The English Department Mentoring Program is an innovative program designed to accomplish multiple objectives. Specifically, the program 1) provides support and professional instruction, 2) creates opportunities to enhance departmental collegiality, and 3) generates new infrastructural mechanisms to assist minority and other under-represented members of the department. The program embraces a multi-directional model of mentorship that encourages participants to develop meaningful and productive affiliations across ranks and experiences.
Central to the Mentoring Program are the “mentoring cohorts”—mixed groups of faculty, advanced grad students, and incoming grad students who meet twice a semester to get to know each other, talk about professional and academic issues, and serve as practical resources for issues and questions that might come up during the year. While many people think of academic mentoring in terms of apprenticeship, we focus on the importance of reciprocity in productive mentoring relationships. As such, the mentoring cohorts are designed to encourage a view of mentoring as mutual and multidirectional; they are structures that seek to nurture the myriad ways in which we can all work to support each other.
There are three major tracks by which the program works to support graduate students. On one track, interested members of the department participate in mentoring cohorts, mixed groups which meet two times each semester to address a variety of issues about being successful in the program and professionally. The second track of the program, open to everyone in the department (not just the people participating in the cohorts), focuses on targeted professional development by sponsoring four workshops a year on topics of professional interest and concern. The third track of the program addresses the specific needs of minority and other under-represented populations, sponsoring by-invitation-only workshops and events designed to acknowledge some of the particular challenges faced by such students and faculty members.
For more information about the program, please contact the Director, Professor Tina Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org).