MTP: Mentor Definitions for Mentoring Junior Faculty

Updated 10/11/11

General Concepts: Mentor Definitions for UCSF

In an effort to have similar definitions for mentors, this document has been reviewed by Jeffrey N. Martin, MD, Director, CTSI TICR Program; Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, Rafael Gonzales MD; Stephen B. Hulley, MD; Emily von Scheven, MD, MAS Director, CTSI Resident Ambassadors; Jeanette S. Brown, MD Director CTSI Comprehensive Mentoring Program, & Mitchell D. Feldman, MD MPhil, Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Mentoring.

Every junior faculty member should be paired with a Career Mentor through the Faculty Mentoring Program.

1. Career Mentors are responsible for overall career guidance and support for their mentee. The Career Mentor is usually in the mentee's department, should not be their direct supervisor and is assigned (or approved) by the departmental mentoring facilitator affiliated with the Faculty Mentoring Program. Scheduled meetings take place at least 2-3 times per year.

2. Research/Scholarly Mentors are responsible for the overall research and/or scholarly career guidance and support for their mentee. Specifically, the Research/Scholarly Mentor actively participates in the development of the creative and independent research careers of their mentees. The Research/Scholarly Mentor must have expertise in the mentee’s area of research or scholarship and often shares resources with the mentee that may include databases, space, funding, and research staff that can facilitate the mentee's research.

Research/Scholarly Mentors assist with communication of findings including:

  • oral presentations, writing of abstracts, manuscripts and
  • development of grant applications and
  • securing funding.

As important, they provide guidance to their mentees about didactic coursework and training opportunities and help them to identify potential collaborators. Scheduled meetings take place 1-2 times per month or as needed to achieve the mentee's research goals.

3. Project Mentors have a more limited role. They typically will supervise the completion of a defined, time-limited project, ie data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation, grant preparation, etc. This is an excellent way for a more junior faculty member to begin mentoring others, learning many of the skills that will eventually allow them to become a Research/Scholarly Mentor. For instance, s/he may supervise a summer research project, a 1-year commitment of research, or s/he may assist with the writing of papers, research grants and research reviews. Scheduled meetings will vary in timing, depending on the level of activity for the specified project(s).

4. Co-Mentors work with the mentee and their other mentors as part of a mentoring team to provide more specialized or different content area or methodological expertise. For example, for a clinical researcher such co-mentors may include a statistician, and/or a laboratory-based scientist. Scheduled meetings occur every 1-3 months.

5. Advisors have informal relationships with mentees and typically are less invested than mentors in the long-term career success of the mentee. Advisors may assist in such areas as developing and refining the mentee's program of research, networking and personal-professional balance. Meetings are arranged on an as needed basis.

Individual/Career Development Plan (IDP/CDP): All junior faculty members are encouraged to use an IDP/CDP to guide career planning. Examples can be found at these Web pages: Faculty Mentoring Program and Mentoring Meeting and Individual Development Plan.

Mentoring Team approach: A team approach to mentoring may be more appropriate for many junior faculty members to fulfill their mentoring/career goals, particularly those in tracks that require significant research/scholarship for advancement. The mentoring team helps to ensure that the mentee is progressing in a timely fashion to fulfill their mentoring/career goals. If a mentoring team is assembled, it is important for the junior faculty member to identify a "Lead Mentor" (Mentor definitions below). The team must include (in addition to their Lead Mentor) a Career Mentor (s), and may include Co-Mentor (s), Project Mentor (s), and additional Research/Scholarly mentor (s). Scheduled Mentoring Team meetings take place at least 2 times per year.

Lead Mentor. The designation of "Lead Mentor" implies a major leadership role of the mentor for the mentee. A Lead Mentor often provides resources to support the mentee's work, advises their mentees about career direction and academic promotion, navigating institutional challenges and opportunities as well as facilitating networking on a local, national, and international level. Lead Mentors are familiar with faculty members and resources within and outside of their discipline institution and assist the mentee with building a mentoring team. Scheduled meetings occur 1-2 times per month.

Back to top