The traditional image of academic mentoring is of a long-term relationship between an experienced faculty member and a less experienced one in the same discipline—a relationship that may last for several years. And while those relationships still exist, mentoring has expanded to include:

  • Peers or "near peers" (colleagues who are close in career level) who have been through similar experiences.
  • Peer mentoring groups brought together by similar needs.
  • Former professors or employers.
  • Mentoring groups led by one or two experienced faculty members.
  • Individuals who have specialized knowledge needed "in the moment," such as using an academic technology or working effectively with a book editor.
Traditional Mentoring

Traditional mentoring refers to a one-on-one relationship with an experienced faculty member. Your department head can help you identify a mentor for a traditional mentoring relationship who can guide you through your early years.

Peer Mentoring

To develop and maintain your network of peer mentors:

  • Maintain contact with colleagues that you met at New Faculty Orientation.
  • Approach other new faculty in your department who are facing similar challenges.
  • Attend workshops such as Sponsored Research Service’s (SRS) PI Institute where you can meet other new faculty.
  • Contact the Faculty Career Development team in the Innovative Learning Institute at who can connect you with other new faculty.
Group Mentoring

In group mentoring, one or two experienced faculty members mentor a group of mentees (Tansey & Enyeart, 2009). This usually occurs in a group meeting format, so everyone present has opportunities to ask questions and can gain value from the mentor(s).

Your department head will know if your College offers any group mentoring opportunities.

"Ad hoc" Mentors

As you encounter different situations, you can draw on different resources for guidance and advice. While not all of these advisors may be true mentors, they are important elements of your mentoring network and can give you information and perspectives that you can share with peer mentoring partners. Some ad hoc mentors may be found within the following RIT Departments:

  • Faculty Career Development Services
  • Information Services for Research & Instruction (Reference Librarians)
  • Office for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
  • Sponsored Research Services
  • Teaching & Learning Services, Innovative Learning Institute

Individuals from outside of RIT who may act as ad hoc mentors include:

  • Your dissertation advisor
  • Former teachers
  • Professional associations, inside and outside of higher education
  • Former colleagues from school or work

As you build your mentoring network, be sure to seek out support from multiple sources and devote energy to those relationships that prove to be valuable.

Other Mentoring Models

UFAST (Untenured Faculty Accelerated Scholarship Team)

Faculty in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology and Packaging Science (MMET/PS) have developed a variation of the peer mentoring model called UFAST (Untenured Faculty Accelerated Scholarship Team). In UFAST, a group of peers share and commonly track research, scholarship, and grant-related activities and projects for everyone in the group. The group holds regular meetings that enable members to learn from each other. Because this peer mentoring network focused on expectations for scholarly performance, the meetings keep members on track.

You can learn more about UFAST in this paper:
Garrick, Robert, Scott Anson, Mario Castro-Cedeno, Elizabeth Dell, Christopher Greene, Carol Romanowski, Michael Slifka, Larry Villasmil, and James Lee. "UFAST - Practical advice for accelerating new faculty scholarship." ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, 2010.