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Faculty Mentorship

Mentoring is defined as “a dynamic process of providing guidance and counseling for mentees at all states in their academic careers,” built on a reciprocal commitment of both mentor and mentee with the assistance of their Department Chair.

Mission, Principles, and Values

The School of Nursing is committed to the recruitment and retention of an excellent and diverse faculty. Penn Nursing provides mentorship for members of the faculty at all levels of their academic career and aims to address goal setting and attainment, teaching, research productivity, clinical responsibilities and publications. It ensures that all faculty members have a full understanding of the School’s mission, strategic plan, and significant policies and procedures, particularly those for reappointment and promotion. It aids with access to resources, priority setting, professional and organizational leadership, networking, advising students and personal career issues.

The faculty mentorship program includes:

  1. Mentor/mentee component
  2. Collaborative mentorship team component
  3. Department chair leadership
  4. Senior faculty member facilitator who works with all faculty members in the mentoring program

Penn Nursing is committed to:

  • Mentorship as a top priority
  • Providing needed resources to maintain the mentorship program
  • Implementing, monitoring, and conducting regular evaluations of the mentorship program
  • Developing a reward system for mentors including offering awards for mentorship, considering mentorship as a criteria for merit recognition and advancement, and celebrating mentoring
  • Providing information on career advancement and promotion through various media
  • Providing web-based mentoring resources.

Definition of Mentorship

Mentorship is a dynamic process of providing guidance and counseling for mentees at all stages in their academic careers. Mentorship requires building a mutually rewarding relationship, proactive participation in the different aspects of the mentee’s academic and professional life, assessment of short-term as well as long-term goals, and continuous evaluation and reevaluation of goals and achievements. The mentor – mentee relationship is predicated on a reciprocal commitment. In the School of Nursing, the mentorship program helps the mentee to establish an agenda for working toward her/his professional development goals and provides the necessary support to achieve his/her goals and gain insight into the realities of building an academic career.

I. Individual Mentorship Program

The formal individual mentorship program includes: 1) a mentor/mentee component, 2) a collaborative mentorship team component, 3) department chair leadership, and 4) a senior faculty member facilitator who works with all faculty members in the mentoring program. The plan and expectations for each role are outlined below.

Mentor/Mentee Component

A mentor/mentee match is made by the Department Chair in collaboration with the facilitator with support from the Office of Faculty Affairs. Senior faculty will be invited to serve as mentors and participate in the mentorship program. It is understood that all assistant professors, as well as all newly appointed faculty at any rank, will have a mentor and mentoring team as desired. In addition, any other faculty wishing to have a mentor or mentoring team may make this request of the Department Chair. As the goal of the mentorship program is career and professional development, mentorship will be provided for as long as the mentee desires. At minimum, junior faculty will receive mentorship until they are promoted to associate professor. It is expected, therefore, that faculty will take advantage of the program until such time as they no longer find it necessary. The process includes identification of mentees, recommendation of the match, dialogue with mentor and mentee re: agreement with the recommended match, an official letter to the mentor/mentee from the Dean based on notification by the Department Chair,, an orientation event for mentors/mentees, meetings held regularly throughout the year between the mentor and mentee, and meetings with the collaborative mentorship team at least once annually. Appointment of a primary mentor from among the School’s faculty does not preclude the mentee from having one or more additional mentors either inside or outside the School of Nursing.

Collaborative Mentorship Team Component

A collaborative mentorship team will be established to enhance and support the mentor/mentee relationship. The members of this team will include, at a minimum, the respective Department Chair, one or more senior faculty members as deemed needed by the mentee, the mentee and his/her primary mentor. A faculty member from another school of nursing or another school at Penn may be included. The selection and invitation of additional mentors will be done by the mentee. The Department Chair will convene each collaborative mentorship team meeting. The collaborative team will meet at least once per year to review the progress of individual faculty members and to establish a plan of action for the coming year. Additional roles and responsibilities for this group may arise from their meetings. A record of the meeting shall be made by the mentee and distributed to all members. Issues arising during the year that require broader input shall be addressed by the collaborative mentorship team through email distribution lists maintained by the Department Manager or designee.

Responsibilities of the Department Chair

The faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing comprise two departments, Family and Community Health and Biobehavioral Health Sciences. The Department Chair plays an important role in the success of the mentoring relationship.

The Department Chair meets with new and junior faculty members upon their appointment to Penn. In this meeting, the Department Chair and the new faculty member will establish the new faculty member’s teaching responsibilities and set goals for their research and practice/service activities during the year.

