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Mentoring Activities


The Department provides mentoring for faculty who have not yet reached their highest rank or tenure. The mentoring process provides a formal mechanism for early communication between the faculty member and the P&T Committee. The procedures are outlined below.

A. Professorial Faculty

1. The P&T Executive Committee meets with new professorial faculty members (who have not yet attained their highest rank) shortly after they begin their positions with the Department. The faculty member is given the Departmental P&T Guidelines and a template for curriculum vitae (CV) and Position Description. The P&T Executive Committee describes the role and procedures of the P&T Committee and the preparation and maintenance of the CV and dossier.

2. Mentoring Teams, consisting of two faculty members tenured in the Department and senior in rank to the faculty member being mentored, are appointed yearly by the P&T Executive Committee. To ensure continuity and diversity, one team member will repeat from the previous year, while a new individual will replace the second member.

3. The standard mentoring procedure for all tenure-track, research, and courtesy Assistant and Associate Professors, outlined below, will occur annually for Assistant Professors and biennially for Associate Professors, during winter or spring term. Instructors may request mentoring, if they so desire.

4. Each person due for mentoring shall be asked to prepare a summary of his or her activities and accomplishments since the last mentoring, based on their current job description, and a written self-assessment. The self-assessment shall be based on activities that have occurred since the most recent previous assessment, and will ordinarily be < 1 page in length. A standard form for this summary and self- assessment (the Periodic Activity and Self-Assessment Report form), similar to that used when salary raises are being decided, will be provided. (If a Courtesy faculty member is already required to complete such a summary and assessment for their employer, e.g., USDA, the faculty member can submit this instead of the Departmental form.) The form includes specific prompts and space for the P&T Executive Committee (or the appointed mentors; see below) to write evaluative comments. The self-assessment, along with an updated cv will be submitted to the administrative support person handling promotion and tenure documents.

5. Assistant and Associate Professors (or Instructors, if they request mentoring) being mentored will be offered the opportunity to meet with a two-person mentoring team during the years in which mentoring occurs. Research and courtesy professors may decline this opportunity if they wish, in which case comments on their file may be written by the P & T Executive Committee using the space provided on the form. Tenure-track Assistant professors and tenured Associate Professors, however, will be expected to accept this offer, and comments on their file will be written by that two-person committee.

6. The full Department P&T committee (tenured instructors and tenured, associate and full professors). Tenure-track assistant professors are invited to attend and become familiar with procedures. All members of the full P&T committee participate in this discussion of files, regardless of relative rank.

7. The mentoring team will write a brief summary of the full P&T committee’s discussion on the Periodic Activity and Self-assessment Report form, and this summary will be made available to the person being mentored, the P & T Executive Committee, and the Department Chair.

8. The evaluation form with written comments from the P&T committee will be made available to the person being mentored, who will be asked to sign the document and provide written rebuttal/response as appropriate. The form, and any written rebuttal/response, will then become part of the individual’s personnel file. Subsequent discussion with P&T Executive committee, the mentoring committee, or the Department Chair will be arranged if warranted.

The faculty member should consider his or her assigned mentors as appropriate individuals from whom to seek advice, and to make sure that no important information has been overlooked throughout the process. Faculty members also are encouraged to seek counsel from other members of the faculty and not to rely entirely on their assigned mentors.

Note that mentoring does not replace the requirement for yearly evaluation by the Departmental Chairperson for faculty on annual tenure or for required periodic reviews of tenured faculty.

B. Faculty Research Assistants (FRAs)

1. The supervising faculty member has special responsibilities with regard to the mentoring of a FRA, starting at the time of hire. Newly hired FRAs should receive a copy of the FRA Handbook and a copy of the job description that clearly describes the responsibilities of the position. The job description, which should be reviewed at the time of annual review, serves as the basis for evaluation of achievement. Annual evaluations should include a discussion of performance and any expectations for position development or possible promotion.

2. A formal mentoring process is initiated in the spring of each year for FRAs who wish to be considered candidates for promotion to Senior FRA I and II. To begin the mentoring process, the FRA must notify his or her supervisor and the chair of the P&T Executive Committee that they wish to be considered for promotion.

3. A Mentoring Team, composed of one tenured faculty member and one Senior FRA I or II as appropriate, is appointed by the P&T Executive Committee to advise the candidate on dossier preparation.

4. It is the responsibility of the Mentoring Team to schedule the initial meeting with the candidate and to provide advice and information concerning the preparation of the dossier.

5. It is the responsibility of the candidate to prepare his or her dossier and to keep the Mentoring Team informed of progress, to ask questions that may arise, and to request additional meetings as needed.

6. See guidelines for Promotion to Senior FRA I and II.