Faculty Mentoring at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Under the leadership of M. Maral Mouradian MD, vice chancellor for faculty development, the schools in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences will be embarking upon a formalized mentoring program. Dr. Mouradian has surveyed faculty at the units of RBHS and identified the value the faculty place on mentoring and the low proportion of faculty reporting a formal mentor (unpublished). Dr. Mouradian has created a template for an Individualized Development Plan, a mentor mentee contract and training for the mentors.

We embark upon this mentoring program for all instructors, assistant professors and associate professors of all tracks with the goal of enhancing the professional accomplishments, career trajectory to promotion, faculty engagement and satisfaction with their position at the school. Our faculty are our most valuable asset.

Faculty Mentoring Matters!

A recent national survey reveals that there is significant dissatisfaction among academic medicine faculty.  In fact, 43% of faculty had plans to leave their institution or academic medicine all together because of significant dissatisfaction.  The factors related to planned attrition include low relatedness, low engagement, low self-efficacy, and low school commitment to improve support for faculty.1 

There is an extensive literature on the value of formal mentoring programs on faculty productivity at academic medical centers.  Clinical faculty who report having a mentor are more satisfied with their position in their medical schools.2Faculty mentoring programs are associated with career satisfaction, career development and advancement, self-efficacy and productivity. 3-14

Principles of the RWJMS Mentoring Program

Multi-tiered: Various programs, activities and resources to be made available at the level of the School, RBHS and Rutgers University. In addition, partnering with different units within RBHS or Rutgers will leverage these resources.

Culture change: The entire School community to actively engage in the process to assure its success.

Accountability: Participation in mentoring activities to be monitored by department chairs/ division chiefs/institute directors as well as centrally by the School’s office of Faculty Development. Mentoring will be part of annual performance evaluations.

Program Core Components:

Administrative Structure:

Provide a central structure with a staff member in the Office of Faculty Development to monitor mentoring activities within the School. The responsibilities of this individual will be to assure that:

  • All faculty members up to the rank of associate professor have a mentoring mini- committee
  • Mentor/menteemeetingsaretakingplaceatleasttwiceperyear
  • Mentees are participating in the required career development workshops, seminars or webinars depending on their academic track (e.g. research grant writing, clinical research, IRB training, IACUC, etc).

Faculty Mentoring Committee will continue to:

  • Oversee mentor training and development
  • Regularly evaluate and improve the program over time
  • Assess feedback from the faculty about the effectiveness of the RWJMS mentoring curriculum offered in Clinical Research Design and in Education

The committee to be staffed and supported by the Dean's office.

  • Require each Department / Division to identify senior faculty mentors, encourage them, and provide them with protected time to attend mentor training workshops and seminars (attached Appendix B). Each department needs a sufficient number of identified mentors to help advise and counsel the faculty in that department.

  • Offer letters to new recruits to identify by name the initial mentor. This is usually the Department Chair, Division Director or Institute Director.

  • New faculty orientation should provide current information that explains their role and responsibilities in the mentoring process.

  • The critical role of the Department Chair, Division Chief, or Institute Director in advising their faculty on selecting mentors and overseeing mentoring activities.

  • Assessment of the relationship between mentors and mentees on an ongoing basis to be the responsibility of the mentees Department Chair/Division Chief/Institute Director.

  • Mentoring activities to be part of faculty annual performance evaluation as a sub- category of Service, with a percent allocated time.

  • There needs to be a separation between mentoring meetings with mentees and faculty annual evaluations, since the goals of the two activities are distinct, and the mentees need to feel comfortable with their mentors as individuals who provide guidance rather than judge or evaluate performance. As stated above, it is hoped and expected that the presence of non-supervisor mentors during mentor-mentee meetings will mitigate these concerns.

  • The webpage for Faculty Development office to have an up-to-date schedule of the RWJMS faculty mentoring research curriculum and links to mentoring programs across RBHS and Rutgers University (attached Appendix B). This webpage to also post the names of mentors in each academic unit.

