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The Mission of the Faculty Mentor Program

The Ripon College Faculty Mentor Program is designed to provide each new faculty member with the kind of personalized support and guidance they need to fulfill their professional potential.

The Role of Mentoring in New Faculty Orientation

Mentoring is the most individualized aspect of new faculty orientation at the college. While formal workshops and informal “coffee chats” scheduled throughout the year provide new faculty members with a wide array of critical resources, the Faculty Mentor Program speaks directly to the unique needs of each new member of our community. The senior faculty members who serve as mentors respond directly to the needs and interests of the new faculty with whom they are paired. Mentors are available not only to answer specific questions, but, more fully, to introduce new faculty members to the college community, to acclimate new faculty members to the values of the institution, and to assist new faculty members in the process of envisioning and advancing toward the next stages of their professional development. Although the formal mentoring relationship extends only through the new faculty member’s first year at Ripon College, the bonds new faculty form with their mentors endure far beyond a single academic year.

The Pairing Process

All full-time faculty are paired with a faculty mentor during their first year at the college. Senior faculty members volunteer to serve as Faculty Mentors. At Ripon, mentors normally are paired with new faculty from a different academic field; cross-disciplinary mentoring enacts the kinds of interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration that are hallmarks of faculty culture on our campus. The Dean of Faculty and the Faculty Development Coordinator take the personal and professional interests of both mentors and new faculty members into account when establishing pairings.

The Mentoring Relationship

The most rewarding mentoring relationships evolve when the two faculty members openly communicate their individual needs and expectations to each other, then work together to set shared, mutually beneficial goals for the year. Mentoring pairs are encouraged to attend faculty development programs designed specifically for their benefit and also social functions such as the annual new faculty/mentor dinner hosted by the college president. However, the most successful mentoring partnerships move beyond those events to establish their own agendas.