Mentors are trusted and experienced advisors who have a direct interest in the development and education of less experienced colleagues.
In a cohort mentoring model, mentoring can take many forms; the particular role you play may encompass one or more of the following for different members of the cohort:
- Advisor: Provide your mentees with useful information about the College; help ease your mentees’ transition into the College, (especially about “decoding” the College’s culture where this is different from their prior institution); help connect your mentees with the numerous resources for their development available within the College community.
- Role model: Teach your mentees how to succeed in the College by modeling how individuals in senior positions conduct themselves and interact with others.
- Coach: Advise your mentees on how to set realistic professional goals and encourage them to pursue them; provide a “reality check” on their progress; offer advice about your mentees’ professional decisions (about involvement in professional organizations, College committees, research projects, etc.); provide concrete assistance with issues that arise in their teaching or in relationships with their departmental colleagues.
- Cheerleader: Encourage the mentees’ self-esteem through supportive, nonjudgmental discussions and “pep talks;” offer the mentees social and emotional support.
All this may sound like a tall order, perhaps even an impossible task. But remember: it is not your responsibility to be all these things to your mentees all the time. Rather, your job is to provide the types of support you can, and to direct your mentees to others who can provide other types of support that they might need.