How to Improve Faculty Satisfaction at uw tacoma coache fellows’ Report to uw tacoma Faculty Assembly July 2014

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E) Mentoring

The mean response from UWT tenure-stream faculty on the 6 items within this thematic area was 2.54, toward the bottom of comparison institutions and all participating institutions. As detailed in the COACHE Provost’s Report, men expressed overall satisfaction with this area much lower than women. Associate professors also indicate an overall less satisfaction in terms of mentoring.

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Faculty assessed UW Tacoma in terms of mentoring on items listed below. On a 1 - 5 scale, their responses indicate problems in almost all areas of mentoring:

  • Effectiveness of mentoring within department: 2.98

  • Effectiveness of mentoring outside department: 3.37

  • Mentoring of pre-tenure faculty: 2.60

  • Mentoring of associate professors: 1.82

  • Support for faculty to be good mentors: 1.74

As indicated by the faculty assessment, that “being a mentor is fulfilling” (4.16), UW Tacoma faculty clearly value mentoring as a practice, even though we don’t engage in the practice with any regularity. Mentoring touches on many of the core values we have identified: teaching excellence, research productivity, transparency and accountability, interdisciplinary work and collaboration, and effective and stable leadership. Across campus, mentoring is happening, but we have no formal, campus-wide mentoring program. In the Institute of Technology, lecturers are provided with a mentor who can be a resource and support for teaching. IAS also provides a structured mentoring program, an initiative based on data from spring quarter of 2013, from the IAS Mentoring Survey of 2007. The resulting Individual Development Plans (IDPs).” These individual development plans enable faculty members to more easily identify their goals for research and scholarship. In addition, the office of Research and Scholarship offers peer mentoring for proposal writing in a series of workshops.

Even though our campus has these and other programs for mentoring among faculty, the survey scores indicate that we need to pay more attention to this area and make significant improvements. It has been observed by more than one faculty member that someone might choose to leave the tenure track because of a lack of transparency and support in this area. We seem to have a greater amount of support for junior faculty than for associate professors. Faculty members who teach in the Core, new and returning, have expressed the desire for a peer mentoring system. Many members of the faculty have expressed the desire for more collaboration across disciplines to foster research as well as pedagogical knowledge.

Based on the survey results in the area of mentoring, faculty have indicated that they need support in teaching and research. They have also indicated that they value interdisciplinary work and collaboration. Pairing faculty from different disciplines in mentor relationships is one possible way to achieve a higher degree of interdisciplinarity on our campus. In addition, having a strong mentoring program will help our campus to build strong leaders both now and in the future. Finally, mentors can help build a sense of trust among faculty. All of these factors lead to a higher retention rate among faculty hires.

[Action Plan]

Assess [In a Year]

  • Regularly assess units in terms of their mentoring practices and support.

  • Regularly ask junior faculty in terms their experience with regarding to mentoring in their units.

Institute [In a year]

  • Ask units to institute a mentoring program.

  • Provide mentor and mentee training programs in each unit as well as across the campus.

  • Incentivize units to institute a variety of mentoring programs such as peer-mentoring and external mentoring.

  • Encourage mentoring for interdisciplinary teaching and research (between academic units)

  • Reward the mentors through annual merit.

[Best Practices from UWT and Other Universities]

  • UW Seattle: Ideas for Fostering Mentoring

  • UW Seattle: Mentoring New Faculty: Advice to Department Chairs

  • UW Seattle: Mentoring Guide

  • UW Seattle: Examples of Mentoring for Faculty Retention and Development


  • UW Bothell: School of Nursing mentoring program

  • This document is a compilation of data and explanation of some of the best junior faculty mentoring programs around the country, including University of Oregon, Emory University and the University of Wisconsin:

  • Faculty Mentoring at Brown University:

  • Faculty Mentoring for Women Faculty at University of Wisconsin-Madison:

  • Northern Illinois University voluntary program:

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