    Core Curriculum:

  • Require mentors to attend at least one mentor training workshop offered by theNational Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and/or a workshop to become a grant writing coach offered by the Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops LLC (attached Appendix B).

  • Require mentees to attend training classes offered by the RWJMS faculty mentoring research curriculum in clinical research design, IRB regulations and procedures, as well as IACUC, grantsmanship (offered by Grant Writers’ Seminar and Workshops LLC), publications as appropriate for their academic track. RWJMS Mentoring Program has teamed up with CINJ that administers a clinical research course. Additional training opportunities are available to RWJMS faculty at Rutgers University (attached Appendix B).

  • Train the trainer model. Senior faculty trained as mentors through attending workshops given by professional mentor trainers and administered by NRMN or Grant Writers’ Seminars and Workshops are then asked to function as instructors to train the next cohorts of faculty mentors at RWJMS. While this can be an effective and cost saving measure to increase the number of trained mentors at the School, three conditions are required for the success of this program at RWJMS:

Considerable time commitment is needed for senior faculty to engage in this training activity, and this requires protected time from other missions. NJMS has started this approach and they are interested in providing this type of training at RWMS as well.

A critical mass of mentors and potential mentors. Currently, RWJMS lacks sufficient number of senior faculty to be trained as successive cohorts of mentors. This is considered a major challenge for the train-the-trainer model at the School.

Proven effectiveness of this model within these constraints. Feedback received from a recent train-the-trainer opportunity using this model did not meet RWJMS attendee expectations. This could be attributed to the superior training provided

by professional mentor trainers who have extensive experience conducting these workshops.

Accordingly, the recommendation is to have an annual workshop by professional mentor trainers in the NRMN network or an equivalent group supported by RBHS for its entire faculty to be held on alternating campuses.

Elements of the Program:

  • Mentees to be involved in choosing their mentors within 6 months of initial appointment. Research shows that mentees who have more input into selecting their mentors are more satisfied with the mentoring relationship. Mentees can also switch mentors at a later time if the focus of their scholarly activity or academic track changes, and if the mentor-mentee relationship does not work out.

  • Identifying a “mini-committee” of mentors (2-3 members) for each junior faculty appropriate for their academic track and professional interests. Members of these mini- mentoring committees can be within the Department, School or outside the School elsewhere at Rutgers. In special circumstances, mentors can also be at other institutions.

  • The mentoring needs of faculty in research, clinical educator, clinical scholar, and professional practice tracks require special consideration. These faculty members who are not engaged in independent, investigator-initiated, funded research need senior mentors with experiences in similar academic and professional activities as the mentees to assure their success in clinical, education, collaborative research and other scholarly activities. In some instances, it may be sufficient and appropriate for faculty in these tracks to have one mentor rather than a mini-committee of mentors. This will be determined by the Department Chair/Division Chief/Institute Director.

  • Clearly stated goals and milestones in the Individual Development Plan (IDP)(attached Appendix A) and signed agreement between mentors and mentees(attached Appendix C). The objective of this process is to assist faculty in developing and achieving short-term and long-term career goals. Identifying short-term objectives will give faculty a clearer sense of their own expectations and help identify milestones along the way to achieving specific goals. For Tenure-Track faculty, the IDP will specify preparation and submission of grant proposals with emphasis on federal funding.

    Recognition for Mentors:

  • Establish new mentoring awards in addition to the Edelman (Clinical Research) and Schlesinger (Basic Research) awards to recognize and motivate senior faculty to engage in this important service to the School. Recognition of mentoring in Education, and in Clinical Practice Development are recommended. If no deserving individual is identified in a given year, the award should not be given.

  • Credit for mentoring can also be broadened by recognizing nominees, and not just winners, by providing nominees with letters of commendation and announcing their names at the Dean’s Faculty meeting. But it is strongly recommended that this announcement not coincide with the meeting when winners are announced.

