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About Mentoring

There are many levels of mentoring such as formal, departmental, and the less formal colleague to colleague. Fresh models of mentoring are emerging that encourage multiple-networking mentors to address specific activities like instruction, research, and work/life balance. There are even programs emerging where a senior faculty from one campus is paired with a junior faculty from another, within a consortium, with similar research and scholarly interests. Texas A&M University and the Office of Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost (DOF) are committed to faculty retention, creating an atmosphere of advocacy, respect, and accessibility for its entire faculty. The Women's Faculty Network (WFN) Mentoring Program is a voluntary program designed to pair experienced faculty with new faculty to acclimate the latter to the university. This program is not designed to take the place of mentoring programs already offered by individual departments. We encourage new and junior faculty to seek multiple mentors from a myriad of sources. This program is designed to act as a supplemental with a targeted focus toward women faculty. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that mentored faculty exhibit greater political savvy, higher job satisfaction, and more prolific research and publications.1 For this reason, the primary goal of the WFN Mentoring Program is to make both mentees and mentors feel empowered professionally and socio-academically by participating in a more formalized faculty mentoring program.
The structure of the program is simple. Pairs commit to meet throughout the semester to talk, vent, mull over career goals, share, create, and support new faculty's navigation through their junior years. While general guidelines and tips are provided for these meetings, pairs are given latitude to structure their visits (time and duration) in a manner that works best for them. The DOF office funds one lunch per semester, per pair, and encourages pairs to meet face-to-face on a regular basis or, at the very least, by phone and email.
1. Johnson, W. B. (2007). On being a mentor: A guide for higher education faculty. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.