Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Faculty Mentoring

Mentoring is a centuries old method for assisting the personal development and encouragement of others. It is an interpersonal connection between two individuals, requiring specific, intentional action by both persons. The use of a faculty mentoring agreement provides a formalized structure for senior to junior faculty sharing of wisdom and experience.


To contribute to a positive atmosphere in which the intellectual activities can germinate into a successful career in academic medicine (as researcher, clinician, teacher, and/or scholar).

To provide an opportunity for junior faculty to secure interpersonal connections in informed and supportive career development.


Mentoring Benefits

The new faculty (mentee) benefits through:

  • A senior faculty member who can serve as a role model
  • An experienced listener who can respond to problems or concerns
  • An advisor who can offer useful guidance on professional goals and career direction

The mentor benefits through:

  • Sharing expertise and wisdom on personal and professional experiences
  • The satisfaction of recognizing new faculty potential and observing growth and achievement
  • Contact with new faculty and their issues
  • Increased career satisfaction
  • The growth and goodwill mentors will experience by assisting in the development of fellow faculty

The Carver College of Medicine benefits through:

  • Early determination of the appropriateness of new faculty fit, knowledge, skills and chosen career path
  • Increased faculty interaction and networking
  • The development of a greater awareness within the faculty of the positive growth opportunities
  • The cost-benefit realized through the successful retention of productive faculty
  • The building and transmittal of the Carver College of Medicine culture


Mentoring Outcomes

  1. New faculty will gain a clearer sense of the rigors and rewards of a career in academic medicine.
  2. New faculty will acquire a better awareness of expectations for career advancement.
  3. New faculty will develop rapport with at least one other faculty member.
  4. The transition period from new investigation to established research will decrease.
  5. An increase in effective early intervention will take place.
  6. Should realize an increased cost-benefit analysis as a result of increased retention of faculty and reduction in cost of recruitment and orientation of new faculty.
  7. Should be able to demonstrate the number of individuals transferring from tenure-track to clinical at the mid-career review.
  8. Should be able to demonstrate an increase in the number of promotions from assistant to associate professor, and a decrease in the number of track changes.


Mentoring Structure

For optimum effectiveness, faculty mentoring must be instituted at the departmental level. Each department is encouraged to structure a faculty mentoring system that fits the particular needs of the faculty and department. The Office of Faculty Affairs can assist departments in this effort by providing:

  • Guidance on the development of a successful mentoring program
  • Resources on successful mentoring Other assistance as identified

The mentoring process should include:

For New Faculty

  • Orientation to the merits, benefits, structure and expected outcomes of the mentor relationship.
  • Determination of the qualities the mentee would consider most desirable in a mentor.
  •  Encouragement to commit to a formal mentoring relationship for at least one (1) year.

For Senior Faculty:

  • Senior faculty should be invited to serve as mentors based upon the recommendations of the Department Head and/or Division Director.
  • Prospective mentors should be selected based on skills, expertise, interest and qualities they would prefer in a mentoring relationship.
  • Senior faculty should be encouraged to commit to a formal mentoring relationship for at least one (1) year.

Whatever the level of involvement, the critical ingredient in an effective mentoring relationship will be the willingness of senior faculty mentors to be available for new faculty, and the willingness of junior faculty to accept the support and guidance offered.

Match Criteria

  1. Criteria and recommendations individualized to the Department
  2. Background information shared by mentor/mentee
  3. Interests, likes, preferences of mentor/new faculty (mentee)
  4. Perceived mentor/mentee strengths
  5.  Flexibility in changing unsuccessful mentor/mentee matches
  6. To ensure that the mentoring process is working, at least a minimal monitoring system must be established.

Mentors perform a multitude of functions for their mentees. Such functions may include:

  1. Providing training
  2. Stimulating the acquisition of knowledge
  3. Providing information about educational programs
  4. Providing emotional support and encouragement, or helping the mentee develop coping strategies during periods of turmoil
  5. Socializing the mentee regarding the role requirements, expectations, organizational imperatives and demands of academic medicine
  6. Creating an understanding of the academic bureaucracy, its strengths and weaknesses
  7. Inculcating, by example, a positive value system for a productive professional work ethic
  8. Providing, by example, informal instructions about demeanor, etiquette, collegiality, and day-to-day interpersonal relations
  9.  Assisting the mentee in building self-confidence, heightening self-esteem, and strengthening motivation to perform at their greatest potential


Mentoring Resources