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Establishing a Faculty Mentoring Committee:

The creation of a mentoring committee is one of the early and important opportunities to take charge of one’s career, as is the initiative with which one makes use of the committee.  Faculty will begin assembling their committees as they begin their appointment in the Department, under the approval of the Department Chair.

The Faculty member will propose 3 or more committee members from both the Department of Pediatrics and other appropriate departments. Ideally, there will be at least one mentor from outside of UNC Pediatrics.  One person (typically the primary mentor) will serve as chair of the committee. The Mentoring Program Coordinator will ask each of the committee candidates if they are willing to serve on the committee. Once at least three members have agreed to serve, they will receive information on committee composition, chair designation, goals of the program, and next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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.

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, Vice Chair for Academic Affairs 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.

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 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. 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.

How does the Chair’s office use the reports?

The Faculty Mentoring Program is intended to support career development, and is not an evaluation. Annual mentoring reports are used by the Chair’s office to help ensure that Faculty are thriving and advancing in their chosen career goals, and to identify ways in which Department administration can help.  However, mentoring reports may in some cases be included or referenced in the required annual faculty review process, for example to document the mentoring committee’s discussions of advancement toward promotions.

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?

Ideally the committee will all meet together, either in person or virtually, but in some cases it may be necessary to have multiple meetings to get input from all.  In many divisions, the administrator can help schedule these meetings.

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.