Faculty Mentoring Survey

Have you filled out our survey? 

If you are an instructor, assistant, or associate professor and have not completed the survey, please keep reading.

This anonymous survey is designed to help us improve professional development activities at the school. Thanks to those who have completed it (we are approaching 38% response rate).  Here is the original message and link to the survey which takes only a few minutes!

Dear Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Instructor,

Please help the Office of Academic Affairs enhance your professional development by participating in an evaluation of the new Formal Mentoring Program we are introducing.  Simply click on the link below to complete a confidential survey.   For your convenience the consent will be contained in the link and is also provided below.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thank you for your consideration.  -Carol A. Terregino, MD

Faculty Mentoring Program Survey

Informed Consent Form

Study Title:   The Effect of a Formalized Mentoring Program on Perception of Mentoring
                    Behaviors, Professional and Scholarly Activities, and Faculty Satisfaction
                    with Professional Development

You are being asked to participate in a research study that is being conducted by Dr. Carol A. Terregino at the Rutgers University. This is a study that is related to the Formal Mentoring Program that is being implemented at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Purpose of the study:

The purpose of this study is to determine your perceptions about mentoring behaviors, professional and scholarly activities, and satisfaction with your professional development and your position at the school.   You will be one of approximately 440 subjects who are full time faculty at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and are at the instructor, assistant professor or associate professor rank.

What will be done?

 You will complete a survey, which will take 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey includes questions about your current academic track, your understanding of promotion guidelines, professional achievement in your track, scholarly productivity and your satisfaction with your current position at the school.  You will then be asked if you have a formal or informal mentor.  If you have a formal or informal mentor you will then complete a series of questions on observed mentoring behaviors.  After you complete this baseline survey, we will examine the findings of all of the subjects.

This academic year, as a standard program for all faculty below the rank of full professor, a formal mentoring program will be implemented. You will be required to identify a mentor, to sign a mentor-mentee agreement, develop an individual development plan with long term and short-term goals and review these goals with your mentor. The mentoring program is required by the school.  This survey will evaluate its effectiveness.

The survey is anonymous, however in order to track the results for each individual participant, you will be asked to create a unique five-digit identifier (we suggest the last four digits of your phone number and your middle initial) so that we can link your surveys together.  The survey will be distributed again for the next four academic years.  The first follow-up survey will occur in AY 2019-2020, when all faculty have been in the mentoring program for at least one year. We are interested in seeing the effect of formal mentoring on your professional achievements, your satisfaction with your professional development and your place at the school and, your experience with mentoring behaviors.

We expect the study to last about five years. Participation in this study is voluntary.  The only alternative to this study is not to participate.  

Risks or discomforts:

Minimal risks are anticipated from taking part in this study. If you feel uncomfortable with a question, you can skip that question or withdraw from the study altogether. If you decide to quit at any time before you have finished the questionnaire, your answers will NOT be recorded.

Benefits of this study:

There is no direct benefit to you for participating in this study. You will be contributing to knowledge about the effect of the implementation of formal mentoring on faculty satisfaction.  You may benefit from the reflective activity prompted by the survey items.

Compensation:

You will not be compensated for your participation in this study.

Confidentiality:

Your responses will be kept completely confidential. We will NOT know your IP address when you respond to the Internet survey. We will ask you to include a personal identifier  created by and known only to youwhen you complete the Internet survey. We will not collect your name or IP address and only your personal identifier created by you will be stored with data from your surveys.   

The researchers will not see your individual survey responses and the results. All information you provide will be treated confidentially.  Qualtrics will be used to distribute the survey.  Once data collection is complete there will be no link between the survey data and identity.  The principal investigator has put in place adequate protections for your privacy in that all information provided will be kept confidential by using only your personally-created identifier to link your survey data together.  

