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Early- and Mid-career Mentoring Models, Best Practices and Additional Resources

Traditional mentoring in academics is often defined as a relationship in which a more senior scholar offers knowledge, career-related advice and professional guidance to those more junior. The goal of the relationship is to support the ability of more junior scholars, early- and/or mid-career, to navigate the workplace and build a record of achievement that facilitates advancement. There are other benefits to these relationships. They create and sustain an inclusive intellectual workspace, where those typically marginalized or are present as numerical minorities (e.g., underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, international faculty, those with disabilities, LGBTQ+) have connections to colleagues that otherwise may be a challenge to establish.

These dyadic mentoring relationships, whether formal or informal, are integral to faculty career accomplishment. Scholars are most innovative and productive when they are a part of a vibrant, supportive and diverse intellectual community where ideas are freely exchanged and shared with encouraging colleagues.  

We know from our personal lives as parents, partners, neighbors and friends that healthy and good relationships require attention, commitment and effort from those involved. The same is true in our work environment.

Productive mentor/mentee relationships are not unidirectional, nor are they simply common sense. Good connections demand that mentors and mentees work to maintain an open dialogue, build trust and practice mutual investment of time and attention. Mentors impart professional expertise, advice and constructive critique of elements related to career advancement. At the same time, fellows are expected to offer their own ideas, perspectives, knowledge and experiences that enhance the interests, concerns, projects and goals of both parties.

With the career advancement of early- and mid-career faculty members in mind, Mentorship Clearinghouse webpage has been developed as part of Faculty Pathway. The Mentorship Clearinghouse is centrally located resource where you will find mentorship-related best practices, general and those that emphasize social identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, and more; scholarly research; and programs that have been implemented by institutional peers and aspirational peers.

This is a developing and living resource. It will be updated with new items on a regular basis and we encourage you to visit often.  Items that are placed in the Clearinghouse have been reviewed by Senior Faculty Mentors and selected for your consideration. Faculty Pathway’s Senior Faculty Mentors welcome additional items that others recommend be shared with the broader Penn State community.