Confidential Formative Mentoring

Opportunities for individual or group mentoring are available to probationary faculty members upon their arrival at the College. All new faculty members, regardless of appointment type, are required to participate in an intensive two-day orientation designed to communicate not only basic information plus implicit as well as explicit institutional expectations and norms, but also to launch their work as critically reflective faculty members. Any new faculty member may then elect to participate in a year-long New Faculty Seminar led by the Director of Faculty Development/Director of the CTL, often in partnership with another faculty member. The particular focuses for each annual Seminar group emerge from participant needs and combine pedagogical learning and discussion with guidance about College culture, norms, practices, and policies. Supplemental sessions are offered for those participants on the tenure-track to introduce the review process, and among other things, these sessions provide broad timelines and recommendations for documenting work and engaging in critical self-reflection. In addition, during the first year and beyond, the Director of Faculty Development/Director of the CTL is available for individual consultations, to provide guidance and support for teaching development, and to conduct student focus groups at midterm to gather and then discuss responses to student feedback for the remainder of the course. To facilitate risk-taking and honest exploration of challenges, participants can expect confidentiality in the Seminar and all other CTL-sponsored faculty development programming and services.   

As they engage in ongoing development, improvement, and reflection processes in the second year and through the remainder of the probationary period, tenure-track faculty members are encouraged to seek additional mentoring, which is available in many forms. Like the first-year programs, such mentoring is characterized by its nature as voluntary, confidential, and developmental for the participant in order to foster, where necessary, honest self-assessment and critical self-examination and improvement efforts in a supportive context removed from the summative evaluation process. Participants are encouraged in their second year to join the annually offered faculty-led and facilitated Teaching Strategies Learning Community or another sustained development opportunity, and/or to seek mentoring through one of the CTL-sponsored mentoring programs. Research on faculty development indicates that sustained development efforts are necessary to support deep and lasting change. Scholarship on mentoring encourages those in pursuit of guidance and support to think in terms of multiple mentors for different areas of need or growth. Feedback from probationary reviews should constitute an important form of guidance for probationary faculty as they prioritize areas for ongoing growth and development in working with an individual mentor or as part of a professional development group. In working with mentors or mentoring groups, tenure-track faculty members are strongly encouraged to integrate the recommendations of their Peer-Review Team members (and from FSC, as applicable) into their conversations and work with mentors to ensure consistency of focus for guidance and development.