Area Studies (AS) Mentorship Program
Draft by AS Personnel Policy Committee
March 12, 2013
Gamal Gasim, Yan Liang, Jeremy Robinson, and Andy Schlewitz
2nd Draft August 28, 2013
3rd Draft August 30, 2013
Who chooses the mentor
The AS Director shall choose the mentor, based on criteria elaborated below. Due to the diverse fields of specialization of AS faculty, and the small number of faculty in AS available to mentor, the AS Director may well have to go outside of Area Studies to find a suitable mentor. Another option could be the assignment of more than one mentor, but that may well complicate the professional life of the recent hire rather than facilitate her or his acclimatization to Area Studies and the broader campus community. Again, who and how many might serve as a mentor to a new or recent hire is at the discretion of the Director.
The Director may also change mentoring assignments if requested by the mentor or the new person, whether due to incompatibility, or due to extraneous issues such as mentor’s impending sabbatical or changing workload. The Director will ensure that such changes in mentoring assignments have no bearing on personnel review matters or salary adjustment decisions for both the mentor and the mentee.
The Director will choose a tenured faculty member to be a mentor, though if circumstances warrant, a tenure-track faculty member who has gone through contract renewal may also be named a mentor. Other criteria for selecting a mentor are as follows:
1) a person with the ideal of supporting and encouraging the new hire rather than an interest in shaping or supervising the new hire;
2) a person with interpersonal skills, and the time and willingness to meet with the new hire, particularly in the first year;
3) a person noted for teaching excellence;
4) a person with a history of scholarly and creative achievement, whose experience has a least a modicum of relevance to the scholarly goals of the recent hire; and
5) a person with a history of service to the university, or the Grand Rapids area community, or both.
Who is mentored and how long
The AS mentorship program applies to tenure-track hires with full-time or 2/3 appointments in an area studies program, and affiliate, adjunct, and visiting faculty in a given area studies program, for a period of at least three years. However, if new tenure-track hires or visiting faculty come to AS with experience as a full-time professor, then that period may be only one or two years, depending on the situation. Alternatively, upon request, recent hires may request that mentorship continue after three years (for example, tenure-track faculty moving towards tenure after their first contract renewal).
Before newly hired faculty arrive
The unit director will ask three or more AS faculty to contact her or him, to welcome the new hire and offer assistance with questions about living in the Grand Rapids area (for example, housing, shopping, recreation, etc.). AS staff will supply information on ordering textbooks, as well as make arrangements for office space and supplies, and a computer, with information about GVSU email accounts, Banner, Blackboard, and upcoming IT seminars.
General comments about the mentoring role
The Area Studies mentor will focus on the expectations of the International Area Studies Program, the Brooks College, and the university as a whole. The mentor’s role is NOT to evaluate the faculty member for salary/tenure/promotion. Rather, the mentor should be someone to whom the faculty member can turn to with both questions and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. The mentor is to be a source of encouragement and support, not a person looking over the new faculty’s shoulder to make sure she or he is on task.
The mentor will meet regularly with the new hire during the first year, and be ready to:
- answer questions regarding Unit, College, and University structures and policies;
- answer questions regarding the use of Digital Measures to produce the FAR and Workload plans, in accord with AS, Brooks, and University-wide expectations; and
- be a reliable and confidential ear for issues the new hire does not feel comfortable discussing with her or his immediate supervisor.
The mentor shall meet with the new hire—referring to tenure-track, visiting, affiliate, and adjunct faculty—regularly throughout the first year, and make a point of consulting on the following aspects of teaching:
- opportunities for teaching development, through FTLC, IT, and departmental workshops, etc.;
- university-wide policies such as General Education requirements, workload expectations, final exam procedures, etc.; and
- sources of funding for curriculum development, and application procedures and deadlines.
More specific to the new hire’s area of teaching specialization, the mentor will:
- be a resource for the construction of syllabi, course policies, class activities, class assignments, and other issues related to students and teaching particular the hire’s area program (for example, service-learning, undergraduate research, internships, and independent studies);
- encourage new faculty to conduct midterm evaluations, or to use other methods to evaluate teaching effectiveness, and provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement;
- arrange with new hire to conduct peer class observations, to consult on teaching practices and, in the case of a tenure-track hire, in order to write letters of support for the her or his personnel review portfolio; and
- offer to help the new hire review and analyze student course evaluations and suggest ways to benefit from them.
