Faculty Development and Mentoring
Outlines processes for key areas of faculty development.
The continuous professional development of faculty members, from hiring, through the tenure process, promotion, and post-tenure review (PTR), is necessary for the University to enhance its recruitment of and investment in faculty. The strength of the University, in terms of student learning (teaching), the creation of new knowledge (research) and leadership and service to the university, the community and the profession, depends upon an intellectually vigorous faculty constantly updating its skills and expertise. The purpose of this policy is to outline processes for key areas of faculty development.
II. Policy Statement
Pre-Tenure Faculty Development
Departments and colleges/schools, which invest considerable time and resources in the hiring process and which thus have a stake in the retention of these new hires, share a responsibility to nurture the talents of their tenure-track faculty members by providing relevant information and advice. Ultimately, however, it is the individual faculty member's responsibility to develop the teaching and research skills and a work plan that produces the quality and quantity of professional activity needed to warrant tenure.
- Information Provided
At the time of hire, tenure-track faculty members must be provided with the University's standards and procedures for tenure, including the primary unit’s written criteria for tenure and promotion and a timeline for the tenure review process. In addition to web-based policies and guidelines, colleges and schools shall provide their tenure-track faculty members opportunities for annual training and information sessions on the tenure process.
A mentor is an individual who provides career development counseling, either formally or informally, to assist a pre-tenure faculty member.
Mentoring opportunity(ies) refers to a range of professional assistance provided to pre-tenure faculty on such subjects as the tenure process, teaching, publishing, creative work, research, grants, etc.
Tenure-track faculty members need clear guidance about performance expectations for tenure and may benefit from mentoring to achieve tenure. Ordinarily, the obligation to provide reasonable mentoring opportunities for tenure-track faculty members rests with the primary units. However, in some cases, it may make more sense for the campus’s faculty development office or a school or college to take responsibility for providing mentoring opportunities. Together, the dean and faculty of each school/college shall determine whether to have unit-based mentoring or campus/school/college-based mentoring.
Tenured faculty members who participate significantly in mentoring should be able to count mentoring activities in the annual merit evaluation process. The school/college will provide training for faculty members who agree to serve as mentors.
Department chairs/unit heads have the responsibility to assist any tenure-track faculty member who requests a mentor to locate an appropriate mentor on the campus. In some units, it may be helpful to identify an external mentor from another CU campus or from outside the university. External assistance, however, cannot be assured. If the mentoring program is formal, records of the dates, times, and general subjects of the mentoring sessions should be documented.
While the primary unit (or school/college, if not the primary unit) has a responsibility to provide reasonable mentoring opportunities, tenure-track faculty members have a responsibility for proactively seeking mentoring assistance.
Tenure-track faculty members who believe they are not getting adequate mentoring are responsible for bringing their situation to the attention of the unit head. If they are not satisfied with the mentoring opportunities the unit head provides, they should bring this concern to the attention of the dean.
- Advising on Progress toward Tenure
Tenure-track faculty members receive specific feedback on their progress toward tenure at the Comprehensive Review (usually in the fourth year). They may also request additional feedback from the primary unit in the second and any subsequent year prior to the tenure decision (except the academic year in which the Comprehensive Review is undertaken). In this feedback process, the primary unit shall examine evidence provided by the candidate of the candidate's teaching, research/creative work and clinical activity and leadership and service and make suggestions for improvement in those areas where the record should be stronger. These suggestions are not intended to provide the level of specific formal feedback that is provided through the Comprehensive Review. The primary unit may recommend that the candidate work with senior faculty members and/or with a campus office of faculty development. If the candidate elects these pre-tenure advising sessions, the candidate shall report this fact in the annual report of professional activity (FRPA), but the content of these consultations shall remain confidential unless the faculty member elects otherwise.
Post-Tenure Faculty Development Grants
The need for professional development in teaching and research continues after a faculty member is awarded tenure. While research, travel, and other types of grant programs exist, faculty members may still need occasional assistance or access to new opportunities. PTR is the logical process for evaluating the faculty member's continued professional development and identifying areas of need. Each campus should consider developing a fund to support a small number of post-tenure development grants, together with criteria and a process for making the awards. Each Chancellor shall provide the Board, as part of the annual PTR report, information on post-tenure development programs and grants.
Non-Tenure-Track Faculty (NTTF)
The need for professional development also exists for those non-tenure-track faculty members who teach for the university for extended periods. These faculty members, like their tenure-track colleagues, have need of professional and continuing pedagogical development. Within the constraints of its resources, the university should strive to provide reasonable faculty mentoring opportunities to long-serving NTTF.
- This policy was developed from recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Tenure Related Processes in 2005-06. Initial APS approved October 1, 2006.
- Revised April 1, 2012.
- The term “service” was replaced with the term “leadership and service” effective April 30, 2014 per resolution of the CU Board of Regents.