Workshop given by Sam Ball, PhD
Guidance from a mentor can be instrumental to the success of faculty. Similarly, providing guidance to a mentee can be remarkably rewarding.
Although many such relationships develop organically over time, there are an ever-growing number of programs at Yale School of Medicine that more formally organize resources for mentors and mentees.
Workshop given by Sam Ball, PhD
Types of Mentors
The most traditional form of mentoring involves a senior faculty member providing career development advice, support, assistance with goal setting, and sponsorship to a more junior faculty member. Of note, different individuals can be most helpful at different phases of one’s career.
In general, three types of relationships with more senior faculty members in your school are important to have as part of an overall mentoring plan: 1) job supervisor; 2) appointment and promotion (A&P) advisor(s); 3) career mentor.
A job supervisor is essential for regular and as-needed meetings for communication about the responsibilities for which you were hired. Feedback on your performance should be both formative (during the year) and summative in the form of an annual evaluation of your various academic activities.
An A&P advisor or committee is important for providing guidance on specific activities to pursue that will increase your chance for promotion at your next academic review. This individual or small group within your department is essential for advising you as well as departmental leadership on your readiness for reappointment or promotion based on your level of accomplishments and reputation. An annual meeting with this kind of mentoring committee can assist you with development of an individual plan of activities for the coming year.
A career mentor may or may not be the same as one of those listed in the above categories. This person provides a blend of broader support, perspective, and guidance on your career direction. This may involve a long-term relationship involving a couple scheduled meetings each year with periodic check-ins at times of strategic career planning or decision making. Alternatively, it may involve a more frequent, but time-limited series of meetings focused on the completion of a specific task or transition.
In addition to school or hospital-based mentoring relationships with more senior faculty or managers, many faculty find it very useful to obtain mentoring from people outside their institutions. This can involve distance mentoring by phone or video meetings a couple times a year in addition to periodic emailing. Or, it may involve informal face-to-face meetings at conferences you both attend. These relationships often develop naturally through collaborative research projects, professional organization committee work, and clinical or educational guideline or accreditation initiatives.
Other faculty find peer mentoring or group mentoring helpful to support their completion of specific tasks (e.g., writing accountability group, leadership position onboarding group). However, it is recommended that distance or peer mentoring be supplemental rather than substitute for the mentoring from one or more senior faculty within one’s department or school.