Prepare for meetings by creating a list of topics for discussion or questions to ask. Topics might include short-term and long-term professional goals, and current concerns and issues. Sample questions include "What are you spending your time on?", "How is your teaching going?" and "How are you making time for your scholarship?"
Listening attentively to understand and provide support. In-depth listening is critical to effective mentoring. Avoid distractions such as cell phones, e-mails, and knocks at the door when meeting.
Respect the privacy, honesty and integrity of the faculty member you are working with. Maintain the strictest confidence about anything that the faculty member says to you. Make these boundaries clear when signing the faculty agreement in your first meeting.
Avoid making judgments or issuing evaluative statements.
Make observations or suggestions, but allow the faculty member to make decisions and take actions best suited to them.
Provide constructive criticism and praise. Make suggestions for improvement privately. Be explicit that you are offering suggestions that should be weighed along with advice and ideas received from others.
Plan for the next meeting before you conclude each meeting. Review your progress and solicit ideas for discussion. Ask for ways to improve your meeting.
Be aware of campus resources so you may direct the faculty member to others as needed. Introduce and expose the faculty member within your own professional circle and to circles outside the college community as relevant.
Make only positive or neutral comments about the faculty member in public conversations in which his or her name surfaces.
Do not be afraid to end the relationship if either of you are unable to keep the terms of the contract. Remember, the "no fault" separation policy.
Review and if agreed upon renew the relationship agreement on an annual basis. Most relationships end naturally when the relationship is no longer beneficial for both parties.
Last Modified: March 4, 2009