Faculty Mentoring Program


Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Libraries is committed to assisting new faculty in developing their professional careers and believes that the mentoring of new faculty will assist in the attainment of that goal. The mentoring program also aims to assist in the retention of excellent faculty.


The first year (2007-2008) of the Faculty Mentoring Program was a pilot study. Library faculty members hired during this period were given an opportunity to participate in the program. The Dean of Libraries and the Associate Dean of Libraries coordinated the pilot program and assigned mentors. In 2012, the Faculty Handbook Committee asked all library faculty who participated in the mentoring program to discuss the positive and negative aspects of the program and make suggestions for improvement. The findings are reflected in the 2012 updated version of this handbook. These changes and all future changes will be voted on for approval by the Library Faculty Assembly. 


Role of the Dean of the University Libraries in Mentoring 

The Dean of the University Libraries has overall responsibility for the success of the faculty mentoring process. In addition to taking an active interest in the progress of each faculty member in all activities, the Dean of the University Libraries must ensure that the faculty mentoring program is implemented. The Dean of the University Libraries, upon notification by the Chair of the Search Committee of the candidate’s acceptance of the employment offer, should advise the new faculty member’s department head on the selection of a mentor. The department head will then assign the mentor to the new employee. Mentors should be at the associate rank or higher. In addition to rank, one’s position title should also be considered. If the new faculty has been hired as a department head, the mentor should have a position title of equal or higher status. The mentor should be assigned to the new faculty by the end of the new faculty member's first semester of employment. 


Role of the Library Faculty in Mentoring

It is the professional responsibility of library faculty to serve as mentors when called upon. This responsibility will be added to the faculty mentor’s annual assignment for the term of service. 


Mentoring Objectives

  • FAU Libraries wants to retain new faculty by helping them become more familiar with the university culture, increase their learning curve, and become aware of University resources.
  • FAU Libraries wants to foster a cooperative network by helping new faculty meet and network with other faculty and staff.
  • FAU Libraries wants to increase the flow of accurate and timely information throughout the University.
  • FAU Libraries wants to contribute to new faculty morale, motivation, and a sense of community.

Mentor Benefits and Roles


Who is a mentor?

A mentor is a trusted and experienced advisor who has a direct interest in the development and education of a less experienced individual. A mentor is that person who achieves a one-to-one developmental relationship with a learner, and one whom the learner identifies as having enabled personal growth to take place.
The relationship between the mentor and mentee is unique. The mentor assumes numerous roles, while contributing to a sustaining relationship of shared interests and goals. A mentor makes a commitment to an assigned mentee to help her or him grow into the organization's culture and become a productive and effective organization member. A person can never have too many mentors. As a faculty member, you might have several formal and informal mentors at the same time.

A mentor's general role may include, but is not limited to:    

  • Advisor: Provide mentee with useful information about the University; offer mentee an avenue for social and emotional support during his/her transition into the University; familiarize mentee with the numerous sources and resources located throughout the University community. 
  • Role model: Teach mentee how to succeed in the University by modeling how individuals in senior positions conduct themselves and interact with others. 
  • Coach: Advise mentee on how to accomplish his/her goals and provide feedback. Help the mentee develop alternatives to address work-related problems or create learning opportunities. Teach the mentee organizational and professional skills and help "decode" the University culture; create an atmosphere where mentees can learn from their own and each other's experiences, mistakes, and successes as well as from their mentors' experiences. 
  • Supporter: Encourage the participation of the mentee on committees to increase visibility; enhance the mentee's self-esteem through supportive, nonjudgmental discussions and "pep talks;" Help the mentee establish a professional network.

A mentor's specific role may include, but is not limited to:   

  • Recognize and evaluate what you can offer, keeping in mind that you should not expect yourself to fulfill every mentoring function.
  • Clarify expectations with your mentee about the extent to which you will offer guidance concerning personal as well as professional issues, such as advice about how to balance family and career responsibilities.
  • Give constructive feedback (as well as praise) when warranted but present it with specific suggestions for improvement.
  • Help new faculty learn what kinds of available institutional support they should seek in order to further their own career development - such as faculty development funds.
  • Take time to be available to your mentee (can keep in contact by dropping by, calling, sending e-mail, or inviting your mentee to lunch); to ask questions, to read proposals and papers, and to perform periodic reviews of progress; to constructively criticize errors and to recognize and praise excellence.
  • Tell your mentee if he/she asks for too little - or too much - of your time.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Discuss with the mentee the "rules" of the department or team.
  • Advise on tenure and promotion requirements and processes.
  • Provide advice on University, college, and department/team policies.
  • Suggest strategies for effective teaching, assessment, and writing grant proposals.
  • Propose effective ways of interacting with students and colleagues.
  • Help sort out priorities: budgeting time, publications, teaching, obtaining appropriate resources, scheduling a lab or experimental work if appropriate, committee participation.
  • Suggest how to say "no" to certain demands on his/her time.
  • Provide social support, act as an advocate for the new faculty member.
  • Introduce him/her to colleagues from other departments.
  • Explain the written and unwritten rules of the University.
  • Discuss research, publication, and presentations at conferences.


