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Building a Network of Mentors: A Guide for Engineering Educators

By Mary Deane Sorcinelli

UMass Amherst

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Mentoring has long been viewed as a powerful means of enhancing the professional success and personal well-being of faculty members, especially new and early career faculty. In response, a number of institutions have developed mentoring programs, often shaped by the traditional one-on-one mentoring model of a senior faculty member guiding the career development of his/her protégé. Over the past decade, however, mentoring has evolved, reflecting new models, research, approaches, and experiences. This guidebook describes an innovative, flexible, and faculty-driven model of mentoring that encourages engineering educators at all stages of the academic career to think differently about how they approach and engage in mentoring relationships. Each of the sections of this handbook will introduce you to concepts, strategies, and examples that can help build and sustain what we have come to define as a "Mutual Mentoring" network.

Section I. Overview of Mentoring in Academia lays a foundation for understanding mentoring in academia and explores the definition and nature of traditional mentoring.

Section II. Introduction to Network-Based Mentoring defines a new model and approach to mentoring that is based on Mutual Mentoring relationships.

Section III. Guidelines for "Protégés" offers practical suggestions and concrete recommendations for establishing and maintaining effective relationships with individuals who can support your academic career.

Section IV. Guidelines for "Mentors" offers advice about how to effectively create mentoring partnerships, especially with new and early career faculty.

Section V. Guidelines for Mentoring Program Administrators provides suggestions for designing, structuring, and evaluating a mentoring program.

Section VI. Mentoring Resources is a bibliography of articles about new developments and approaches to faculty mentoring.

Please note that throughout this guidebook, we try to avoid the use of the hierarchal terms "protégé" and "mentor," preferring instead to refer to the participants in a Mutual Mentoring relationship as "mentoring partners." However, we sometimes revert to the traditional terms when we believe that doing so will help promote clarity and also further amplify the differences between traditional mentoring and Mutual Mentoring.


Mary Deane Sorcinelli is Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Professor, Department of Educational Policy, Research, and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also oversees the Center for Teaching and serves on the Five College Deans Council.

Jung H. Yun is the Director of New Faculty Initiatives in the Office of Faculty Development and provides counsel to the Associate Provost on all issues related to new and early-career faculty development.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Mary Deane Sorcinelli (2010), "Building a Network of Mentors: A Guide for Engineering Educators,"

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