Mentoring at NC State
Faculty Mentoring within Academic Departments
Soil Science: Mentoring committees in Soil Science address issues important in the RPT process for Assistant and Associate Professors, and identify any weaknesses in the Department’s support structure for these faculty. Mentoring teams are assigned by the department head and consist of three senior faculty members for each Assistant Professor. The team members have a vested interest in the programs and success of that faculty member, and the team works as her/his advocate for success within the department. A mentoring team meets with the faculty member at least twice per year, team members are available to the junior faculty for consultation, and they help ensure that any concerns from other departmental faculty are addressed.
Forestry and Environmental Resources: This is a large department encompassing a wide variety of disciplines. The department has thus developed a mentoring program in which the faculty member, in consultation with the department head, chooses his or her own mentoring committee. A large part of the responsibility for establishing and meeting with the mentoring committee thus falls on the faculty member being mentored. At a minimum, the mentoring committee reviews and critiques the Statement of Mutual Expectations, thus making sure that the expectations of the junior faculty member, members of the departmental faculty, and the department head are all in alignment. If a relationship develops between the junior faculty member and members of the mentoring committee, the benefits may be much larger.
History: The History Department has a policy of voluntary group mentoring. Under this system, assistant professors meet for coffee or lunch twice a semester to discuss a predetermined topic, i.e. grant writing, graduate advising, publishing, balancing work and family, the tenure process. The assistant professors invite two or three senior faculty to join them for a conversation on a given topic based on their sense of who can offer the best advice. This system allows junior faculty to meet and learn from an assortment of senior faculty, contributes to the overall intellectual life of the department, and encourages individual relationships to develop.