They then meet at least once per semester to review progress and identify and resolve issues. This meeting may or may not be designated to include the mentor. In addition, this meeting may or may not be the same as the collaborative mentorship team meeting and may also serve as the end of year performance appraisal meeting. At the end of year performance appraisal meeting, the faculty member provides the Department Chair with a written report of her/his success in meeting the goals established at the start of the year. Based on their meetings and the mentee’s records from the collaborative mentorship team, the Department Chair will provide an overall progress report on each new and junior faculty member to the Dean and the Dean’s Advisory Group (DAG) at the end of the year. The purpose of this report is to identify additional resources and strategies that will enhance the potential for each mentee’s success. This annual process of review is repeated in subsequent years until the faculty member is promoted or receives tenure as appropriate to the individual’s initial appointment.

Role of the Department Chair

  • In collaboration with the facilitator, holds overall responsibility for the success of the mentoring program including formal mentor and mentee development training programs.
  • Ensures that the mentorship program is implemented and, with the facilitator and the Dean, conducts periodic evaluation of the success of the program.
  • Meets with faculty upon appointment and prior to the start of each subsequent year to identify their teaching responsibilities and set goals for the year. Meets new and junior faculty at least once per semester to assess their progress and to identify and resolve issues. These meetings may or may not be designated to include the mentor. In addition, they may or may not be the same as the collaborative mentorship team and may also serve as the end of year performance appraisal meeting.
  • Meets with all Department faculty at the end of the year to conduct an end-of-year performance appraisal.
  • Works with the other Department Chair and the facilitator to identify faculty to serve as mentors, identify faculty needing mentors, and match mentors and mentees.
  • Convenes each mentorship collaborative team meeting in order to evaluate the plan for mentees, review progress, and ensure that the mentor/mentee relationship is successful.
  • Ensures that mentors are rewarded for their mentorship.
  • Reports on the progress of new and junior faculty to the Dean and DAG at appropriate points during the year.
  • Ensures that the names of the mentor and collaborative team members are kept in the faculty member’s file in the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Role of the Faculty Mentor

  • Participates in mentorship activities, such as orientation, training programs and evaluation.
  • Reaches out to mentees to insure the development and maintenance of relationships.
  • Makes time for, initiates, and holds meetings with the mentee at least twice per semester.
  • Provides opportunities for discussion and reflection on careers and the mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Reviews specific short- and long-term goals with the mentee and monitors progress toward these goals.
  • Provides guidance, information, and feedback relative to research productivity, clinical responsibilities, publication progress, teaching effectiveness, and the School’s mission and strategic plan as well as significant policies and procedures, particularly those for reappointment and promotion. The mentor will help with developing professional and organizational leadership skills, goal setting, access to resources, advising students and personal career issues.
  • Acts as an advocate for the mentee by connecting him/her with an appropriate local and national network of colleagues and resources.
  • Helps mentee to set priorities, manage time, and make wise choices among options and opportunities.
  • Offers guidance on when and how to say “no.”
  • Provides counsel and strategies for working within a team framework.
  • Works with the collaborative mentorship team, meeting with them annually or as needed.
  • Establishes the agendas for the mentorship collaborative team meetings together with the mentee.
  • Leads the collaborative mentorship team meetings.
  • Reviews progress and helps facilitate the mentee’s success in meeting the established and agreed upon goals.
  • Works closely with Department Chair by noting mentor-mentee contacts quarterly and at the end-of-year, addressing issues as they arise, and changing the mentor/mentee meeting arrangements if appropriate.
  • Acts as a cheerleader when needed.
  • Maintains strict confidentiality.

Role of Faculty Mentee

  • Takes full responsibility for her/his career.
  • Participates in mentorship activities, such as orientation, training programs and evaluation.
  • Reaches out to the mentor and insures the development and maintenance of their relationship.
  • Remains open to the need for mentorship in certain areas.
  • Sets short- and long-term goals and provides mentor with progress report.
  • Makes time for, initiates, and holds regular meetings with the mentor.
  • Meets with the Department Chair at least once per semester to review progress and to resolve issues. This meeting may or may not be the same as the collaborative mentorship team meeting and it may also serve as the end of year for the performance appraisal meeting.
  • Works with the mentor to establish the agendas for the collaborative mentorship team meetings.
  • Identifies and discusses perceived conflicting career advice with Department Chair and mentor.
  • Takes full responsibility for documentation of mentorship meetings and distributes documentation to all attendees.
  • Makes her/him self familiar with School of Nursing and University criteria, policies, and procedures regarding faculty reappointments, promotions, and tenure.
  • Makes her/him self familiar with the School of Nursing’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Continues to increase the knowledge base in her/his research or clinical area.
  • Strives for academic excellence in their respective field of expertise and gives documented evidence of productivity, particularly in the area of scholarship and teaching.
  • Maintains strict confidentiality.

