The Office of the Dean of the Faculty supports mentoring practices that span a network of relationships, including but not limited to peers, near-peers, and senior colleagues at Amherst and at other institutions. Faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of mentoring opportunities at every stage of their career at the college.
Mentoring within Departments
While practices may vary, each academic department at Amherst offers formal and/or informal forms of mentoring. Tenure-track faculty members are encouraged to consult with their chairs about departmental mentoring practices. As voted by the faculty, in all departments, the chair, with at least one other tenured member of the department also present and participating, has at least one formal conversation per year with each of the department’s untenured faculty member(s) to discuss performance and progress in teaching, research or creative work, and other contributions to the life of the college.
Mutual Mentoring Program for Faculty at All Ranks
Funding is available to Amherst faculty at all ranks to foster “mutual mentoring,” examples of which include “teaching circles,” writing partnerships, and professional development networks. Faculty members should feel free to design mentoring practices that best serve their needs and/or to consult with Austin Sarat about mentoring possibilities. Proposals for support for mutual mentoring can be submitted at any time and should include a brief description of, and budget for, the proposed mentoring process. At the conclusion of the mutual mentoring activity, participants submit a brief report detailing the outcome of their mentoring initiative. Please send requests and reports to Austin Sarat.
External Mentoring Program For Tenure-Track Faculty
As part of Amherst’s efforts to support the research and professional development of its tenure-track faculty, funding is available through the External Mentoring Program to all tenure-track faculty members to establish and/or advance a mentoring relationship with a scholar outside the college. All tenure-track faculty who have completed one year of teaching or more at the college are eligible to participate in this program. (Faculty who have taught at Amherst prior to assuming a tenure-track appointment at the college may “count” their time teaching as a visitor at Amherst toward this eligibility requirement.) During the period after the first year of teaching at Amherst and prior to the academic year in which the tenure review takes place, funding of $1,000 a year, for up to three years, is available to provide stipends to a mentor of the Amherst faculty member’s choice. An additional $1,000 will be made available during the three-year period to support meetings, travel, and/or other activities associated with the mentoring relationship.
Faculty members who wish to apply for external mentoring support should submit a one-page letter describing their need for a mentor, along with the name and CV of the proposed individual, to Austin Sarat in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
- Tenure-track faculty members may have college-supported external mentors any time after the Amherst faculty member’s first year of teaching at Amherst and prior to the academic year in which they are considered for tenure. (Faculty who have taught at Amherst prior to assuming a tenure-track appointment at the college may “count” their time teaching as a visitor at Amherst toward this eligibility requirement.)
- External mentors should be experts in the field(s) of scholarship that is being pursued by the tenure-track faculty member.
- Faculty members seeking an external mentor are responsible for identifying appropriate colleagues to serve in that capacity. The expectation is that the mentor will offer advice and support, with a focus on the Amherst faculty member’s scholarship and professional development.
- The College will provide a stipend of $1000 annually to the external mentor for a period of up to three years. At the end of every academic year in which you work with your mentor please submit a brief report on your work to Austin Sarat and be in touch with Joanne Gustafson or Marie Fowler about arranging payments for your mentor.
- An additional $1,000 will be made available during the three-year period to support meetings, travel, and/or other activities associated with the mentoring relationship.
National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
Amherst is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), an affiliation that offers the college’s faculty many benefits. The NCFDD is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students. More information is available on the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity website. Faculty who have questions about the NCFDD or its offerings reach out to Professors Allen Hart or Marisa Parham, faculty diversity and inclusion officers, or Norm Jones, chief diversity and inclusion officer. Please contact Associate Dean Austin Sarat to learn more about the NCFDD Faculty Success Program ("bootcamp"). The dean's office offers full support for participation in this program.