Early in the academic career, it is important for junior faculty to identify, understand, and learn to meet the expectations of their profession if they are to achieve success. To help facilitate the LEADER Consortium has assisted in the creation of the Functional Mentoring Network which is designed to meet the varied needs of junior faculty as they establish their careers and seek promotion tenure success.
Mentoring relationship are typically thought to be as long-term and deeply involving, however short-term mentoring can be more focused and equally effective toward meeting professional development needs. Even more important is that individuals who seek mentoring vary in relation to their need and goals.
Some seek out mentors for general support in relation to successfully navigating the norms, the expectations of their academic program, or how to achieve a balance between work and life. Others seek advice for specific professional goals such as identifying and applying for funding or successfully publishing in a particular venue.
In relation to the Functional Mentoring Network, the model is built specifically to address the idea that one size doesn’t fit all. To facilitate the idea, matching mentors to mentees on the basis of interests and expertise along with the type of relationship they are seeking.
At the beginning of the partnership it is important to first introduce yourself to each other, providing information that encompasses the reason for the joining the program, how long you’ve been in your current position and at the institution, any academic and career information plus the projects and/or research your currently involved in. This provides a starting point and a basis for the relationship to move forward.
For a successful program it is important to accomplish a few necessary steps. The first being to set expectations, let each other know what is expected out of the relationship being built, what is hoped for. Next, be sure to establish the limits of the relationship and any confidentiality issues that should be addressed, leading to the next concern, how communication will flow. Will it be through e-mails, phone conversations, or in-person? Ensuring that contact happens on a regular basis ensures that both individuals are on the same page. The most important aspect is to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the agreed upon arrangement.
A vital part to the program is participation, not only in the interaction between mentor and mentee, but also in evaluating the program so that LEADER can continue to improve the program to ensure it is beneficial to all involved and future members.
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If you are interested in becoming a mentor to provide your expertise in support of women in STEM fields around the consortium, the next step is to provide some information about who you are, your areas of expertise, and your interests in providing various forms of mentoring support. We will use this information to match you to a mentee who might benefit the most from your knowledge, experience, and support.
If you are interested in finding a potential mentor, the first step is to provide some information about who you are and your interests in finding a mentor. We will use this information to match you to a mentor who might best meet your needs.
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The LEADER Consortium is funded by an ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award from the National Science Foundation Award #0810989).