Scholarly and Creative Activity
In this area of academic life, there are typically no expectations of visiting, affiliate, and adjunct faculty, though one of these hires may request and shall receive mentorship in this aspect. In regard to the new tenure-track hire, the mentor will:
- familiarize her or himself with the new person’s scholarly work and agenda;
- review procedures for applying for CSCE grants and funds from other sources (FTLC, Padnos, etc.), for requesting faculty development funds; as well as Human Research Review Committee guidelines;
- share information about the Office of Undergraduate Research, and its McNair and S3 programs, and other opportunities for encouraging undergraduate research; and
- throughout the year, the mentor will be the go-to person for questions about getting assistance with research, writing, publication, and other forms of dissemination. The mentor will also offer to read and comment on the mentee’s work, or find a person with more appropriate expertise to do so, and attend if possible any scholarly presentations the mentee might give on campus.
For this aspect of academic life, service expectations are minimal for new tenure-track hires, and typically should not exist at all—except for unit meetings—for visiting, affiliate and adjunct faculty. With that in mind, the mentor early on will make the following points clear to the new hire:
- all tenure-track, visiting, affiliate, and adjunct faculty are expected to attend all regular unit meetings and work towards familiarizing themselves with university, college and unit faculty policies;
- there are no expectations for tenure-track faculty to serve or participate in college or university committees during their first year of appointment; however,
- they are encouraged to represent the unit and college in such university activities as the Laker Day experience and student scholarship interviews in order to meet fellow faculty and staff, and better acquaint themselves with GVSU.
In the second year, the AS mentor’s role will become less formal, and no specific meetings need be scheduled, except that the mentor will meet with the recent hire at the beginning of each semester to again assist her or him with analyzing and benefiting from student course evaluations from the previous semester. And throughout the year, the mentor will continue to be available to meet to discuss challenges in teaching, pedagogical ideas, course improvements, new course development, etc.
Scholarly and Creative Activity
The mentor will continue to be the go-to person for questions about research, writing, publication, and other forms of dissemination. The mentor will be available to the recent hire for other questions about building a record of scholarly and creative achievement.
In this aspect of academic life, the mentor shall make a point of meeting with the recent hire early in the year to encourage her or him to serve on a college or university committee, and be prepared to answered questions about the nature of such committee work, and variation across types of committees. The mentor will also strongly encourage the recent hire to serve the university and local community through participating in, or organizing, activities such as, but not limited to, student-organized events, workshops, research presentations, interviews with local media outlets, panels, or cultural activities organized by local organizations.
The mentor will meet with the recent tenure-track hire to address questions about preparing the portfolio for the 3rd year personnel review, and to offer advice or assistance if requested.
If appropriate, the mentor will offer to be one of the peer reviewers to write up an observation for the recent hire’s 3rd year personnel review portfolio.
Scholarly and Creative Activity
The mentor will continue to be the go-to person for questions about research, writing, publication, and other forms of dissemination. The mentor will continue to be available to the recent hire for other questions about building a record of scholarly and creative achievement.
The mentor will continue to be a resource on service to the academic and Grand Rapids area communities, and continue to strongly encourage the recent hire to fully engage in service to the unit, the college, the university, and the local community.
FOURTH YEAR AND BEYOND
The mentor will meet with the mentee as needed. In the sixth year for tenure-track faculty, the mentor will be available to address questions about preparing the portfolio for the 6th year personnel review, and to offer advice or assistance if requested.
Mentor will be available as needed. If requested, the mentor will offer to be one of the peer reviewers to write up an observation for mentee’s 6th year personnel review portfolio.
Scholarly and Creative Activity
Mentor will be available as needed, particularly in for a tenure-track professor assembling a record of scholarly and creative achievement for the 6th year personnel review portfolio.
Mentor will be available as needed, and be attuned to the mentee’s efforts to balance service with the higher priorities of teaching excellence and scholarly and creative activity.
For the purposes of personnel review and salary adjustment, the role of mentor will be considered a service in the AS unit. For mentors from outside of AS, the question of counting mentorship as service is a matter of their particular college and unit.
To support the mentorship program, AS will periodically compile current information on annual events, community service organizations, non-profit groups, and academic programs in the region that are relevant to the various area studies programs. AS will maintain this information on Blackboard page, available to all AS unit members and staff, and mentors from outside the unit.
***This policy document remains open, and may be amended when deemed necessary by a majority of AS unit members.
Page last modified March 28, 2014