Institutional Faculty Mentoring Program

The most important and valuable investment a university makes is in its faculty and we feel strongly about helping them in every way possible to achieve success in all dimensions of their professional life. Mentoring is ONE important mechanism for carrying out that responsibility. The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (OSVPP) has launched an Institutional Faculty Mentoring Program (IFMP) designed to provide faculty at all ranks with the opportunity to learn the institutional and system networks and maximize the use of such networks for personal and professional development. The IFMP is an OU-wide mentoring network for faculty, new and experienced, seeking to learn from the experiences of other faculty. The program serves as a catalyst for meaningful relationships to form among faculty, institutionally, with the goal of investing in each other’s professional development and success.

The IFMP is designed to supplement the traditional mentoring programs available in most departments and colleges. The internet and social media have created virtual opportunities for us to share our knowledge and experiences with one another. The practice of appointing a departmental mentor to junior faculty is no longer sufficient. Besides, research has shown that this practice has not always been effective. Today, faculty members are more proactive in reaching out to others for advice and support. The network of institutional mentors facilitates fruitful and mutually beneficial mentor-mentee relationships. A faculty member can reach out to any or all of the institutional mentors for guidance. We are very excited about the new program and look forward to expanding it every year.

For Mentors

Qualities of an Effective Mentor:

  1. Time commitment – Commitment to meet with the mentee at least once a month. Be prepared to invest time in reading the documents provided by the mentee for feedback and guidance. Have an agenda for each meeting, experiment with the process.
  2. Build trust – Commitment to confidentiality when appropriate. Mutual respect for each other’s privacy – build an environment of trust.
  3. Keep an open mind – The environment that the mentee is in may be different than yours. Things that worked out for you may not work out the same way for the mentee. Invest time to understand the culture of the work environment for the mentee.
  4. Actively listen and facilitate discussion – Give careful and full attention when the mentee is speaking. Reflect in your own words to confirm that what you heard matches with what was told. Summarize key issues you heard and provide constructive feedback relevant to the person’s experience.
  5. Determine goals and measure progress – Work with the mentee to set appropriate goals for the mentorship. Measure, communicate, and celebrate progress.
  6. Encourage and support – Be there when the mentee is faced with negative outcomes.
  7. Mentor in areas of strength – Recognize the need to refer the mentee to others in your network when needed. Assist the mentee in establishing a professional network.


For Mentees

Qualities of An Effective Mentor:

  1. Demonstrate commitment –Follow meeting schedule and agenda, come on time and prepared.
  2. Build trust – Respect confidentiality and expect confidentiality.
  3. Discuss expectations and goals with the mentor – important to get the most out of the relationship.
  4. Be curious – Ask questions if need more clarification.
  5. Be prepared to talk about yourself – culture, thoughts, experiences, feelings.
  6. Communicate needs and concerns – suggestions and feedback on the relationship.
  7. Respect boundaries – Respect mentor’s availability.
  8. Show appreciation – Remember that mentors are volunteers.


Possible areas where mentorship can be beneficial:

  1. Publishing journal articles
  2. Publishing books
  3. Fellowship applications
  4. Externally funded grants
  5. Foundation grants
  6. Research Centers
  7. Broader impacts
  8. Graduate student supervision
  9. Effective teaching
  10. Teaching pedagogies
  11. Assessment and evaluation
  12. Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor
  13. Promotion to Full Professor
  14. Networking with other faculty
  15. Effective communication with other faculty
  16. Effective communication with administrators
  17. Addressing challenges of underrepresented faculty
  18. Work/Life integration
  19. Advice for mid-career faculty
  20. Leadership development
  21. Advice for new administrators
  22. Guidance on FMLA/Modified duties
  23. Dual career couples
  24. Evaluation of opportunities/choices


  1. University of Massachusetts Amherst has two resources [visit website]:
    1. Faculty of Color Resource Guide
    2. Mutual Mentoring Guide
  2. Faculty Mentoring Handbook form ADVANCE at University of Rhode Island
  3. Columbia University in the City of New York has a Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring.
  4. An article: “From Mentor to Mentoring Networks: Mentoring in the New Academy”. [visit website]
  5. “Introduction to Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors and Mentees”. [visit website]
  1. Making the Most of Mentors: A Guide for Mentees
  2. Mentee Guide
  3. Successful Goal Setting: A 6-Step Guide for Mentees [visit website]
  4. How to be a Good Mentee [visit website]