The University of Toronto strives to provide effective mentoring to new faculty members through a number of different vehicles. Within UTM, mentors help to orientate and socialize new faculty members to the requirements of academe. In addition, the Office of the Vice-President and Provost, in conjunction with the Office of Teaching Advancement, runs a series of workshops and events designed to help new faculty become familiar with our institutions.

Assignment of Mentors

As a new faculty, you should turn to your chair and your assigned mentor to help you settle into your department and establish your academic footing. The following summarizes the key points of the mentoring program:

  1. UTM faculty who spend a substantial amount of time on the St. George campus are often assigned two mentors: one from UTM and one from the graduate department
  2. All mentors are assigned by the UTM Chair. The Chair should select as a mentor a person whose views toward teaching and research are aligned with those generally accepted by the department.
  3. The Chair ensures that appropriate documents are sent to the incoming new faculty member.
  4. The Chair assigns a mentor to a new faculty member as soon as the offer of appointment is accepted.
  5. This means the mentor can contact the new faculty member in advance and address critical questions and issues before their arrival.
  6. The mentor should be appointed for 3 years, allowing interaction up to the time of the new faculty member's 3 year review.
  7. The department will fund a couple of lunches per year for the mentor and new faculty member.

Mentor's Responsibilities

The mentor should advise the new faculty member in aspects of teaching, research and committee work or be able to direct the new faculty member to the appropriate individuals. Confidentiality - The mentor should treat all dealings and discussions in confidence. There is no requirement to report to the administration. There is no evaluation or assessment of the new faculty member, only supportive guidance and constructive criticism for the efforts. With this in mind, there should be care exercised in using the mentor on the three year review and clearly the new faculty member must approve (or otherwise) the mentor as a reviewer.

Changing Mentors

In cases of changing commitments, incompatibility or in instances where the relationship is not mutually fulfilling, then either the new faculty member or mentor should seek advice from the Vice-Dean, Faculty. It is important to realise that changes can and should be made without prejudice or fault, if the new faculty member or mentor feels that the fit is not an ideal one.

The Mentor

Mentors have been defined as individuals with advanced experience and knowledge who are committed to helping another person in their career planning. A mentor has qualities of wisdom and guidance, and the ability to provide opportunities and direction.

Typical Issues

The issues listed below are typical, though not all inclusive, of the type which should be considered by the new faculty member and the mentor and oftentimes the Chair:

  • How does one establish an appropriate balance between teaching, research, and committee work?
  • How does one say "no"?
  • What funds are available from the department/University? Start-up funds, graduate scholarships, travel / conference, small equipment funds, etc.
  • How is the department organized?
  • How are decisions made?
  • What infrastructure is available to the new faculty member?
  • What should the professional profile be after 3 years?
  • What criteria are used for teaching excellence, how is teaching evaluated, and what is a teaching dossier?
  • What are the grading guidelines for courses?
  • How does one obtain feedback concerning teaching?
  • What resources are available for teaching enhancement?
  • How does one become a member of the Graduate Faculty?
  • What should graduate students expect from their supervisor?
  • What teaching assistantships are available?
  • What should be done about TA training?
  • What are the Health and Safety implications to running a laboratory?
  • What committees should one be on and how much committee work should one expect?
  • How does the 3 year review proceed and how is tenure achieved?
  • What should be included in the annual activity report?
  • Will there be feedback about performance from the Chair, if so how often?
  • What are the policies concerning maternity, family or personal leaves?

Templates for Chairs

Templates below can be adapted to send to newly arrived faculty about the mentorship program and to mentors, confirming their responsibilites:

​For New Faculty Members
For Mentors of New Faculty - Tenure Stream
For Mentors of New Faculty - Teaching Stream