COE Mentor Leadership Seminar
October 20, 2017
8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Attendees: David Hough, Gilbert Brown, Denise Cunningham, James Meyer, James Satterfield, Cathy Pearman, Diana Piccolo, Mandy Benedict-Chambers, Kim Roam, Kim Finch, Bill Agnew, Paris DePaepe, Tami Arthaud, Steve Jones, David Goodwin, Sarah Nixon, Becky Swearingen, Becky Crowder
Dean Hough welcomed everyone and presented the agenda consisting of three activities: 1) develop a list of things mentors might do, 2) create a list of characteristics for effective mentors, and, 3) discuss a college Code of Ethics document.
Mentors worked in triads after individually listing things mentors might do with the faculty they mentor. The ideas were as follows:
- Is there a University Writing Center for Faculty
- Build a relationship of trust and respect
- Align Research, Teaching and Service and discuss with them
- Meet separately and have some group meetings with other mentors, mentees
- Group meetings could be for going over policies, learning Digital Measures, textbook ordering, etc.
- Meet regularly at first then as needed
- Have formal and inform meetings, know them formally and informally
- Review department P/T guidelines and answer any questions; give advice on notebooks
Explore the Springfield area with them; show them the campus:
- Take to restaurants/stores/places in Springfield and area
- Take to an MSU game
- Sit with them at meetings, events
- Attend commencement, recruitment events, conferences
- Introduce to other faculty/staff on campus
- Attend an SETL activity
- University/college policies/procedures/forms
- University academic calendar periodically
- Syllabus; discuss with/show them what needs to go in it
- Provost notebook and documentation notebooks, assist as needed and show examples
- Publishing guidelines
- COE website: committees, councils, where to find information
- Collaborate on article if subject is of interest and both agree
- Annual Review
- Funds available for research and writing
- Give advice on working with and advising students
- Be a second set of eyes to review papers
- Where to find information
- COE/University Policies (travel, request for funds, etc.)
- Research, Service and Teaching
- Time management, publisher deadlines, etc.
- Where they can go to find answers
- Would they like a peer observation
- You are there to give advice, when situations occur inform them of “chain of command”
- (create a list of topics for everyone)
As a group, it was suggested to look at the first year versus the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years. Ask faculty being mentored what needs they have and work with them. It may depend on previous positions they may have held, although universities do have different guidelines/policies. Let the mentee determine what is needed. Dean Hough added that things should not be mandated. He has been meeting with assistant professors and following are some of their suggestions:
- Mentors should be proactive, follow timelines, inform mentees what they should be doing
- Create a timeline for the first semester, what is important to know, be clear
- Find answers for them
- Explain policies
- Have a routine, but don’t mandate it
- Be flexible and assessable
- Be good listeners
- Discuss the culture of your department and the college
- Protocol: Tell them what it is, who to talk to, etc.
Comments from the group on the above:
- Are any of these topics discussed fully at the dean’s P/T meetings
- Help mentees lower any anxiety they may have
- If you aren’t sure of something, check with someone else in order to have correct information
The dean said some of the topics are covered in their meetings, but not in depth. They only meet for one hour each month and generally spend time forming relationships and sharing research agendas.
Groups were asked to individually write down characteristics of a mentor, discuss as a group and then have one person report to everyone. The following characteristics were reported:
- Good/active listener
- Be available, assessable, reliable
- Models professionalism/collegiality
- Invites mentee to join groups
- Love all, serve all
- Sense of humor
- Be a friend
- Dedicated to the betterment of the college and university
- Goal oriented
- Stay focused, open minded
- Assist as needed
- Don’t dictate
- Care about mentee and want them to be successful
- Willing to take the time needed
- Help mentee identify strengths and weaknesses and go from there
- Constructive feedback to mentee about their progress
- Tell the truth even if it is about the mentee and he/she does not want to hear it. Be honest in your appraisal. Let them know we want them to succeed.
- Inclusiveness; open and caring about them, accepting of their ideas, they are valued for who they are
- Effective communicator
- Honest, truthful
- Constructive feedback
- Challenge mentee to make progress
- Engaged at all levels
The major ideas from instructors and clinical faculty as reported by the dean were:
- Knowledgeable, find answers
- Integrity/helpful/know system/be civil
- Regarding informal vs. formal mentoring, they prefer informal
The group as a whole discussed that it can be hard for some to discuss that they are having a problem. Mentors need to be candid in conversations with mentees. Mentees would be better served receiving candid information “up front” rather than being led to believe an area of teaching, research, or service is adequate when it is not. One person captured this issue as “truth with compassion.” The dean stressed that we want mentees to be successful. Be honest and straightforward with evidence. Discuss what needs to be done. Sometimes personalities can cause problems. Some have problems with initiative. Give them options, find strengths and what would help them. It is not always what is said, but how it is said. Mentees need to know you are there for them. Personality vs. Professional. Always be professional when in meetings, in public and when with colleagues. A mentor needs to care about the university and be professional and caring.
A discussion also came up about possibly adding something to service in department P/T guidelines regarding are they attending meetings regularly at all levels. Doing what they say they are doing.
The dean reminded everyone that the department committees, department head and dean only make recommendations for promotion and/or tenure and that the Provost is the only one that makes the decision.
For the November meeting, the dean would like to discuss minimum requirements for department P/T guidelines for promotion/tenure application. He will share any FAC updates to the Code of Ethics document, as well. He asked the group to think about the role/responsibilities of mentees. Shouldn’t they also be proactive? The dean will draft a mentoring guideline plan so there would be something to start with.
Meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.
Submitted by Sharon Lopinot, Exec. Asst. II