Please cite this publication in the following format:
Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation. (2016). Faculty Mentoring for Teaching Report. Toronto: Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto
Mentoring for teaching at the University of Toronto currently takes a variety of forms. While formal approaches (mentor-mentee matches) occur in several divisions, there is a gap in the clarity of the matching process, and few mechanisms in place for ensuring optimal matches are made, sustained and of benefit to both parties. Few matches from our U of T faculty, for example, described specific goal setting or processes to recognize a mentor’s dedication and commitment to the mentoring relationship. There is almost non-existent ongoing monitoring and/or formative and summative evaluation of existing mentoring programs.
The context-specific data included in this research report, alongside the most relevant and compelling research on mentoring, highlights a number of mentoring models and approaches that can be adopted at U of T. We encourage key players in faculty mentoring to consider core success factors that are detailed in the literature and from promising practices currently occurring in various departments at U of T, as they work to strengthen future mentoring opportunities. Included in these success factors are a supportive administration, both at the departmental and divisional levels, that recognize the benefits of a range of mentoring opportunities and in turn prioritizes these alongside broader institutional priorities and objectives related to the enhancement of teaching and the provision of faculty leadership opportunities. Mentoring for teaching can play an integral role in aligning with and offering the support needed by many continuing appointment faculty, whether new to their appointments or within a mid-career stage and seeking to enhance their leadership capabilities.
This report offers evidence that faculty of all career stages, but particularly those new to U of T, can benefit from a formal, matched dyadic mentoring for teaching model that enables both skilled mentors and committed mentees to engage in purposeful and intentional activities to meet the identified teaching/learning needs of the junior faculty member. Such matches offer myriad opportunities for reciprocal learning to take place, as noted by even the most experienced and accomplished U of T faculty (e.g., President’s Teaching Award winners). These formal matches serve as a foundation to learning about additional mentoring opportunities at U of T: peer supported, co-mentoring groups and larger networks and learning communities that frequently meet in-person and/ or in an online community on a focused topic (e.g., SoTL or the Online Learning CoP). Faculty benefit most when engaged in a combination of these formal and informal learning activities, as aligned with their needs. Many of these activities emerge from supportive departmental cultures that create ‘teaching climates’ – spaces, both physical and figurative where faculty can openly discuss and celebrate the role of effective and innovative teaching at the University of Toronto. As well, such climates draw on and contribute to the broader institutional resources and expertise available through teaching and learning networks and centres across the University of Toronto.