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Mentoring at UNC Children's

The Department of Pediatrics began a formal faculty mentoring program in 2012. Our program is designed to support the career development of faculty at the junior and mid-career level, and to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations in all the missions of the Department. Further, the program will:

  • Foster general support for faculty members to thrive in the academic health center environment
  • Stimulate development of a successful career plan based on clinical care, advocacy, research, or education
  • Review academic activities, ensuring that they meet established performance goals
  • Facilitate productive networking and collaborative partnerships, both inside and outside the Department and UNC
  • Help identify funding opportunities and provide support for improved productivity
  • Provide written feedback for the faculty member, Division Chief, and Department Chair

Eligible Faculty

Department of Pediatrics Faculty who are on the UNC main campus and at the rank of Assistant Professor or who have been Associate Professor for less than 5 years are expected to participate. Associate Professors at rank for more than 5 years and Full Professors are also encouraged to participate, though it is not required.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can established mentoring committees be incorporated into this program?

Yes. If an existing mentoring committee, for example related to a K award, is working well and fits the program’s description, there is no need to replace that committee.

  • Who makes sure mentee assessments are completed?

It is the Faculty member’s responsibility to organize the meetings, and to define goals and supply them to the mentoring committee. The Primary Mentor is responsible for completing and submitting the assessment form annually, with input from the Faculty member and other committee members. In many cases, it has worked well for the Faculty member to draft the report and have it completed by the Primary Mentor after the meeting.

  • Mentors outside of the Department: how do mentees find them, and what is their incentive for mentoring pediatricians?

Often, appropriate mentors outside the Department are easy to identify based on the mentee’s work focus. If not, Faculty should ask their Division Chief, Terry or others (such as other collaborators) for recommendations. The likelihood of a positive response to a request for mentorship is high; mentoring is considered a fundamentally important academic activity by most UNC faculty.

  • When putting together my committee, should I first reach out to potential mentors myself?

Yes, it is very appropriate to ask a prospective mentor if they are willing to do this. The Department will subsequently send them a formal “invitation” to be part of the committee, to recognize the mentor’s role and reinforce its importance to us.

  • Must mentors hold higher ranks than the people they are mentoring?

No, if their experience and expertise are appropriate to serve in a mentoring role for that Faculty member.

  • Will clinical performance be addressed/managed by this program?

No. The mentoring program is to support Faculty development, not evaluate clinical performance by Faculty.

  • Is the mentoring program mostly for researchers?

No. All of our major departmental missions (clinical, advocacy, research, and education) are important. The Faculty Mentoring Program was designed to ensure that Faculty professional development is considered and discussed on a regular basis, regardless of primary mission focus.

  • Can the committee change over time?

Yes. If the Faculty member’s focus changes, it may be appropriate to change the committee membership. To help with any changes needed, the mentoring program can communicate with the mentors involved in the change.

  • Who decides how often the committee meets?

The mentoring committee and Faculty member should meet at least annually, but the frequency of meetings between primary mentor and Faculty member will vary according to the needs and focus of the Faculty member.

  • How can I arrange a mentoring meeting when my committee members are very busy, and some are at other institutions?

Teleconferences are fine for meetings. In some cases faculty have held face to face meetings with part of the group, with separate input from the remainder of the committee by email. When there are not major issues to discuss, a “virtual” meeting with input from the members by email may be appropriate.

  • What’s the difference between mentoring and coaching?

Mentoring typically provides a broad overview of career development at multiple levels, whereas professional coaching typically focuses on specific skill development. The Department of Pediatrics has recently initiated a coaching program to serve as an extension and adjunct to mentoring, when needed. For details click here.


The Department of Pediatrics established its Mentoring Award in 2008, to recognize faculty who have demonstrated exceptional mentoring skills.

Winners of the Department of Pediatrics Mentoring Award:

Name, Degree

Margaret W. Leigh, MD (2008)
Name, DegreeAugustine J. D'Ercole, MD (2008)
Name, DegreeHarvey J. Hamrick, MD (2010)
Name, Degree

Carl L. Bose, MD (2011)
Name, DegreeJacob A. Lohr, MD (2012)
Name, DegreeWayne A. Price, MD (2013)
Name, DegreeJulie S. Byerley, MD, MPH (2014)
Terry L. Noah, MD (2016)
Name, DegreeKenya McNeal - Trice, MD (2017)

Mentoring Training Resources

UNC Center for Faculty Excellence mentoring page

Selected Mentoring Literature

  1. Ludwig S, Stein REK. Anatomy of mentoring. J Pediatr 2008;152:151-2.
  2. Jackson VA et al. “Having the right chemistry”: a qualitative study of mentoring in academic medicine. Acad Med 2003;78:328-334.
  3. Pololi L, Knight S. Mentoring faculty in academic medicine. A new paradigm? J Gen Intern Med 2005;20:866-870.
  4. Sambunjak D et al. Mentoring in academic medicine. A systematic review. JAMA 2006;296:1103-1115.
  5. Detsky AS, Baerlocher MO. Academic mentoring – how to give it and how to get it. JAMA 2007;297:2134-2136.
  6. Johnson WB, Ridley CR. The elements of mentoring. Palgrave Macmillan 2004. New York, NY.
  7. Zerzan JT et al. Making the most of mentors: a guide for mentees. Acad Med 2009;84:140-144.
  8. Leier CV et al. Selecting a mentor: a guide for residents, fellows, and young physicians. Am J Med 2011;124:893-895.
  9. Tobin MJ. 2004. Mentoring: seven roles and some specifics. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 170: 114-7
  10. Tsen LC et al. The development , implementation, and assessment of an innovative faculty mentoring leadership program. Acad Med 2012; 87:1-5.
  11. Tillman RE et al. Policies, activities, and structures supporting research mentoring: a national survey of academic health centers with clinical and translational science awards. Acad Med 2013:88:90-96.
  12. How to Succeed in Academics (Linda L. McCabe, Edward R. B. McCabe. Academic Press, 2000