Scroll back to the top

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 research-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 December 2021 to June 2022;
  • 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 7 facilitated, interactive, sessions (12-2 p.m. 2nd Tuesday of each month). 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.
  • Respond to a survey with both scale based and free response questions to assist us in assessing the effectiveness of the program and the potential efficacy of this approach in higher education.
  • 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 December 2021 to June 2022 with one in-person meeting on December 14, 2021, 12-2 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.


  • Robin Autenrieth, Ph.D., Department Head and Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, A.P. and Florence Wiley Professor III, College of Engineering
  • Adam Barry, Ph.D., Interim Department Head and Professor Health and Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development
  • Mary Bryk, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Michael Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Inclusion & Faculty Success and Professor, Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution, College of Engineering
  • Heather Lench, Ph.D., Department Head 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., Senior Associate Dean of Faculties and Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Selection Process

The deadline for applications was 5 p.m. November 17, 2021. 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: October 21, 2021
  • ​Application due: November 17, 2021
  • Cohort Members Announced: November 19, 2021
  • Session 1: December 14, 2021, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 2: January 11, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 3: February 8, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 4: March 8, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 5: April 12, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 6: May 10, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Session 7: June 14, 2022, 12 - 2 p.m.
  • Follow-up interview: Late Spring/Early Summer 2023


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.