Mentorship Trajectory

Pre-appointment—Appointment - Reappointment: Department Chairs, in consultation with the Associate Deans, will promote a balance of workload (e.g., teaching, scholarly activities, advising, and committee assignments), and plans for supporting the successful development of the new appointee in keeping with the needs of the School. Identification and matching of mentors with mentees will be discussed by the Department Chairs and facilitator. On appointment, new faculty members are expected to attend a comprehensive faculty orientation program. Immediately following the initial appointment, the Department Chair will meet and review with the faculty member the materials in the faculty handbook pertaining to scholarly progression, along with the dates for mandatory review of appointment and reappointment with promotion. Matters of scholarship, publication, teaching excellence, evidence of peer-reviewed program of research, and other activities related to the School’s mission and strategic plan will be discussed. The appointment dates as stated in the Provost’s Staff Conference Minutes will be reviewed and highlighted. These dates should be used in all written feedback provided by the Department Chair to the faculty member. At this initial meeting, the Department Chair will discuss workload (e.g., teaching, advising, committees, etc.) and plans for building a program of research. The faculty member and mentor(s) will meet on a regular basis to insure progress. The collaborative mentorship team as identified above will meet at least once annually. The faculty member and Department Chair will meet at least once per semester to discuss progress. One of these meetings may be the end-of-year performance appraisal meeting.Department chairs should keep their own files as a record which they may share as they deem appropriate. In addition, the Department Chair will ensure that the names of the mentor and collaborative mentorship committee members are kept in the faculty member’s file in the Office of Faculty Affairs. All other documentation regarding the mentorship arrangement will be made and distributed by the mentee.

Mentorship Facilitator: A facilitator is identified and appointed by the Dean to aide in the mentorship program. The facilitator reports to the Dean and will work closely with the Department Chairs. The facilitator’s responsibilities include keeping the mentorship agenda at the forefront of the School’s activities, fostering interest in mentorship by recruiting and grooming mentors, assisting the Department Chairs in matching mentors with mentees, identifying University and School resources for mentors and mentees, reviewing the resource packets for mentors, participating in the development and provision of orientation and training for mentors, meeting with mentors and mentees as distinct groups, working with Department Chairs to assure balance in mentoring assignments, and, in conjunction with the Department Chairs, making recommendations for an evaluation system for the program.

Desired Outcomes: The desired outcomes for the mentorship program include: successful recruitment, reappointment, promotion, and retention of outstanding faculty; successful productivity of faculty; and mentor and mentee satisfaction in keeping with our strategic goals for a “healthy and learning” work environment. Another important outcome is the embodied engagement of faculty in a culture of mentorship that is valued and rewarded. Such rewards for mentoring will include a Dean’s Mentorship Award, awards at the Department level, inclusion of mentoring in the criteria for promotion and merit increases, and showcasing mentors in faculty publications.

II. School-wide Group Mentorship Program

In addition to the formal mentorship program as described above, the School also provides all members of the faculty the following support and opportunities:

  • An in-depth orientation process for new faculty with support from the departments/epartment chairs and the Office of Faculty Affairs.
  • Extensive support to all faculty in the grant proposal process from the Office of Nursing Research, such as:
  • identifying grant funding sources;
  • training in the completion of grant proposals;
  • assisting in the development of grant applications through budget preparation, IRB processing guidance, statistical support, editing/consultation for grants; and by facilitating grant proposal reviews by faculty/peers;
  • offering pre-award proposal management;
  • giving compliance assistance;
  • making available initial set up for awards;
  • providing small amounts of seed money to foster faculty research and special projects;
  • showcasing scientific accomplishments of faculty;
  • holding weekly research seminars that provide faculty an opportunity to present their research to the School or to receive training in specialized areas of research;
  • sponsoring research consultation on emerging areas of inquiry;
  • arranging for special speakers and visiting scholars;
  • promoting student-faculty research mentorship.
  • Ongoing mentorship in all aspects and phases of the research process and in reviewing grant applications from inception to completion by the School’s Research Centers. These Centers also provide support for the scholarship development of faculty.
  • The opportunity for networking within the departments, information sharing, and dialogue about issues and concerns by thedepartment structure.
  • Visiting scholar and consultant appointments that offer seminars and one-on-one counseling expertise in such areas as mentoring, applying for funding (e.g., NIH, NINR), interdisciplinary research, etc.
  • Regular lectures and seminars in diversity and global health by world renowned experts.
  • Support through the Office of Faculty Affairs in the appointment, reappointment, and promotion process.
  • Presentations by the Personnel Committee at least once annually re: successful negotiation of the reappointment and promotion process.
  • Excellence in Teaching seminars on such topics as identifying learning strategies and working with students and faculty from various age groups, e.g., Baby Boomer faculty and “Gen X and “Millenial” students, and in identifying strategies for formative versus summative evaluation.
  • Regular meetings with the Dean and the faculty within their peer groups (rank) to foster dialogue and intellectual discourse.
  • Retreats held every other year to identify and provide faculty-wide discussion and planning for future initiatives.
  • Leadership opportunities through service on committees and special taskforce groups.