Mentee Benefits & Responsibilities 

FAU Libraries has a strong interest in seeing that each new faculty member realizes his/her full potential. We want to do whatever it takes to retain and advance all new faculty members, both in his/her own interest as well as in that of the department/team and the University community. Each college and department/team has its own culture, a system with distinct structural features, role relations, informal system dynamics and environmental stresses and strains. New faculty members are not left to discover this culture and navigate in it alone.  Research suggests that new faculty who have the help of a mentor perform better both as teachers and as researchers. And the department/team and University is enriched and strengthened also. After all, mentoring is the socialization of faculty members learning the rules of academe, involving colleagues who are role models, consultants, advisors and sponsors for their peers. 

Although all new faculty have responsibility for their own growth and success, having a mentor offers an avenue to become acclimated more quickly to the FAU culture. The effectiveness of having a mentoring relationship depends on the active participation of the mentee as well as the mentor.


Benefits for a new faculty member in having a mentor:

  • Have your mentor attend a meeting with you.
  • Expand your view of the University.
  • Receive honest and informal feedback.
  • Receive advice on how to balance teaching, research, and other responsibilities and set professional priorities.
  • Obtain knowledge of informal rules for advancement (as well as political and substantive pitfalls to be avoided).
  • Obtain knowledge of skills for showcasing one's own work.
  • Understand how to build a circle of friends and contacts both within and outside one's department or team.
  • Provide a perspective on long-term career planning.
  • Connect more closely to the University and to other employees.
  • Increase communication about what is happening in other areas of the University.
  • Expand growth in your sense of competence, identity, and effectiveness as a professional.
  • Provide an outlet to discuss concerns.
  • Increase your value to the University.
  • Learn to cope with the formal and informal structure of the University.
  • Provide a successful and productive integration to the University.


Mentee responsibilities:   

  • Meet regularly with the mentor.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Keep yourself informed in regard to the requirements for tenure and promotion and your progress toward meeting those requirements.
  • Ask for and give feedback.
  • Take responsibility for own growth and success.
  • Follow through on referrals from mentor to appropriate office or persons for specific information.
  • Listen actively.
  • Ask your mentor for guidance and assistance whenever it is needed.
  • Present needs in an articulate way.


There are several key points to take away from the above:

  • Clarifying expectations involves:
    • the various roles the mentor finds comfortable.
    • the amount and kind of support that are needed by the mentee or that can be provided by the mentor;
    • determining the frequency of contact and the availability and the accessibility of the mentor and mentee;
  • The mentor and the mentee need to anticipate, communicate, and manage the challenges inherent in these phases.
  • Know that these phases are part of the cycle and can help both parties avoid personalizing "failures."
  • A single mentor is highly unlikely to meet all the mentee's needs.
  • The mentee and mentor both have developmental needs that can be met in the relationship. If these needs are not complementary, interaction can be frustrated.
  • Ending the formal relationship involves the mentor and mentee planning for and talking about this, evaluating the process and their accomplishments, and discussing future options (more formal relationship, ongoing mentoring relationship, or friendship).
  • The greatest challenges to a mentoring relationship are finding time and energy, selecting goals/objectives, keeping momentum going, and giving effective feedback.

The Mentoring Process 


  • Call or email the mentee to set up first meeting after his/her arrival on campus.
  • Share information about professional background, professional experiences, and professional satisfactions. Include information about previous mentoring experiences either as mentor or mentee. 
  • Informally clarify common interests and/or shared work values.
  • Help mentee clarify goals.
  • Set up a schedule with mentee for regular meetings and feedback sessions.  Be sure to agree on frequency and times and stick to them.
  • Compile a list of activities with mentee which meet mutual goals.
  • Remember to both talk and listen.
  • Brush up on your communication and other skills and always remember to take the mentee seriously.
  • Be sensitive to gender and cross cultural differences.


  • Respond to mentor’s request to meet.
  • Share information about your background, your needs and values, and your aspirations.
  • Informally clarify common interests and shared work values.
  • Discuss goals to achieve your needs and aspirations
  • Set goals for yourself and follow through with them. Don’t be afraid to raise your expectations or redefine your goals as part of the ongoing process.
  • With your mentor, decide what steps will need to be taken to achieve your goals.
  • Remember to both listen and talk.
  • Be receptive to both feedback and coaching.  Feedback should be perceived as an opportunity for growth. 
  • Pay attention to changes in your life or attitudes that may call for updating your goals and expected outcomes.


Evaluation of the Faculty Mentoring Program 


Mentees and mentors will report to the Dean when he calls an evaluation meeting at the end of the year. The findings will be reported to the Library Faculty Assembly. The Library Faculty Assembly will consider making changes to the Faculty Mentoring Program at that time. Approved changes will be reflected in this document and will go into effect to the following year. 

University of Pennsylvania, Guidelines for the School of Medicine Faculty Mentoring Program. Available at http://somapps.med.upenn.edu/fapd/documents/pl00021.pdf
University of Wisconsin (Oshkosh), Faculty Mentoring Program. 

Original Document: 2007

Revised July 10, 2015



Last modified at 08/10/2018 - 15:53 PM