Junior Faculty Mentorship Program
The Center for Teaching Excellence has created a mentoring program that is imbedded and integrated into all of the Center's many programs and activities. Successful mentoring programs throughout the country have used this approach to create programs that have existed for over 20 years. The CTE Mentorship Program described below is a living program that will both change and grow over time. It will not merely be a joining of a senior and junior faculty members but rather a collective effort on the part of all dedicated faculty to embrace new faculty members who will form the heart of the university in the next decade.
The purpose of the CTE Mentoring program is to offer new and junior faculty an integrated introduction to the rudiments of teaching, research, and service at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The CTE Mentoring program includes both one-on-one or group mentoring opportunities (the choice being that of the junior faculty member). Upon entering the program a typical junior faculty member meets with his or her mentor at least once a month. The program includes a mentor and junior faculty orientation held in the early fall. Upon entering the program a typical junior faculty member meets with his or her mentor at least once a month. The CTE provides monthly workshops specifically directed at junior faculty. Group lunches are also organized to bring together the junior faculty and their mentors. Brown bag lunches are offered to share specific questions and solutions regarding acclimating to life at Virginia Commonwealth University. The CTE Staff has developed a Junior Faculty Resource Guide (JFRG) that is available online. The resource guide provides a wealth of resources and information about how to be successful in the classroom and at VCU in general. A Faculty Expert Database (FED) is at the disposal of all mentors and junior faculty for expert help with specific instructional topics. Junior faculty members are given special consideration with respect to most of the CTE programs. Finally, a CTE Book Club will be organized around the discussion of an important piece of scholarship in the area of higher education. Each of these components of the junior faculty mentorship program are described in more detail below.
One on One Mentoring:
The CTE staff offers this option to all new and junior faculty. We have a list of volunteer mentors from which the junior faculty will be matched. We will match faculty within school if at all possible but not necessarily within department. Junior faculty members may request specific mentors based on their own needs / interests and the availability of the potential mentor.
The CTE has been doing group mentoring since 2001. We bring together groups of junior faculty and mentors to have lunch at the CTE and on the medical campus. They meet once a month to discuss the many issues that are on the minds of junior faculty. These meetings are often integrated with the topics that are presented in the special workshops for junior faculty (see list of workshops below).
Mentor and Junior Faculty Orientation:
A short orientation for all involved faculty is conducted by the CTE. The purpose of the orientation is to acquaint faculty with the goals of the program as well as practical advice on how to take advantage of the many activities.
Junior Faculty Workshops:
The CTE conducts a series of workshops for junior faculty independent from our standard workshops offered throughout the semester to the larger faculty body. These workshops specifically target junior faculty issues. The following is a list of monthly workshops that are typically offered throughout the academic year.
- Creating useful syllabi and writing instructional objectives
- Student engagement and active models of learning
- Testing and assessment
- Special issues and obstacles facing minority faculty at VCU
- Balancing teaching, research and service
- Obtaining external funding
- Knowing your school/department's tenure and promotion guidelines
- Creating a teaching portfolio with your mentor
- Group mentoring lunches:
These function to bring together the entire group of mentors and junior faculty to learn about one another and develop some networking contacts. Depending on the size of the initial class the lunches will be held on alternating campuses once each semester.
Brown bag lunch:
The CTE has been doing this for some time and seems to work best in the fall. On every alternating Friday we meet informally with a specific topic to start off the lunch. The opening topic does not limit what we will discuss as we do this to develop an open dialogue about teaching issues on a regular basis.
Junior Faculty Resource Guide
The Junior Faculty Resource Guide (JFRG) is available online in HTML and in PDF. It was inspired by the work of a faculty learning community on junior faculty development in 2005. It covers a wide array of issues including course preparation, teaching strategies, evaluating students, reflecting on one's teaching, handling difficult situations in the classroom, and the rest of faculty life--research and service.
Faculty Expert Database:
The CTE has a database of faculty experts in almost every conceivable teaching area. These faculty have volunteered to help others learn a specific technique or share their years of experience teaching from a particular style or perspective. Both junior faculty and mentors are encouraged to use this list as a resource during the year and future years.
Junior Faculty also receive special consideration when applying to the following CTE Programs
Historically, junior faculty have not received the same privileges that senior faculty have with respect to grant funding, teaching and technology support. This often leaves junior faculty feeling marginalized and sometimes unappreciated. Our mentorship program is designed specifically to give junior faculty the attention and support that they need to be successful from the moment they get here. As such, all of the junior faculty that participate in our mentorship program will receive special consideration in all of our programs. Below are just a few of the more popular programs:
CTE Book Club:
All junior faculty and mentors have the opportunity to participate in a reading and discussion of an important scholarship in the area of higher education. The CTE purchases the books for the faculty and organizes the timing of the meetings. This activity is also be open to other interested faculty.
Roles and Expectations within the CTE Mentoring Program:
All mentors are expected to attend the program orientation. All mentors will be expected to contact the junior faculty assigned to them early in September (multiple attempts to contact may be necessary). The mentors will be encouraged to meet with the junior faculty member at least once a month either for lunch, coffee or at one of the CTE functions. The mentors will be given a guide developed by the CTE to help them with information access. The interactions between the mentor and the junior faculty will be informal however regular meetings are critical to developing a fruitful relationship over time. The mentors are encouraged to attend as many of the CTE functions as possible but are not obliged to do so.
All junior faculty are expected to attend the program orientation. Junior faculty members will be expected to meet with their mentors on a monthly basis. These meetings will be informal and can occur either over lunch, coffee or at one of the CTE functions. The junior faculty are expected to attend as many of the CTE functions directed at the Mentoring Program as possible. We realize that time conflicts will prevent 100% attendance but we expect faculty to take full advantage of the program activities.
For more Information: Contact Zachary Goodell at email@example.com or call 827-0562