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Mentoring ProgramMentoring

Mentoring Matters
Tenure-track faculty members are clear about what they want: tenure and a life. It really is that simple. They want to be the extraordinary researchers, exceptional teachers, and awesome colleagues who exceed the standards for tenure (whatever those may be) AND they want to have a life beyond campus. These two things together -- explosive productivity and personal health -- are what it means to truly thrive in academe.
--A Mentoring Manifesto

An institution’s reputation rests in no small part on the shoulders of its faculty. For a university to thrive, so too must its faculty, and this is where mentoring comes in.

Mentoring engages, leverages, and enriches the experience of ascending and senior faculty while supporting the success of new faculty. Further, research indicates that effective mentoring of junior faculty results in a stronger commitment to a career in higher education; a greater commitment to their institution; higher faculty retention rates; more effective teaching and service; more successful scholarship; heightened engagement in the department, and institution; higher rates of success in tenure and promotion; and higher rates of job and career satisfaction. (On Being a Mentor, p. 141). Moreover, mentoring is not just for tenure-track faculty: it is vital to the continued success and identity of mid-career faculty and fully promoted faculty. As we grow, we do not outgrow our need for mentoring, community, and the opportunity to question and explore new areas of our fields, our profession, and our place in them. And critically, every member of the academic community is equally important and deserving of every opportunity to thrive, contribute, and develop a sense of belonging in their work and on campus. In short, mentoring matters, and to that end, CETL sponsors a number of programs designed to support:

  • The Quest for Tenure and Promotion
  • Success After Tenure
  • Senior Faculty Engagement
  • Adjunct, Clinical, and Instructor Success
  • Well-being
  • Mentoring Across Differences

Meaningful mentoring doesn’t just happen; it has to be developed and nurtured with intentionality and care. This is where CETL comes in. With 20 years of experience designing, developing, and leading faculty development centers and mentoring programs, Dr. Smentkowski has the resources, materials, and experience to help individuals, departments, and institutions transform mentoring practices in ways that positively affect all parties involved.

In collaboration with the Vice Provost for Faculty, the Center will be sponsoring Faculty Learning Communities dedicated to, and using (among others) the books in 2022-23:

  • Adjunct Faculty Voices
  • Shaping Your Career: A Guide for Early Career Faculty
  • Modeling Mentoring Across Race/Ethnicity and Gender
  • Success After Tenure
  • On Being a Mentor
  • Powerful Learning Communities

Mentoring at the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility

While it ideal for faculty to have a “go-to” mentor who is relatable and reliable along multiple dimensions, it is increasingly common and beneficial for faculty to have multiple mentors. These relationships are sometimes referred to “mentoring constellations” and are defined by mentors who provide support in specific areas. For example, a faculty member may have an outstanding mentor for research but may also desire a teaching mentor. While balancing these roles and ascending in rank, said faculty member may also desire a mentor who can provide emotional support, another who knows policies and procedures inside-out and backwards, and still others who can relate to identity issues, broadly defined. And while it is important for chairpersons to reach out to newer faculty, it is equally important for faculty to think clearly about their mentoring needs. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity has created a “Mentoring Map" (pdf) to help faculty do just that. This easy-to-use template will help you identify the areas where you may need or desire different kinds of mentors and mentoring, and is, of course, adaptable to your own personal and professional identity and aspirations.

The UI Mentor-Match Program

The University of Idaho and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) are committed to the success of our faculty in all aspects of their careers and at all career stages. In furtherance of this, we have established a UI Mentor-Match Program that identifies potential mentors and mentees and facilitates the creation of successful mentoring relationships within and across academic disciplines.

The UI Mentor-Match Program is intentionally transdisciplinary. Instead of focusing exclusively on junior-senior faculty pairings within departments, it brings people together according to scholarly, pedagogical, career, and identity-sensitive interests, aspirations, and accomplishments. These relationships address the specific needs and interests of the faculty while providing a safe place for experiences, ideas, and opportunities to be discussed freely.


We are also pleased to provide the University of Idaho with specialized expertise and experience in mentoring within and across disciplines and differences. Please contact our CETL Director, Brian Smentkowski, to learn more. We can help your department and college better understand and apply new, evidence-based mentoring models in any number of formats that work best for you: one-on-one consultations, chairperson communities of practices, faculty learning communities –whatever works for you.


CETL has numerous resources on-hand to enrich your mentoring knowledge and practice. Here we share a few just-in-time solutions:



  • Huston, Therese, and Carol L. Weaver. 2008. Peer Coaching: Professional Development for Experienced Faculty. Innovative Higher Education 33 (1): 5–20.
  • Lobban‐Viravong, Heather, and Mark Schneider. 2018. A Minimalist Model of New Faculty Mentoring: Why Asking for Less Gives More. To Improve the Academy 37 (2): 228–42.
  • Lois J. Zachary. 2011. The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationship. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
    • See also the companion piece: The Mentee’s Guide.
  • Phillips, Susan L, and Susan T. Dennison. 2015. Faculty Mentoring: A Practical Manual for Mentors, Mentees, Administrators, and Faculty Developers. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  • Robison, Susan, and Christine R. Gray. 2017. Agents of Transformational Change: Coaching Skills for Academic Leaders. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 28 (4): 5–28.
  • Smith, Emily R., Patricia E. Calderwood, Faith A. Dohm, and Paula Gill Lopez. 2013. Reconceptualizing Faculty Mentoring within a Community of Practice Model. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 21 (2): 175–94.
  • Felten, Peter, H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Aaron Kheriaty, and Edward Taylor. 2013. Transformative Conversations : A Guide to Mentoring Communities among Colleagues in Higher Education. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.