Research on Peer Mentoring By University Faculty – Part 1

Without question, the transition involved in becoming a new junior faculty member is daunting and deserving of help and guidance, specifically, the support of an effective mentor. And, who better to mentor a new university faculty member than another faculty mentor who has already “walked that career development path”?  Yet, the time available for mentoring can be limited.

Higher education mentors need to know the most effective and proven mentoring practices, so the time they can spend is wisely invested and is as effective and productive as possible.

Higher education mentoring programs need to know what the best program practices are so they can avoid the difficulties of starting “from scratch” and the costs in time, resources, and faculty and administration good will when mistakes are made. Here is PAGE ONE OF TWO of the advice which research on faculty-to-faculty mentoring offers for these challenges.

Editor’s Note – These research reports are listed in one category because that topic is the major contribution of the report. It should be noted that many reports contribute in multiple areas, so careful review of these reports is warranted.


    1. Empowering the Faculty:  Mentoring Redirected and Renewed
    2. Faculty Mentoring Programs: Re-Envisioning Rather than Reinventing the Wheel
    3. Best Practices in Developing New Faculty Orientation and Mentoring – A Review and Case Study
    4. A Synergistic Global Perspective of Fifteen Mentoring Programs (at one IHE)
    1. Empowering Junior Faculty: Penn State’s Faculty Development and Mentoring Program
    2. Mentoring program helps young faculty feel at home
    1. Diversity Issues in Mentoring Faculty
    2. A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Gender Differences in Mentoring
    3. Mentoring program for minority faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    4. Being Mentored: The Experience of Women Faculty
    5. Can mentoring help female assistant professors- Interim results from a randomized trial
    1. The Global Imperative: Mentoring New Faculty in Higher Education Communities
    1. Ohio St. Univ. – Peer Mentoring New Personnel – Award winning dissertation on mentoring in a state wide extension system
    2. Mentoring New faculty in a School of Nursing
    3. Lessons Learned about Mentoring Junior Faculty in Higher Education
    4. Lessons Learned – Action Research at So. Conn. State Univ. Faculty Mentoring

Zellers, D. F., Howard, V.M. and Barcic, M.A. (2008). Faculty Mentoring Programs: Re-envisioning Rather than Reinventing the Wheel. Review of Educational Research. Vol. 78, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 552-588

Retrieved Jan 12, at

The Problem
The current understanding of faculty-to-faculty mentoring as a professional development practice in American higher education is built on a limited number of research-based studies.

The Study
This article is essentially a review of the literature on the evolution of mentoring programs in the United States in both business and higher education. Therefore, the investigation’s focus was on both faculty to faculty and employee-to-employee mentoring.

The Findings
1. An increasing number of studies indicate a need to develop or redefine the employment sulture (ed. – and structures) to make mentoring more of an embedded, daily professional development activity.
2. Only recently have researchers investigated the impact of organizational culture on the effectiveness of mentoring programs in a business context.
3. The sophistication of research has not improved over the past decade.
4. There remains a limited number of research-based studies of faculty-to-faculty mentoring as a professional development practice in higher education
5. These factors suggest that higher education should be cautious not to overgeneralize the findings of studies conducted in corporate and other work cultures.

1. More rigorous investigation is warranted of mentoring practice and of the impact of work culture in higher education.
2. As more studies point to the need to foster an employment culture that supports mentoring, a research-based understanding effective faculty mentoring programs within the context of their academic cultures will continue to become even more critical.

Gibson, S.K. (2004). Being Mentored: The Experience of Women Faculty. Journal of Career Development, Vol 30, (spring) No 4,

The Study
This was a qualitative phenomenological study. Such studies are characterized by seeking to understand the essence and commonalities across diverse experiences. The research consisted of extensive interviews with nine women who had been mentored while in the faculty role.

The Findings
1. Five themes emerged which help to explain the experience of mentoring for female faculty.
2. Mentoring relationships were both formal and informal.
3. Mentoring relationships were formed with male and female mentors.
4. The mentors were of varying ranks in their higher education institutions.
5. Mentors were found both within and external to the mentees’ institutions.
6. Some mentors were mentors in name only and some were perceived as “true mentors”, as they met mentee expectations for such a relationship.

