University Faculty Mentoring Program - FAQ

Q: What is a mentor?

A: A mentor is a trusted counselor or guide. In an academic setting, a mentor is generally a tenured senior faculty colleague who advises or guides a pre-tenure faculty member in matters relating to the achievement of academic success. At Lehigh, University Faculty Mentors welcome new colleagues and assist them as they develop their careers in research, teaching, and service.

Q: Why is faculty mentoring beneficial?

A: Faculty mentoring often leads to higher job satisfaction, improved teaching, research skills and productivity, informed choices concerning service to the university, and increased collegiality. Additionally, University Faculty Mentors provide ideas about teaching and conducting research at Lehigh beyond the more discipline-specific advice of department chairs and colleagues; mentors can also offer assistant professors insights on aspects of living in the Lehigh Valley.

Q: Are new faculty assigned a faculty mentor?

A: No, participation in the program is voluntary. Assistant professors are not "assigned" a specific mentor but are encouraged to contact one or more mentors for guidance on negotiating issues at Lehigh or simply for a friendly intellectual conversation about parallel interests.

Q: How is Lehigh’s University Faculty Mentoring Program structured?

A: Pre-tenure faculty are encouraged to contact the University Faculty Mentor(s) they feel would be best suited to discussing their questions and concerns.

Q: What does the University Faculty Mentoring Committee do?

A: The committee recruits University Faculty Mentors, holds events to bring together mentors and pre-tenure faculty and maintains the University Faculty Mentoring Web site. The committee also works with the Director of Faculty Development, who is a committee member, to develop the new faculty orientation each year and other events.

Q: What topics should I consider discussing with my University Faculty Mentor?

A: Examples of topics include:

  • A discussion of your goals and interests in teaching, scholarship and service
  • The resources, monetary and non-monetary, that are available to assist with research and teaching
  • Suggestions on strategies for fulfilling of internal and external service
  • Work/life balance issues, including activities and resources in the Lehigh Valley for partners/spouses and children
  • The social and intellectual activities offered by the college and university that would aid in meeting faculty members with similar research or teaching interests

Q: Who else should pre-tenure faculty consult with besides the University Faculty Mentors?

A: Pre-tenure faculty members should consult with their Department Chair and the tenured faculty in their department who can best answer discipline-specific questions about tenure.

Q: Whom should I contact if I have questions about university policies on tenure, reappointment, the Family and Medical Leave Act, etc.?

A: For such questions, please contact your Department Chair, Dean’s office, or the Deputy Provost for Faculty Affairs.