Withdrawal:

Your participation is voluntary; you are free to withdraw your participation from this study at any time. If you do not want to continue, you can simply leave this website. If you do not click on the "submit" button at the end of the survey, your answers and participation will not be recorded. You also may choose to skip any questions that you do not wish to answer. 

How the findings will be used:

The results of the study will be used for to determine the effectiveness of the mentoring program for RWJMS faculty. The results from the study will be presented in to the faculty and professional meetings, and the results may be published in a journal in the future.

Contact information:

If you have concerns or questions about this research study, please contact the PI Carol A. Terregino, MD at 732-235-4906

If you have questions about your rights as a research subject, please contact the IRB Director at (732)-235-9806 New Brunswick/Piscataway.

By beginning the survey, you acknowledge that you have read this information and agree to participate in this research, with the knowledge that you are free to withdraw your participation at any time without penalty.

Faculty Mentoring Program Survey

Mentors

Who are the Mentees and Mentors?

Faculty in academic ranks up to and including Associate Professor are required to have a mentor(s) responsible for providing career guidance and support. In many cases, a team of 2-3 mentors can serve as a mini-committee for an individual mentee. One of these should be the primary research or scholarly mentor, but the other(s) do not need to be closely familiar with the mentee’s specific research interests. It is strongly recommended that the mentee’s department chair/ division chief/institute director not be part of this mini-committee to avoid creating an uncomfortable situation for the mentee by blurring the boundaries between being mentored and evaluated. However, department chairs/ division chiefs/institute directors need to monitor the mentoring process for their faculty to assure that the mentee’s progress is aligned with departmental expectations. Members of the mini-committee need not be in the mentee’s department or school.

It is also recommended that faculty members above the associate professor level have access to unstructured mentoring as needed.

Qualifications of Mentors:

  • Commitment to mentoring and preferably a successful track record in mentoring

  • Interested in developing mentee’s career

  • A match with mentee’s professional and personal needs

  • Professional competence

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

  • Knows the institution and can provide networking opportunities both within and outside

    the institution

Responsibilities of Mentors:

  • Meet with mentees at least twice per year. While mentees are responsible for initiating these meetings, the mentor is also responsible for ensuring that the meetings take place

  • Be available to the mentee as needed should urgent matters arise.

  • Establish expectations and clearly communicate them to the mentee

  • Design and communicate clear goals for the mentoring relationship

  • Put mentees’ interest above self interest

  • Listen to and consider the expectations of their mentee

  • Teach by example

  • Assess the mentee’s knowledge and skill level and adjust the mentoring process accordingly

  • Encourage and motivate mentees to move beyond their comfort zone

  • Provide specific and timely feedback including strengths and assets, as well as areas for growth, development and enhancement. Feedback on potentially harmful behaviors or attitudes is needed when appropriate.

  • Consider how differences in culture and identity may affect the relationship

  • Review all relevant material (e.g. CV, publications, abstracts, summary of grant proposals, promotion package, Individual Development Plan (attached Appendix Aetc.) provided by the mentee prior to meetings

  • Be sure you have accurate and current information on advancement and promotion policies for the mentee’s academic track at RBHS

  • Help mentees set appropriate career goals and advise them of the specific requirements for promotion in their academic track

  • Encourage and help facilitate scholarly activities including publications, grants,introduction to potential collaborators, enrollment in professional development programs, career advice, allocation of effort, conferences, study sections, presentations, and nominations for appropriate awards and society memberships.

Mentor/Mentee Partnering Agreement

Mentees

Responsibilities of Mentees:

  • Be respectful to mentors

  • Make arrangements to meet with your mentor(s) at least twice per year. Take initiative.

