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Leading a Mentoring Culture

About Leading a Mentoring Culture

Formal mentoring programs enhance faculty recruitment and retention and strengthen a faculty member’s relationship with the department and its missions (1-3). Academic leaders, in particular, play a pivotal role in the direct and indirect mentorship of faculty. This program will seek to provide academic leaders with evidence-based skills and approaches to mentoring and retaining faculty. Establishing a formalized faculty mentoring approach is essential given the rapidly changing landscape of higher education and the ever-increasing pressures on faculty. This program will engage academic leaders in building a new or leveraging a current unit mentoring program. 

Leading a Mentoring Culture has been developed to support academic leaders who seek to grow as mentors and ultimately create/improve and implement a formal mentoring plan and foster faculty engagement in the program.

This program includes:

  • Creation (or improvement) of a formal mentoring plan across ranks and titles;
  • Recurring monthly 2-hr sessions January to June 2023;
  • A scenario-based curriculum that aligns with the mentoring challenges faced by academic leaders;
  • Concise pre-work and follow-up assignments to support the design and implementation of a formal mentoring plan;
  • Networking and opportunities for confidential dialogue with other academic leaders selected to maximize representation of disciplines and a diversity of years of experience; and
  • A professional development bursary of $3000, which may be used by the participant for either their own professional development activities or provided to one or more of their faculty for professional development expenses. Bursary award contingent upon engaged completion of all the sessions and associated assignments

Academic leaders accepted into this program commit to:

  • Prepare for and participate in 6 facilitated, interactive, sessions (11-1 p.m. 1st Thursday of each month January to June 2023). The initial meeting will be in-person (with lunch provided); subsequent sessions will be done via Zoom (Assignments to include 30 to 60 minutes of time per month, block time on your calendar now).
  • Develop self-awareness of evidence-based mentorship competencies for mentoring faculty.
  • Design (or improve an existing) formal mentoring plan, inclusive of identifying ways to encourage engagement among faculty.
  • Participate in a follow-up interview 12 months after completion.


The Leading a Mentoring Culture program is intended for academic leaders (e.g., department heads, associate department heads, program chairs) who have responsibility for faculty mentoring, faculty affairs, or contribute to the mentoring of academics across all ranks and classifications. To be eligible applicants must commit to attend and participate in all the sessions. This Leading a Mentoring Culture program will be held monthly in January to June 2023 with one in-person meeting on January 5, 2023, 11-1 p.m., followed by subsequent meetings held via Zoom. This experience requires 2-3 hours of contact time per month (sessions, one-on-one meetings with facilitators; group work within cohort), as well as time for individual reflection necessary to complete pre-session and follow-up assignments.


  • Michael Johnson, Ph.D., Interim Associate Provost for Faculty Success, Interim Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Professor, Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution, College of Engineering
  • Heather Lench, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts
  • Clint Patterson, Ed.D., Instructional Consultant, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Heather Wilkinson, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Selection Process

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. December 5, 2022. The application requirements included general information and a short description of how participation in the opportunity would be meaningful for you and others in the cohort.

Important Dates

  • Application Opens: November 7, 2022
  • ​Application due: December 5, 2022
  • Cohort Members Announced: December 19, 2022
  • Session 1: January 5, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m. (in person; ILCB 315)
  • Session 2: February 2, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m.
  • Session 3: March 2, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m.
  • Session 4: April 6, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m.
  • Session 5: May 4, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m.
  • Session 6: June 1, 2023, 11 - 1 p.m.
  • Follow-up interview: Late Spring/Early Summer 2024



References Cited 

  1. Bland, C.J., Taylor, A.L., Shollen, S.L., Weber-Main, A.M., & Mulcahy, P.A. (2009). Faculty success through mentoring: A guide for mentors, mentees, and leaders. Lanham, MD: R&L Education
  2. Fountain, J. & Newcomer, K.E. (2016). Developing and sustaining effective faculty mentoring programs. Journal of Public Affairs Education. 22(4), pp. 483-506.
  3. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). The science of effective mentorship in STEMM. The National Academies Press.