Top12 Appendix: Mentoring Resources
Planning for and Defining a Mentoring Relationship
New Mentees

It is important to spend some time thinking about what you want out of your mentoring relationship(s). Since mentoring in this program involves perfect strangers, the most successful relationships happen when partners have thought through their definition of mentoring, and their own preferences and parameters for their relationships.

Once you have defined for yourself what mentoring means (see worksheets attached), confer with your Mentoring Partners to see whether they share your view of mentoring. Having this initial discussion with your Mentoring Team will help to avoid potential problems.

In the past, the problems that have surfaced in some of the established mentoring relationships are:

Miscommunication: Mentees have been hesitant to "bother" their mentors with "silly questions" when they are obviously such busy people. Conversely, Mentors who were not being asked for help did not want to interfere in their Mentee's life by seeming pushy and thus did not contact their Mentees without express invitation. In certain cases, this concern for the mentoring partner's freedom, time and independence lessened the impact and usefulness of the mentoring relationship for new women faculty. It is important for you to be pro-active in your relationship with your mentors so that you get what you need. Your mentors cannot begin to help if they do not know what your questions and concerns are.
Expectations: Mentees' expectations for their partners can be unrealistic. One or two Mentors cannot be the only resource on every topic. Mentors should be able to admit that they do not have expertise in a particular area, but should then look for other people who might be appropriate resources on that topic.
Realities: Remember that we are putting complete strangers into a mentoring team. This is a somewhat artificial way of establishing mentoring relationships, and means that, through no fault of the Mentee or the Mentors, some relationships may not gel. This possibility is much less likely if you begin your mentoring relationships with a frank and honest discussion about what you want and need, and have the Mentors speak frankly about how they see the role of Mentor.

Important: as a new faculty member, you need to look for several mentors so that you get all relevant information and guidance that you need.

One--even two--mentors are not enough!

The following pages are designed to help you think through your relationship with your Mentors and mentoring teams.

Who I am and how that will affect how I work with my Mentoring Team
  1. Do I feel comfortable asking for advice and accepting criticism? In what contexts, if any?
  2. How often and under what circumstances would I like to meet my mentoring team, communicate with my mentors?
  3. Do I want to share everything with my mentors and mentoring peers or be selective about what I discuss with those people? What kinds of things do I want to share? What kinds of things seem best not to share?
  4. Am I comfortable sharing personal reflections with others, or do I prefer to maintain a purely professional relationship?
Planning your mentoring Relationships*

This worksheet is designed to help you plan your relationships and guide your first meeting with your mentors and mentoring team. Please add your own items whenever you do not find them listed.

  1. A mentor might be defined as
    1. a guide, trusted counselor
    2. an advocate
    3. a friend
    4. a sympathetic ear
    5. a resource for information
    6. other?

    Ideally, which of these roles do I see my mentors playing for the next 18 months?



    What do I see as the most useful role my peers in the mentoring team can play?



  2. What types of issues do I want to discuss with my mentors and mentoring team? (Rank the topics from most important [1] to least important [10])
    [    ]
    Feedback on my teaching
    [    ]
    Feedback on my research agenda
    [    ]
    Assistance in developing a coherent service agenda
    [    ]
    Guidance in setting pre-tenure goals and preparing my tenure packet
    [    ]
    Assistance in developing networks on campus or nationally
    [    ]
    Balancing family obligations and my career
    [    ]
    Managing my time
    [    ]
    Handling conflict (in the classroom, with colleagues)
    [    ]
    Dealing with departmental politics
    [    ]
  3. What kinds of activities would I like to engage in with my mentors or mentoring team members?
    [    ]
    Go to formal mentoring events
    [    ]
    Meet over coffee, lunch or dinner
    [    ]
    Go to educational events (lectures, talks, discussions etc)
    [    ]
    Engage in non-academic activities (hiking, art museums, movies)
    [    ]
  4. What kinds of things are off-limits in our mentoring relationship?
    [    ]
    Going to restaurants to meet
    [    ]
    Using non-public places to meet
    [    ]
    Sharing private aspects of our lives
    [    ]
  5. How much time can I spend with my mentors or mentoring team each week?
  6. How much time each month?

*Use these sheets for talking with your Mentoring Team about your Mentoring Agreement on DATE
Developed by Tine Reimers for the Faculty Mentoring Program for Women at the University of Texas at El Paso

November 15, 2007

Top12 Appendix: Mentoring Resources