Faculty Affairs

CAS Mentoring Network

About Mentoring 

As a junior member of the faculty, you were hired because of your performance and promise as a teacher and a scholar. The College of Arts & Sciences has a strong interest in seeing that you realize your full potential as a tenured member of our faculty. We want to do whatever it takes to retain and advance our new faculty members, both in their own interest as well as in that of the college community. Like others, our College has its own culture, a system with distinct structural features, role relations, informal system dynamics and environmental stresses and strains. You should not be left to discover this culture and navigate in it all by yourself.

Rather than expecting you to achieve excellence in teaching, research and service entirely on your own, we have established a mentoring program. Research suggests that new faculty who have the help of a mentor perform better both as teachers and as researchers. But we benefit, too. After all, mentoring is the socialization of faculty members learning the rules of academia, involving colleagues who are role models, consultants, advisers and sponsors for their peers.

Thus, as collegiality is practiced and productivity promoted, as the education and training you bring with you are enhanced by nurturing, the College community is enriched and strengthened.

Perhaps the ideal type of a mentoring relationship is one which happens by chance. However, you cannot count on stumbling into one of these. Therefore, while we encourage spontaneous mentoring relationships, the College of Arts & Sciences also provides two more formal modes of mentoring to ensure that all faculty members have the opportunity to receive the assistance they need. Every junior (i.e., tenure-earning) faculty member in the College will be assigned a Department Mentor. In addition, he or she will also have the opportunity to be matched with a College Mentor, on a voluntary basis.

The Department Mentor

As a junior faculty member, you have an obligation to keep yourself informed in regard to the requirements for tenure and promotion and your progress toward meeting those requirements. The person responsible for providing you with that information is the Chairperson of your Department. You will receive mentoring on these matters either directly from your Chair or from a mentor appointed by your Chair.

The Department Mentor will also provide guidance and advice concerning the procedures and priorities of your Department and your discipline, in order to help you be successful as a scholar, teacher and colleague. If you have questions about this process, please consult with your Department Chairperson.

The College Mentor

The College Mentor, on the other hand, will serve as a colleague-friend with whom you can discuss your career and your concerns in confidence. You could also turn to your Department Mentor for this kind of advice, but there may be times when you are reluctant to discuss problems in your teaching or research for fear that what you say will end up as part of the evaluative process used for tenure and promotion. Being from outside your Department, the College Mentor can provide an additional helpful perspective on life within our College and University.

The Mentoring Program is aware of the history of racism and sexism in academia, and is committed to principles and practices of equity. While the benefits from a mentoring relationship for the mentee have always been apparent, we are becoming more aware that advantages for the mentor can be considerable as well. By CARING through demonstrated behaviors, actions and characteristics, by guiding, encouraging, fostering, supporting and befriending a junior colleague, the senior faculty member often experiences professional and personal growth and renewal.

Program Activities

Supplementing the individual mentoring relationships are various activities in which mentees in groups as well as together with mentors socialize, exchange information, meet with administrators, and receive training. Please, sign up for picnics, tenure- or grant-writing workshops and other events when your invitations arrive.

What Mentees Do

  • Make sure that contacts (preferably through meetings) are maintained on a regular basis, such as once a month
  • Ask the mentor for guidance and assistance whenever this is needed (see under: What Mentors Do)
  • Let the mentor and the Program Coordinator know when a mentoring relationship needs to be modified, amplified, diminished or terminated.
  • Participate in as many program functions as possible.

What Mentors Do

  • Make sure that contacts (preferably through meetings) are maintained on a regular basis, such as once a month;
  • Try to be compassionate, caring and mindful that these are tough times for junior faculty members ("You can't learn from tenured arrogance.");
  • Help the mentee make the transition to the Tampa Bay area;
  • Introduce the mentee to the larger academic community and its culture;
  • Advise the mentee on how to deal with the pressures and crises of professional life;
  • Suggest strategies for effective teaching; Propose effective ways of interacting with students and colleagues;
  • Read and critique research proposals and papers; Advise on submission of papers for publication;
  • Encourage the submission of papers for presentation at professional conferences;
  • Advise on tenure and promotion requirements and processes;
  • Advise on time allocation for research, teaching and service;
  • Provide advice on University and College policies;
  • Refer the mentee to other mentoring resources when needed;
  • Let the mentee and the Program Coordinator know when a relationship needs to be modified, amplified, diminished or terminated;

Program Coordination

Please, contact the Coordinator with your initial request for a mentor or mentee, as well as later questions, requests, and suggestions!

The Program Coordinator is:

Tangela Serls, PhD