  • To assist their mentors in giving them relevant advice/counseling, mentees should write down at least three short-term (6-12 months) and three long-term (3-5 years) professional goals in their Individual Development Plan (IDP) to be discussed and perhaps revised at the mentor/mentee meetings

  • Provide relevant documents (e.g. updated CV, publications, abstracts, summary of grant proposals, promotion package, Individual Development Plan) to be reviewed by mentors at least one week prior to each meeting

  • Mentees need to familiarize themselves with their academic track and promotion requirements so that they can plan and discuss their career path accordingly with their mentors

  • Provide mentor with feedback whether advice given is beneficial and solves an issue, and whether the mentor’s communication styles creates challenges to a positive mentoring experience

  • Participate in faculty development workshops and seminars

  • Participate in mentoring evaluation

Mentor-Mentee Partnering Agreement

Individual Development Plan

Clinical Educator Track Sample IDP

Professional Practice Track Sample IDP 

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) provides a planning process that identifies career goals, objectives necessary for achieving career goals, professional development needs, and progress toward achieving the career goals for RWJMS faculty.  Each faculty member should complete and submit an IDP within six months of his or her initial appointment. Subsequently, each faculty member should complete and submit a renewed IDP at the time of reappointment or when necessary based on a change in career direction.

Benefits of the IDP

Faculty will have a clear process that assists in developing and achieving long-term career goals. Identifying short-term objectives will give faculty a clearer sense of their own expectations and help identify milestones along the way to achieving specific goals. The IDP provides a tool for communication between the faculty member and their mentors. It is a good idea to review your IDP on an annual basis to ensure you are on track and take the opportunity to revise your IDP as needed.

Career Goals and Objectives

Your long-term career goals should be achievable through a series of short-term and medium-term goals. You are advised to identify 3 short-term (6-12 months) and 3 long-term goals (3-5 years) and the specific steps you will take to achieve each of your goals. Your objectives (or sub goals) will vary in scale. Some might be relatively complex, while others might only require simple one-off actions.Feel free to add career development or learning activities to accommodate the specific action steps needed to achieve a goal.

Using “SMART” criteria can assist in creating more clear and focused goals. “SMART” goals are:

Specific – State the task(s) at hand

Measureable – Quantitative or qualitative, manage the expectation

Achievable – Scope and resources permitting – specify!

Relevant – Tie your goals to your overall Development Plan

Time bound – State the deadline

When articulating objectives to complete your goals, include both strengths to leverage and areas needing further development. A strength to leverage signifies a knowledge, skill or ability that, while already a strength, could be used more effectively, maintained, or further developed to optimize performance. A development need signifies what knowledge, skills or abilities should improve as a result of the learning activities.

Mentor or Mentorship Committee

Identify one or more faculty members who will serve as a mentor or mentoring mini-committee, assist you in reaching your goals, andhelp guide your career development according to our institutional faculty mentoring and development guidelines. You should seek input from your Department Chair/Division Director/Supervisor in identifying your mentor(s). But your Supervisor should not be one of your mentors. Mentors may or may not be within your department or even school. They could be across RBHS, Rutgers University, or even in other institutions depending on your career needs. Your mentor(s) should meet with you initially to review your plan and make suggestions and recommendations. They should review your progress at least twice per year. It is the responsibility of the mentee to organize these meetings. 

Outline of the IDP process

The development, implementation and revision of the IDP require a series of steps to be conducted by the faculty mentee and the mentorship mini-committee. These steps are an interactive effort whereby both parties must participate fully in the process.

Mentors and Mentees can download the IDP form below:

Individual Development Plan

Looking for a mentor?

View a list of our RWJMS Core Mentors here

Need assistance with getting started with your Individual Development Plan?

Sign up for an IDP Session!

Contacts

Carol A. Terregino, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Education and Academic Affairs
Professor of Medicine
carol.terregino@rutgers.edu

Frecia S. Tapia, M.A.
Chief of Staff, Office of Education and Academic Affairs
frecia.tapia@rutgers.edu
p. 732-235-2808 

Come visit our Faculty Mentoring Hub! 

675 Hoes Lane West, Research Tower - Room 132, Piscataway