The Advance Project

Enhancing the academic careers of women in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics

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Guidelines for the Department Chair

  • Endorse mentoring as a valuable service contribution to the University and support recognition of those who engage in it.
  • Assist in advertising the Mentoring Program and recruiting potential mentors.  Be familiar with the components of a great faculty mentoring program (Appendix C).
  • Ask the search committee to recommend a potential mentor to the Chair. The Chair assigns a mentor to a new faculty member as soon as the offer of appointment is accepted.
  • The Chair makes information regarding mentoring programs available to all potential hires at the time of the interview.
  • The Chair ensures that appropriate contact information regarding the assigned mentor is sent before the new faculty arrives.
  • The mentor can contact the new faculty member in advance and address critical questions and issues before their arrival.
  • The Chair should discuss the mentoring program with both the mentor and new faculty member and should continue to check in with both parties periodically throughout the mentoring relationship.
  • The Chair should be amenable to funding a couple of lunches per year for the mentor and new faculty member.
  • Support research about mentoring women and other newcomers in your discipline.
  • Encourage and assist a set of academic mentors for each entering new faculty person which includes persons within and outside the department and institution who are familiar with some aspect of each individual’s field.
  • Establish a two-stage mentoring program in which newcomers are initially paired with a senior person of the same sex and race and then helped by that person to find mentor(s) with different strengths throughout the organization.
  • Encourage the formation of broad networks of women and underrepresented groups for social and professional development.
  • Do your part to be a mentor to new faculty. Organize a reception for new faculty and university staff. Make sure new faculty get put on appropriate distribution lists. Nominate new faculty for professional or national committees and invite them to conferences and colloquia.
  • Arrange meetings/lunches with new faculty to describe the tenure process, any deadlines and how faculty will be evaluated.
  • Make sure new faculty have lists of people to contact for different needs (e.g., grants and contracts office, research office, whom to call to    unlock a classroom, media assistance, local community numbers, child care resources, current committee and teaching assignments and a     listing of responsibilities of department staff, etc.).
  • Develop a conflict of interest policy which clarifies appropriate relationships between mentors and mentees.
  • Publicize sexual harassment guidelines (
  • Set up formal and informal grievance procedures for students, faculty, and staff that encompass conflict of interest and sexual harassment complaints.  Distribute these procedures/guidelines to all mentors and mentees to be discussed early in the mentoring relationship.

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