faculty group at a workshopThe Early Career Mentor Program matches new faculty starting out in their careers with a network of mentors who have successfully received tenure and demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service.

“Taking part in the mentoring program provided me with a friendly face and sounding board outside my college. My mentor provided an opportunity to expand my circle of colleagues and provided feedback on my progress as a new faculty member. My mentor also kept me from taking myself too seriously during the ever-stressful first year on the tenure track.”

Dr. Sarah Pennington, Assistant Professor, Education

Mentorship encompasses all aspects of what we do at Montana State University from understanding the goals and wishes of freshman undergraduate students to guiding graduate students through their academic journey to enabling the success of early career faculty in pursuing excellence in scholarship and teaching throughout faculty careers. As part of this continuum, the CFE Mentoring Coordinators pair early career tenure and non-tenure track faculty with experienced faculty outside of the new faculty member’s college. Matches meet one-on-one two times during fall semester and three times in spring semester. Other meetings are at the discretion of the mentors and early career faculty. Several group meetings of mentees and mentors are scheduled on a variety of topics throughout the year. 

An invitation to new faculty to participate will be sent after they have registered for new faculty orientation or reach out to Nika Stoop at nikastoop@montana.edu

According to research on faculty mentoring, early career faculty or mentees benefit from:

  • Increased productivity, including more publications, more NSF or NIH grants, and an increased likelihood of publishing in a top-tier journal (Blau et al. 2010; Carr et al. 2003)
  • Enhanced tenure and promotion prospects (Johnson 2007; Kosoko-Lasaki et al. 2006; Stanley & Lincoln 2005)
  • Increased sense of support for their research (Carr et al. 2003)
  • Heightened teaching effectiveness (Luna & Cullen 1995)
  • Higher career satisfaction (Carr et al. 2003)
  • Lower feelings of isolation (Carr et al. 2003; Christman 2003; National Academy of Sciences 1997)
  • Greater sense of fit – especially for women and faculty of color – which has been shown to be critical to job satisfaction and retention (Trower 2012)

The Center for Faculty Excellence recruits mentors from within the early career faculty’s department to receive advice and guidance specific to promotion and tenure requirements and from across colleges to gain different perspectives and experiences.  Matches between mentees and mentors are made based on similar teaching, research, and service appointments. 

Mentors can help early career faculty excel in meeting their goals and navigate expectations, requirements, and challenges.  Mentors offer advice and guidance on:

  • Goal Setting
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Promotion and Tenure Requirements
  • Increasing visibility of accomplishments in teaching, research, and service
  • MSU Culture
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Living in Bozeman

Mentors have even conducted classroom observations to provide feedback and reviewed manuscripts for their matches. 

The matches will be expected to meet one-on-one two times during the fall semester and three times in spring semester, including a goal setting exercise.  Other meetings are at the discretion of the mentors and mentees. Several optional mentor program group meetings are scheduled on a variety of topics throughout the year.