The five themes characteristic of the experience were:
1. having someone who truly cares and acts in one’s best interest;
2. a feeling of connection (professional);
3. being affirmed of one’s worth;
4. not being alone (personal);
5. politics are part of one’s experience.

Senior faculty identified as “true mentors”:
1. had superior status;
2. were able to share resources;
3. were able to provide emotional support;
4. were able to help mentees develop their self-understanding and self-concept.

The findings demonstrate the need for mentoring and other forms of support across a person’s entire career.

Editor’s Note – We fail to see how these findings suggest the need for mentoring across a career, although we certainly believe that is true. Rather we feel the findings of this study suggest:
1. Effective (true) mentoring can be very diverse:
• any gender;
• formal and informal;
• within or external to one’s own organization.
2. Effective mentoring is both “career” (practical) and “psycho-social’ (personal/emotional).

Smith, J.W., Smith, W.J. and Markham, S.E. (2000). Diversity Issues in Mentoring Faculty. Journal of Career Development, Summer 2000, pg. 251.

The Problem
1. Women report less access to mentoring relationships than do men.
2. Racial minorities report similar barriers to mentorship opportunities.

The Study

Hypotheses to be Studied
Hypothesis 1. Women and racial minorities are more likely to be in mentoring relationships than Caucasian men.
[Hypothesis Supported for women – more are in mentoring relationships; but not for racial minorities.]

Hypothesis 2. Same-race and same-gender mentoring will provide racial and gender minorities with increased psychosocial benefits.
Hypothesized but not supported: (homogeneous relationships) will benefit racial and gender minorities with increased psychosocial benefits from mentoring.

Hypothesis 3. Same-race and same-gender mentoring will provide racial and gender minorities with increased career development benefits.
Hypothesized but not supported: diversified mentorships will be most effective for the career development of racial and gender minorities.

Study Method
Perceived mentoring roles and actual mentoring received were measured using Noe’s (1988) Mentoring Role Instrument (MRI). These factors allowed examination of the validity of the three hypotheses. Further inquiry was made into the effect of mentoring on employee commitment to the organization and on employee attrition.

Study Sample
1. 765 university faculty participated
2. 226 (30%) were involved in a mentoring relationship.

Findings from Hypotheses Testing

Hypothesis 1. Women and racial minorities are more likely to be in mentoring relationships than Caucasian men.
A. Hypothesis 1 was supported for women – more were in mentoring relationships.
B. Hypothesis 1 was not supported for racial minorities. Male  minorities are less likely to be in mentoring relationships than Caucasian men.

Hypothesis 2 was not supported. Same-race and same-gender mentoring did not provide racial and gender minorities with any more psychosocial benefits than did cross-gender and cross-race mentoring relationships.

Hypothesis 3 was not supported. Same-race and same-gender mentoring did not provide racial and gender minorities with any more career development benefits than did cross-gender and cross-race mentoring relationships.


1. Women can be successful in finding effective mentors.
2. Minorities have not been successful in acquiring mentors.
3. Demographic similarity has little or no  impact on mentoring relationship effectiveness.
4. Recent models of mentoring have included role modeling.
5. Mentoring results in greater organizational commitment.
6. Mentoring results in lower turnover.

Nastanski, M. and Simmons, P. (no date). Best Practices in Developing New Faculty Orientation and Mentoring – A Review and Case Study. (No publication available)

Retrieved January 12, 2011 at

(Editor’s Note – We have made an extensive search to gain needed information on this article, all to no result. Normally the lack of documentation would lead us to ignore this report. It is hard to evaluate the value of the findings and conclusions when we cannot review the details of the study methodology or the facts surrounding the report’s publication. We have still provided it, based on the facts that the authors are the Dean and Assistant Dean of the School of Business at St. Leo University., which lends some credibility to the report, and that it addresses the issue of effectiveness of higher education instruction, a rarer discussion.)

The Problem
The investment of recruiting, screening, hiring, and developing new university faculty is at-risk due to excessive attrition. An effective means of increasing new faculty retention and development is critical.

Literature Review Findings Summary
1. Effective new faculty are critical to fulfilling the academic institution’s mission.
2.The task of acquiring new faculty, developing them as educators and integrating them into the institution’s community is challenging.
3. While all faculty are experts in their content areas, many faculty have little or no training for effectively fulfilling their roles as teachers.
4. Most new faculty struggle at interpreting the complexities of an institution’s formal, informal, social and political elements.

The Study
The study was a combination of a literature review regarding the problem and use of faculty mentoring as a solution, and the use of case studies of the subject institution’s new faculty for further data collection.

The Findings
1. There is a need for formal, structured orientation of new faculty to their roles, to the institution’s expectations for them as teachers, and to the complex university culture.
2. There is a need for formal, structured, socially-rich mentoring to provide new faculty extended, focused support, guidance, and assistance for developing in their roles as teachers and for ongoing orientation to the institution and it’s culture.
3. These needs for structured mentoring and orientation services suggest a third need of a mentoring and orientation program to provide an effective, continually improving support structure for new faculty.

1. Best practice for support, guidance, and enculturation of new faculty is an institutionally provided and supported new faculty mentoring and orientation program.
2. Provision of such a system of support can result in increased faculty retention, better instruction, and successful faculty and students.

Monk, P. E.  (2009). The Global Imperative: Mentoring New Faculty in Higher Education Communities. Paper presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX.

Retrieved Jan. 12, 2011 at

The Study
This study surveyed and investigated faculty perceptions of the critical factors in higher education faculty mentoring relationships.

Study Methods
The research design utilized survey methods. An instrument was designed to assess mentor use of mentoring best practices found in the was used to send the surveys to a listserve of over 1110 university faculty. Some faculty were mentors of new faculty and the rest were the new faculty mentees. Qualitative analysis methods were used..

The Findings
Analysis of the survey data suggest that higher education faculty perceive the following as critical factors in the effectiveness of mentoring relationships:

  • trust between the mentor and mentee;
  • frequent communication between the mentor and mentee;
  • a relationship characterized by mutual support for learning and development and collaboration.

(Editor’s Note – The IMA is focused on mentoring as a “global imperative”, which the title of this study states. We were dissappointed to read no findings which addressed this perspective, and to only read that the findings were limited to those which are well-known across the study of mentoring. Still we share this study and it’s findings for those who may not know these critical factors in effective mentoring relationships.

Collins, T., Slough, S., & Waxman, H. (2009). Lessons Learned about Mentoring Junior Faculty in Higher Education. Academic Leadership. Volume 7 – Issue 2, Apr 29, 2009

The Report
The authors are junior faculty who have been mentored by senior faculty at their institution of higher education. They use this report as a means of suggesting “best mentoring practices” based on what did and did not happen in their experience. In that sense, this is not a quantitative research study, so much as it is a qualitative “case study” summarizing their experiences.

The Findings

1. Teaching Matters

A. Junior faculty often receive contradictory advice, especially in the area of effective teaching.

B. Junior faculty are frequently advised to concentrate on their research and scholarship (and not so much on their teaching).

C. The clear understanding is that efforts at good teaching are less important than time spent developing and implementing one’s research agenda.

D. Junior faculty should understand if their work priority is with teaching and their students, they place their careers at-risk.

E. If the classes of junior faculty are being developed and taught for the first time, not uncommon for junior faculty, initial preparation can be very time consuming.

F. Junior faculty should limit time used for teaching preparation to about six hours of preparation for a three-hour class. Preparing for class the day or night before the class works best for some of us because it limits us in time we can use for this purpose, and because the ideas prepared are fresh in your mind the next day.

2. “Pseudo Mentors

A. Some senior faculty who agree to be mentors are really only
“pseudo mentors” whose support may be limited and whose own agenda is clearly most important.

B. Even departmental-level administrators who were assigned various roles relative to mentoring junior faculty, can be so focused on their own careers ans to be unable to effectively help proteges with their careers.

C. Senior faculty “mentors” often have no mentor training. This lack has resulted at times with “mentors’ being unaware or and disinterested in the proteges’ needs. An example was a “mentor” who arranged a series of mentoring activities with a menu of options from which junior faculty were to choose. At the first meeting of this “mentor” and assigned proteges, junior faculty shared what they wanted as far as mentoring. This was followed with an hour presentation by the “mentor” of what would be provided.

D. As a result of these factors, proteges find little in common with mentors and, even when needs are expressed, find no changes were made in response.

E. Some pseudo mentors become so busy with their own agendas as to be unable to find the time to mentor as they intended. It seems the commitment to be a mentor does not reflect a high value for junior faculty professional development.

3. The Diverse Mentoring Capabilities of Senior Faculty

A. It is not reasonable to expect that any one senior faculty mentor:

a. Has the content and pedagogical strengths every protege may need;
b. Has the time to help a protege, especially with complex and time-consuming issues such as learning to teach;
c. Has the mentoring skills that are needed in all situations.

B. Mentor matching is often made with the senior faculty member who is in the closest proximity to the new faculty member. This means that mentors are typically in the same field as the protege, which has desireable elements – the mentor has strengths in the topics which are of most interest to the protege. But it can also be problematic:

a. When the mentor and protege have research, teaching, or curricular differences of opinion, the lack of training for mentoring leaves mentoring pairs unprepared to avoid or deal with this problem.
b. Making the key factor for matching the person in the closest proximity to the protege, ignores the issue of whether that mentor has the time to commit to mentoring.

Conclusions – Recommendations for Mentoring Best Practices

1. Formal or Informal?

A. Informal, intuition-based mentoring is ineffective in many circumstances, at either serving the needs of new junior faculty or the need to improve the quality of higher education instruction.
B. Informal mentoring has no means for learning nor providing best prctices known in the research and wider field of practitioner knowledge in mentoring.
C. Informal mentoring results in no means to monitor, modify, or avoid problems. These are left to the participants.
D. Informal mentoring leaves the organization with no means to determine if and who needs help, nor what kind of help they may need.
E. Informal “natural” mentoring is claimed to be effective, at least for some, but it leaves too many important opportunities for personnel and organization improvement to chance.

2. A formal mentor program is needed in addition to a number of mentors.

  1. A program can structure external research into the best practice processes and criteria for the program and strategies for mentoring.
  2. A program can structure best practice processes and criteria for the critical program processes that directly link to the effectiveness of mentoring and achievement of program goals:
    1. mentor selection;
    2. mentor-protege matching, and dealing with mismatches;
    3. mentor and protege training and support;
    4. monitoring of mentoring pairs’ relationships and their work and effectiveness;
    5. the internal evaluation of the mentoring practices and programs;
    6. efforts to improve the knowledge base of what works and use it to improve the mentoring practices and program supports.

3. Best Practices for Mentoring Program Structures

A. Mentoring should be a voluntary role, but once a senior faculty mentor has volunteered, been selected, and trained, the match can be assigned.
B. One-on-one mentoring and team mentoring should be a program option.
C. Formal mentoring is the program priority but informal mentoring is also encouraged.
D. Mentor selection criteria should  clarify the expectation for mentoring time, assessing and addressing protege needs and interests, and balanced attention to teaching, service, research, and publication.
E. Mentors should be required to attend an initial training and refresher trainings at intervals when they are experienced mentors.
F. Proteges should be matched to mentors based on mentor strengths and protege needs, with proximity also being considered.
G. Proteges should have options for requesting specific kinds of matches.
H. Mentors and proteges should be provided guidelines for reaching a mentoring agreement very early in their relationship. The agreement should specify need to mutually determine what the protege needs, what will be expected on both sides of the relationship, and that the mentor will provide to address the needs.
I. The institution of higher education should sanction, reward, and recognize the contributions of mentors, and the willingness and efforts of proteges to professionally improve themselves.

Thorndyke, L.E., Gusic, M.E.. George, J.H., Quillen, D.A., & Milner, R. J. (2006). Empowering Junior Faculty: Penn State’s Faculty Development and Mentoring Program. Academic Medicine: July 2006 – Volume 81 – Issue 7 – pp 668-673

The Program
The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) is sponsored by the Office of Professional Development of the Penn State College of Medicine. The program was established in 2003 with the goal of promoting the development of junior faculty so they can advance and achieve success in their academic careers. The program has two components:

  1. A training curriculum in research, education, clinical practice, and career development. The training curriculum provides faculty with knowledge, skills, and resources.
  2. An individual project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor. (ed. emphasis added) Mentoring provides relationships and support.

These elements were designed to complement each other to support the program goal of empowering junior faculty to better manage their own careers.

The Study
This report describes an evaluation of the Junior Faculty Development Program in 2003-04 and 2004-05, the program’s first and second years.

The goal of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the JFD Program in attaining the program goal.

Several measures were used to assess whether the program goal was met. These were combined into a survey which assessed participants’:
A. evaluation of the JFD Program;
B. extent of changes in perceptions of their own abilities;
C. extent of completing program projects deemed vital to their careers.

The Study Findings


  1. evaluated the JFD Program highly;
  2. generally, completed tasks which were important to their career advancement;
  3. stated that, as a result of the mentoring:
    1. they had increased in their own abilities;
    2. they were better prepared to advance their academic careers;
  4. stated that their individual projects would help in their career advancement.

Faculty development programs can and should empower faculty via a combined, integrated program of training for group development and mentoring for individualized development, so that they can more effectively chart and pursue a successful career in higher education.

Johnson J.C., Williams B., Jayadevappa R. (1999). Mentoring program for minority faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Academic Medicine. Apr; Vol.74(#4):pages 376-9.

The Problem
Numerous research studies show that having a faculty mentor and being part of an active network of peers are critical elements in a successful academic medicine career. However, minority physicians often have difficulty finding a mentor. This is especially the case for minority groups which are underrepresented in medicine.

The Program
The School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania had a number of mentoring efforts underway in various departments and divisions. The mentoring ranged from very informal “natural” mentoring, to more formal relationships with matching and other criteria, to very formal, full blown mentoring program structures.

The Study
It was unknown which approach was the most effective, especially for the specific subject problem. In 1994 the School of Medicine determined to address the subject problem, and they began a two year long process of internal research:
1.  to learn the extent of mentoring programs in its departments and divisions;
2. to compare the experiences of underrepresented-minority faculty and that of others.

The goals of the evaluation were to:
A. capture and analyze data-based results;
B. use the findings and conclusions to inform design and development of a system of mentoring and networking support for minority faculty members.

Study Methods

  1. A survey was conducted of all School of Medicine division and department heads. The survey examined the extent to which these administrators:
    1. had formal mentoring programs;
    2. felt the mentoring provided important benefits for junior faculty members.
  2. A second survey was conducted of all School of Medicine minority and non-minority assistant professors to determine the extent and nature of their mentoring experiences. These minority and non-minority junior faculty were matched for promotion track, department, appointment date, and, where possible, for gender.

The Findings
1. The results of the survey of division and department heads clearly showed that:
A. these leaders felt a mentor and other supports were essential for junior faculty career development.
B. many of the surveyed leaders reported having no systematic plan of mentoring for junior faculty. minority and non-minority assistant professors
2. The survey of minority and non-minority assistant professors found that about half of either group did not have mentors.


  1. Mentoring and other supports are essential for junior faculty professional and career development.
  2. The mentoring and other supports should be designed as a whole and integrated system of professional and career development.
  3. The implementation of systematic and effective mentoring and other supports requires a formal, institutionally-sponsored and sanctioned mentoring program.
  4. Among the components of the program should be:
    1. mentoring for individual junior faculty members which is focused on their professional and career development needs, especially for development of research skills;
    2. periodic career development meetings, especially for new minority faculty;
    3. a structured process for selecting and matching mentors;
    4. a periodic evaluation to at least monitor the retention of minority faculty.

Results of the Evaluation
1. As a result of these findings and conclusions, the school established a faculty development program. That program was designed to incorporate all the conclusions of the study.
2. The school administration is committed to use the experience with the program , the results of further program evaluation, and other insights into the needs of minority faculty in general, and specifically of junior faculty-, to adjust and expand the program to meet these identified needs.

O’Brien, K.E.,Biga, A., Kessler, S.R. & Allen, T.D. (2010). A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Gender Differences in Mentoring. Journal of Management, Vol. 36, No. 2, 537-554.

Retrieved Jan. 12, 2011 at

The Study
1. The research investigation was a meta-analysis, which consists of statistical and logical comparison of numerous other studies for the effects of a set of common factors.
2. The factors examined in this meta-analysis were the extent of:
A. differences for career benefits based on gender of mentors and protégés;
B. differences for psychosocial benefits based on gender of mentors and protégés;
C. differences based on gender for service as a mentor;

The Findings
1. No gender differences were found in mentor and protégé experiences regarding career benefits.
2. Gender differences were found in mentor and protégé experiences regarding psychosocial benefits. Male protégés reported receiving less psychosocial support than did female protégés
3. Males are more likely to serve as mentors than were females.
4. Male mentors reported giving more career development than did female mentors.
5. Female mentors report providing more psychosocial support than did male mentors.

(Editor Notes – We wish that these authors had been able to clarify an apparent confusion regarding the first finding versus other findings. Readers may be led to ask how there could be no gender differences in career benefits when males give more career development assistance than females.

We are unaware of any research-based conclusions on this question. We hypothesize that, though the needs of each gender for both career and psychosocial support are known, the variation in experiences among individuals of different genders  suggests that asymmetric mentoring for these factors is not sufficient to significantly effect the career benefits of either gender. For example, women may need, seek, and receive greater psychosocial mentoring, but may also receive sufficient benefit from that support and sufficient career support too, so as to be sufficient overall for satisfactory career advancement.)

Luna, G. and Cullen, D.L. (no date). Empowering the Faculty:  Mentoring Redirected and Renewed. The National Teaching and Learning Forum. A joint venture with the ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education.

(Editor’s Note – The National Teaching and Learning Forum is a periodical devoted to discussion of teaching and learning specifically in higher education.)

Retrieved Jan.12, 2011 at

This research report is essentially a review of the literature.

The Findings
The findings of the literature review were:
1. Mentoring supports professional growth and renewal.
2. Professional growth and renewal empowers faculty as individuals and colleagues (Boice 1992).
3. Their teaching and research improve when junior faculty are mentored.
4. Teaching and research improve because, until they are mentored, junior faculty typically focus their time on preparation for their classroom instruction. Therefore, professional development to improve that instruction and career development to improve their career in the future are not perceived as priorities.

5. Mentored junior faculty report improved job satisfaction and organization socialization.
6. Mentors also feel renewed through the sharing of power and the increased collegiality.


1. Mentoring of higher education junior faculty is a critical strategy for attaining the mission of higher education.

2. This is so because there is often a fundamental mismatch between the narrow focus of junior faculty on preparing for instruction, and the mission of quality teaching, research, scholarship, and service.

3. This mismatch is especially critical given that most higher education faculty have little or no education in pedagogy, such that junior faculty can struggle to some extent to survive in the classroom.

4. Teaching and research improve because when junior faculty are mentored, the focus of their time on preparation for their classroom instruction is shifted to a more balanced focus on all aspects of the institution’s mission. This happens as a result of mentor prompting, and as a result of mentor help and other professional development.

Blau, F.D., Currie, J.M., Croson, R.T., and Ginter, D.K. (2010). Can mentoring help female assistant professors- Interim results from a randomized trial. NBER Working Papers Series, w15707, Retrieved Dec. 12, 2010 at

The Problem
Much has been written about the potential benefits of mentoring in higher education, yet very little research documents its effectiveness.

The Study
This study collected and analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial of a mentoring program for female economists. The sponsors of this study were the Committee for the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, the National Science Foundation, and the American Economics Association.

The study goal was to provide an assessment of the program’s effects.

The Findings
Mentoring helped female faculty achieve greater scholarly results. After five years the 2004 treatment group averaged more than did the control group:

A. 4 more NSF or NIH grants;
B. 3 more publications;
C. 25 percent more likely to have a top-tier peer rated publication.

1. Mentoring helps women advance in the Economics profession.
2. The results suggest mentoring would also help women advance in other male dominated academic fields.

Beans, B. E. (1999). Mentoring program helps young faculty feel at home. APA Monitor Online, 30(3). American Psychological Association Newsletter.

The Study

The publication in a newsletter of the APA precluded inclusion of the study methods.

The Findings
This study showed that:

  1. junior faculty received what they perceived to be valuable help from senior faculty mentors, especially in the categories of:
    1. practical assistance with work-related tasks
    2. guidance for their careers
    3. emotional support
  2. mentoring programs were more effective when they paired junior faculty with senior faculty outside the junior faculty person’s departments because it lessened the risk of revealing feelings of inadequacy to peers. That factor enabled mentor support to target real issues, which promoted increased protégé growth.

Editor’s Notes
Since this study reflects perceived value it is more subjective. Also, since the study did not compare perceptions of some who were mentored within their own department against those who were mentored outside their department, we cannot conclude that mentoring people outside their department is the best method. The study does not and cannot say that.

It merely says those who were mentored outside their department felt comfortable taking risks such as sharing their problems. There is no doubt that the claimed benefits were the result of that matching method. In that regard, also note that the study did not determine whether people who felt more comfortable sharing their problems also felt they would not have felt like sharing their problems with internal department mentors. That seems a logical conclusion, but the study report does not address that topic.

Finally, a wider reading of the research literature indicates that each of the two matching approaches have their own strengths and limitations:
> Matches to mentors outside the protege’s department are more likely to evoke deeper sharing, and as a result, greater growth, but the mentors also are often less able to help with content or department specific issues.
> Matches to mentors within the protege’s department may make sharing of problems more difficult, but structured efforts to build trust have been shown to overcome such reluctance, and mentors within the department are better able to help with content and department-related issues.

Koeller, M. and Alpert, M. (2007). A Synergistic Global Perspective of Fifteen Mentoring Programs. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, New York, NY, Feb 24, 2007

Retrieved online December, 12, 2010 at  <>

The Problem
National-Louis University (NLU) has utilized mentoring for many applications over the years, but in many cases it was of a more informal nature. Despite having 15 such “programs”, faculty feed back led to a recognition of unmet needs of new faculty

The University’s Response
Given the consensus about the needs of new faculty and other benefits to the students, senior faculty, and the institution of formal mentoring, it was decided that a formal mentoring program was essential. The goals of the planned program were to:

  1. better meet the needs of  junior faculty
  2. ensure the desired benefits were provided to all junior faculty, not just those who found an informal “natural” mentor.

The Study
Part 1 – Needs assessment – NLU conducted a needs analysis to determine the needs of new faculty. The results of this assessment are the focus of this research report.
Part 2 – Literature Review – The components of a new faculty orientation and mentoring program were selected based on a review of the literature for the strengths of diverse components for meeting the varied needs.

Findings of the New Faculty Needs Assessment
The data from this survey revealed numerous new faulty needs, especially the following :

  1. Orientation Needs
    1. adjunct staff had a need for better clarification of expectations during recruitment
    2. awareness of the organizational structure
    3. human resources and faculty benefits
    4. pertinent technological programs used within the institution
    5. availability and kinds of library services
  2. Teaching Needs
    1. development of syllabi and course outlines
    2. instructional strategies for the adult learner;
    3. issues related to sustaining academic rigor in classrooms
  3. Professional Development Needs
    1. ongoing orientation;
    2. individualized support and guidance:
    3. access to training programs
  4. Career Needs
    1. reappointment and promotion procedures
    2. Requirements for tenure