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Faculty mentoring is an important part of the faculty development process, especially as faculty members progress in their careers. Additionally, faculty mentoring is a department and school responsibility. Department chairs and other academic leaders, in particular, should proactively work to encourage mentoring among their faculty members.


The following offers best practices for faculty mentoring and additional resources that may be helpful for faculty members to build their mentorship skills or find mentorship themselves.


Best Practices for Faculty Mentoring

Characteristics of Effective Mentoring 

  1. Establishment of clear career goals and steps to achieve them: ​

    • Objectives / Strategies​

    • Specific Deliverables / General Timeline​

  2. When there is more than one mentor, there should be a development of roles for each mentor ​

  3. Setting clear rules regarding meetings (frequency, agenda, and deliverables) ​

  4. Maintaining confidentiality during any and all discussions​

  5. Agreeing on communication method, style, and frequency ​

  6. Providing appropriate and helpful feedback​

  7. Cultivating a safe environment built on trust, communication, and mutual respect​​

  • Cornell University, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, Mentoring​​
  • Columbia University, “Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring

Oftentimes, post-tenure mentoring can be difficult to implement and employ. Associate professors and other post-tenure faculty face a variety of challenges during this period of their academic and professional careers. ​

Generally, senior faculty recognize that junior faculty need mentoring, but tenured faculty are thought to be on their own. However, this group still needs the proper support and guidance as they move through their careers. Therefore, department chairs and other academic leaders must be proactive in terms of offering mentoring opportunities for these particular faculty members. ​

Below are some mentoring focus areas for post-tenure faculty: 


Adapted from:​

  • Cornell University, Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, Mentoring​

  • Columbia University, “Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring”