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Important Steps To Skillful Mentoring Of New Faculty: Avoiding The Pitfalls

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.563.1 - 6.563.5



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Tina Varma

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Virendra Varma

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Session 1675

Important Steps to Skillful Mentoring of New Faculty: Avoiding the Pitfalls

Virendra K. Varma, Tina Varma Missouri Western State College / Northwest Missouri State University


There is a high rate of turn-over of new faculty members at colleges and universities. Many new faculty members elect to leave their current institutions and join new ones only after a year or two of service. Research shows a lack of support and mentoring as major causes of turn-over of new faculty members at institutions of higher education. Turn-over of new faculty is costly to institutions due to costs associated with the recruitment processes, and other investments made by the institutions in professional training and development of new faculty. The initial faculty support system offered to new faculty through skillful mentoring proves beneficial to both the new faculty and the institution. Mentoring involves a mosaic of services of several experienced faculty and the department chair. This paper addresses the important steps in establishing a structured mentoring program for new faculty; it keys in on the needs of new faculty and highlights the contributions that the senior faculty and the department chair can make to create mentoring relationships that foster collegiality among the junior and senior faculty and enhance retention rates of new faculty members. This paper is also based on the authors’ own experiences, experiences of several others, and student expectations of new faculty members. A set of recommendations are made on what to include, and what pitfalls to avoid for instituting a successful and effective mentoring program for new faculty members at institutions of higher education.


Mentoring college teachers is no more complex than mentoring new professionals in industry. The survival of new ’hires’ depends largely on two things: 1) the individual’s own constitution and strengths, and 2) the support system of the organization for the new hires. Many institutions of higher education provide some form of mentoring to new faculty. Mentoring programs for college and university teachers can range from totally informal to highly structured programs. Informal mentoring programs which allow new faculty to engage in self-selecting of mentors tend to be less successful compared to formal and structured programs where the institutions provide well-supported and well-funded mentoring programs. Whatever the shape and form of the mentoring program, the ultimate test lies in how well the new faculty adjust to the new culture of the institution, and become a part of the institution.

The loss of new faculty is demoralizing to departments, and to the institution as a whole. The retention of good and promising faculty is just as important as is their recruitment. Recruitment processes are expensive and time-consuming. The return of investments made by the institutions in the training and professional development activities of new faculty amounts literally to nothing if the newly-hired faculty choose not to stay after their initial period of adjustment. This

"Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ‹ 2001, American Society for Engineering Education"

Varma, T., & Varma, V. (2001, June), Important Steps To Skillful Mentoring Of New Faculty: Avoiding The Pitfalls Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9361

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