The Research Mentorship Program was officially launched in July, 2012 and is part of the 3rd Integrated Plan of Increasing Research Intensiveness. It supports new faculty to become more successful in reaching their research goals and potential via informative and interactive workshops on topics of choice, together with a personalized research mentorship team (PRMT) that consists of local and global research experts in the mentee’s research area of interest. The PRMT for each new faculty hire helps in their understanding the Departmental, College, and University research culture and expectations, assists with the development of their research vision/plan and its subsequent implementation and sustainability. The importance of forming research networks is emphasized for the mentee as a few expert research mentors, in the candidate’s area of research interest, either local or global, are sought to be part of the mentee’s mentorship team. Instructional experts can be easily added to the team to assist with the instructional scholarship questions of the candidate.

The Research Mentorship Program also provides annual workshops for any more established faculty that wish to learn more about best practices in becoming a research mentor for less established mentee.

The University Research Mentorship Program is a voluntary, yet highly encouraged program for any new faculty member in any discipline of study, or for any more established faculty member that needs mentorship assistance with their current research program. This Research mentorship program is a shared program between the central offices of the Provost and Vice President Research (for managing mentorship workshops and forums for new and established faculty) and the specific Colleges, Schools and Departments across campus, where the personalized research mentorship teams for each faculty member are formed and operationalized with the help of respective Deans, ADRs, Department Heads and research facilitators). This “umbrella” program is to augment and bring to the attention the many instructional and research support programs on campus for faculty.

Effective mentorship programs for new faculty have been shown globally to enhance their academic career success. This program can and will assist faculty in reaching tenure and promotion, and in so doing helps candidates in promoting best practices of mentorship unto their students and fellow faculty members.

The University of Saskatchewan wants to promote the vision statement to enhance the research success and productivity of new faculty by providing, as one step, the establishment of a Research Mentorship Program for all new tenure track faculty hired in July, 2012 and beyond.  This program will be a collaborative undertaking between Colleges, Schools, Departments or Research Units and the Offices of the Vice-President Research and the Office of the Vice-Provost.

Vision Document

The Personalized Research Mentorship Teams (PRMT) at the University of Saskatchewan are a customized research team support system to help plan and subsequently help implement the research vision and plan of the new mentee for the next five years. The team approach is to give constructive advice so that the new member has every opportunity to be as successful as possible in reaching their research goals.

Why Mentoring for New and Pre-Tenure Faculty? Academic Success!

October 8, 2015

 By Prof. Jim Thornhill, Special Assistant to the Vice-President Research

Mentorship of pre-tenure faculty is a key component to academic success. Sutherland and Peterson (2009) advocate from a national study conducted throughout New Zealand that early academic success of new faculty is determined by 3 factors:

  1. Prior training and experience of the new candidate,
  2. Personal characteristics of the candidate (tenacity, resolve, work/life balance) and
  3. The institutional support provided (e.g. time, space, resources).

At the University of Saskatchewan, The Provost’s Office via the Gwenna Moss Teaching & Learning Centre and the Vice President Research Office via the Research Mentorship Program have come together to highlight and support mentorship in assisting new faculty in planning and implementing their teaching and research plans.

This video introduces how academic mentorship teams support new faculty at the University of Saskatchewan with their two major mandates, namely their teaching and research portfolios as experienced by two pre-tenure faculty in The College of Kinesiology. Dr. Leah Ferguson and Dr. Marta Erlandson, along with Dean Carol Rodgers, discuss what academic success looks like, how their mentorship committees were formed, the benefits to working with mentorship committees, suggestions based on their experiences, the importance of a diverse committee, practical considerations for a positive mentorship experience, and how mentorship can contribute to academic success.

If you have questions about mentorship activities at the University of Saskatchewan, please contact: Dr. Jim Thornhill, Co-Lead of University Mentorship Program at jim.thornhill@usask.ca.

This article was originally posted to the blog of the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE) at the University of Saskatchewan.

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