by Associate Deans Curtis Olson and David Rayl in consultation with Assistant Provost Deborah DeZure. Subsequently it was discussed and approved by both the College Advisory Committee and Council of Area Chairs and has been operational since Fall 2008. After three years of operation and based on input from past mentees and mentors and Dr. DeZure, the program was revised in Spring/Summer 2011.

The mentor program is coordinated by David Rayl, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research.

Each tenure-track faculty member will be assigned a lead mentor for a period of one year. The mentee has the right to ask that a different mentor be assigned. At the end of the year, the mentee will be consulted as to whether or not s/he wants to continue with the current mentor or have another mentor assigned.

The lead mentor will typically not be the mentee’s area chair, although area chairs may serve as lead mentors outside their area.

The lead mentor should meet as often as appropriate (at least 4 times per year) with the mentee and will engage in an active conversation about progress or challenges in the areas of teaching, research/creative activities, service or other issues as they arise.

At the end of the school year, each mentor will submit a brief report to the Associate Dean, outlining mentoring activities with each mentee. This will be made easier (we hope) because each mentor will be provided with a form with a brief checklist that can be completed at the end of each mentoring session. At the end of the year, these forms can either be compiled to create a report or they can be submitted individually. This end-of-the year report is intended to document the fact that mentoring took place, but will not contain any evaluation of or advice to the mentee. The report will be retained by the Associate Dean.

Each lead mentor will receive a stipend of $500/year, to be paid upon receipt of the above report by the Associate Dean.

The lead mentor is encouraged, but not required, to write up a summary of the year’s mentoring activities to be shared with the mentee. It could also include topics for future consideration. This summary will not be share with the Associate Dean and will not become part of the mentee’s personnel file.

The lead mentor should not be seen as a conduit of information to the administration about the mentee. If the mentee faces challenges, the lead mentor should make use of the deans as a resource, but the mentor should not discuss privileged information with the deans. Similarly if the deans have concerns about a particular matter pertaining to a mentee, it should be communicated to the lead mentor and the mentee.

The lead mentor will provide advice and/or identify other faculty members whose skills or background enable them to serve as special mentors.

The special mentor will address a specific issue or set of issues and will work with the mentee for as long as necessary.

Examples of issues that might be addressed with either a lead mentor or a special mentor include developing a research/creative activity agenda; reading and commenting on manuscripts; listening to research presentations or lecture-recitals; attending professional conferences together; developing classroom teaching skills; developing a syllabus for a course or an applied studio; observing and evaluating teaching; developing a recruiting plan; FIF submission; preparation of RPT promotional materials; grant applications; reviewing the dean’s annual letter of review; social activities; etc.

The mentor/mentee relationship should in no way preclude interactions between the mentee and the area chair. In fact, these interactions are encouraged. Both lead mentors and special mentors should communicate with area chairs when appropriate. Area chairs may serve as special mentors to mentees in their own area in cases where their expertise and knowledge of the discipline is needed, especially in regard to tenure expectations in the area.

The mentee should be aware that the lead mentor and any special mentors s/he consults may, at various times during the reappointment and tenure/promotion process, have an evaluative role (for example, each tenured member of an area is asked to write a review letter for reappointment and tenure/promotion; a mentee’s mentor may be a member of the RPT Committee at some point prior to the mentee’s reappointment or tenure decision; etc.)

An online Faculty Mentor Resource Center has been launched where tools can be found to help mentors/mentees. Many more resources will be added to the site on an ongoing basis so please check it regularly for updates. http://www.adapp-advance.msu.edu/faculty-mentoring-resource-center

The following Mentoring Policy and Principles appears on the Provost’s website:

Each college shall implement a formal mentoring program by August 16, 2011. As a part of the college program, colleges may also require that each department or school develop its own unit level mentoring program. Effective mentoring is important to enhancing academic excellence and building a progressively stronger faculty composed of members who meet continuously higher standards and are competitive nationally and internationally. Mentoring programs will help the University achieve its goals for a high- quality faculty, diversity, inclusive excellence, and a respectful, positive work environment in which all members of the University community can thrive. While the responsibility for career development and success is ultimately that of the individual faculty member, opportunity, mentoring and the degree of environmental support that is available can affect success.

There are many forms of mentoring programs and no single model will meet the needs of all units or individuals. Each college (and/or unit) should develop a program that is most relevant to its needs based upon evidence based best practices. The practices and procedures in colleges may vary; however, all college mentoring programs must incorporate, at a minimum, the principles included below.

1. For faculty members with joint appointments, there should be one mentoring plan for the faculty member, coordinated among the units, with leadership from the faculty member’s lead unit.

2. Faculty members need different kinds of mentoring at different stages of their career. Initially, at minimum, colleges are expected to provide a mentoring program for pre-tenure, tenure system faculty, and build upon the program as capacity allows. This might include, for example, the addition of associate professors, HP faculty, or fixed term faculty for whom there is a long-term commitment.

3. Colleges, units and mentors should demonstrate sensitivity to potentially different challenges faced by diverse faculty including women, persons of color, and other facets of identity.

4. Conflicts of interest should be minimized, confidentiality protected, and all faculty members provided an environment in which they can address concerns without fear of retribution.

5. A faculty member may choose not to have a mentor.

6. Mentoring policies should be clearly communicated to all faculty members, and efforts must be made to ensure that there is clarity of both expectations and roles for all parties.

7. Mentoring excellence will be considered in the annual review of faculty.

8. Formative evaluation shall be incorporated into the design of the mentoring program to maximize benefit to each individual being mentored.

9. Colleges shall assess the effectiveness of their mentoring program on a cycle not to exceed five years.

This form should be completed following each mentor/mentee meeting. At the end of the school year, the mentor should submit a copy of each of these forms to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research.



We met on____________________________________________________________________________________

We discussed (include specific topics if appropriate):

_____ Research/Creative Activity


_____ Teaching



_____ Service


_____ Other topics