The members of the 2016–17 FLC cohort and the WiSEM team developed the Mentoring Handbook for Faculty and Department Chairs with the goal of encouraging and facilitating its consistent, transparent, and supportive incorporation and implementation. The handbook provides both faculty and chairs with a uniform reference and resource. This formalization of the mentoring process is intended to ensure that all new faculty will be mentored, to improve the likelihood that departments will meet the needs of all faculty, and to send the message that mentoring is an expected part of academic life (Perna, Lerner, and Yura, 1995; Darwin, 2000; Lumpkin, 2011).
The 2015–16 cohort of the FLC developed and implemented a comprehensive faculty mentoring survey to identify the mentoring policies, practices, and programs that exist across Rutgers–New Brunswick campuses —within departments, within schools, and universitywide. Chairs and faculty members of all ranks from a variety of disciplines across the New Brunswick campuses participated in the survey.
Respondents to the Mentoring Survey for Faculty and Chairs confirmed the importance of mentoring for professional success. At the same time, however, most faculty and chairs also recognized the need for better mentoring practices and resources.
To address these concerns, the members of the 2015–16 FLC developed A Formal Faculty Mentoring Framework, which emphasized the following concepts and practices:
- Mentoring is important for the professional development of all faculty.
- Departmental chairs/program directors are responsible for assigning all incoming faculty—junior and senior—to a mentor or mentoring committee.
- Mentors and chairs are responsible for facilitating mentees' professional development by
- Providing information, advice, encouragement, direction, and assistance;
- Creating connections to other mentors, colleagues, and professional networks; and
- Actively elevating mentees’ visibility and increasing access to higher career levels.
The survey findings indicated that a first step toward improving faculty mentoring at Rutgers University–New Brunswick would be to identify and share best practices, guidelines, and tools for establishing and fostering formal mentoring.
This year's FLC is a multidisciplinary group of 12 female faculty in mid to advanced career levels engaging in a yearlong program of collaborative activities and research to develop a final deliverable related to this year’s topic, "Leadership and Professional Development for Faculty in STEM - Developing an Advanced Program."
Our first FLC in AY 2013 - 2014 was a "topic-based” FLC and the topic was “Advancing Academic Women in Science Disciplines at Rutgers.”
The goal of this FLC, based on the Women and Health Initiative, was to discuss faculty collaborations between basic and applied disciplines in the New Rutgers. Over seven meetings during the academic year, these faculty members converged on the same ideas as the Rutgers Strategic Plan, namely that Building Faculty Excellence is an important step for the emergence of the New Rutgers as an academic powerhouse. Their two areas of focus were Mentoring for Faculty and Diverse Hiring Practices. Specifically, they identified the following three main areas of need for the career advancement and collaborations for junior and senior faculty:
- Career Advancement: Professional development resources and opportunities, seed funds, mentoring programs and networking events for development and excellence in scholarship and leadership
- Policy: Establishment of university-wide policies for faculty recruitment and retention, especially faculty who contribute to our University’s diverse workforce. For example, institutions with family-friendly policies attract a wider range of candidates who would not be able to relocate here without them (e.g., dual-career program/policy)
- Best Practices: Resources for the university-wide implementation of policies through best practices and programs for recruitment, retention and advancement of faculty and executive leaders.
Taking advantage of the universities' call for proposal for ideas for the University Strategic Plan, the FLC submitted a proposal on April 15th, 2014 that supports the universities' priority to Build Faculty Excellence. They proposed a university-wide Office for Faculty Excellence that would:
- support recruitment, retention and advancement of faculty, and provide a sense of community and centrality in the New Rutgers, which spans wide areas of expertise and geography;
- provide programs for faculty mentoring and leadership development; and
- be the institutional hub for policies and best practices for faculty development and diversity in all ranks and in academic leadership.