Mentoring

Mentor Program Description 

Purpose: The Mentor Program at UVU is designed to provide formative feedback to new faculty and faculty participating in intensive faculty development programs in order to enhance student engagement and learning in the classroom. This feedback is designed to: foster faculty self-awareness of their current pedagogical theories, assist faculty in critically assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their current approaches, develop faculty awareness of current and emerging models of "best practices" in teaching and faculty engagement, and encourage faculty to make substantive changes in the way they think about and practice teaching.

A secondary purpose of the Mentor Program is to provide, at the participant's request only, a summary of the participant's experience and/or an evaluation of progress made while participating in the program. The participant may deem this useful to tenure reviews, promotion, contract negotiations, and for other purposes. Such a summary, if requested, will be provided directly to the participant who may then determine whether or not to make use of the summary.

Formative Assessment: As noted above, the major function of the Mentor Program is to enhance and improve the teaching performance of individual faculty members at UVU and increase student engagement in learning. Thus, any and all records generated by the program including advisor notes, written summaries or evaluations, and records of participation are deemed to be confidential by the Faculty Center and will not be released to department chairs, deans, administrators, or to anyone outside of the faculty center without the written permission of the participant. These steps protect the participant and ensure that the primary purpose of the Mentor program can be achieved; feedback and input regarding teaching performance will be used solely for the benefit of the participant. Exceptions to this procedure will occur if a participant asks for a release of the information and signs a document to this effect; exceptions may also occur as necessitated by law.

Mentors: Mentors for the program will be recruited and compensated by the Faculty Center. Mentors will generally be selected from faculty members who have completed the Teaching Academy and/or who have actively participated in Faculty Center programs and whose teaching approach, methods, and knowledge base are known. Mentors are not presumed to be "expert teachers" who will have all the answers but colleagues who are continuing their own professional development by participating in the program and giving of their time to help others. Mentors are expected to provide input and suggestions to participants, but may also learn from participants through the exchange of information and ideas. Mentors will report to the faculty center and provide to the Faculty Center notes of assessments/evaluations, meetings, classroom observations, and participant goals. This will ensure continuity and effective support. Participants should contact the Faculty Center if they have any concerns about their assigned advisor. Mentors will also be expected to participate in regular meetings and will be supported by the Faculty Center.

Procedures and Scope of the Program: To participate, submit an application online, by calling the Faculty Center at 863-8924, or by sending an email to Joyce Oliphant.

The Faculty Center will process the application and assign the participant an advisor. In order to promote collegiality and a focus on teaching philosophy, the advisor may often be from another department or part of UVU. If the participant desires an advisor to work on a specific content-related project, he/she can indicate this on the application. Participants are also encouraged to advise their department chair of their participation and, if needed, to discuss/negotiate release time.

Initial Meeting: The advisor and participant will then sit down together for an initial meeting to discuss the goals of the participant and scope of the relationship. The advisor may recommend that the participant complete some specific procedures in order to assess where the person is in their teaching. This could include completing inventories or attitude scales, being observed in the classroom, being videotaped while teaching, review of materials including syllabi, assignments, etc. If the participant agrees, then assessment will proceed as planned and will end with feedback from the advisor and a discussion of strengths and weaknesses. The goal of these initial meetings is to develop a set of goals and outcomes that will be worked on by the participant over the course of the semester or year. It is generally better if these goals are written down so that both parties are aware of them. Participants and Mentors are encouraged to focus only on one course at a time when working on these goals.

Meeting the Goals: The participant will begin to work on the defined goals with input and support from the advisor. By the end of the semester or year, depending on the agreement between the advisor and the participant, both will review whether the goals or outcomes were achieved, not achieved, or partially achieved. A brief summary of the outcomes of the Mentor will be kept by the Faculty Center.

Projects undertaken during the Mentor program can be very specific, such as improving the types of assessment procedures used in a course, or revisions to a class syllabus. Alternatively, with the agreement between the parties, the program could be very general and comprehensive, focusing on readings and discussion to develop a specific and effective teaching philosophy, the application of that philosophy to a course, and the development of new assignments, materials, etc. to match an engaged philosophy of learning. Mentors may also recommend that the participant engage with the other Faculty Center offerings such as Teaching Circles and workshops. No matter the scope of the work that is agreed on, Mentors are expected to encourage the development of participant understanding of engaged teaching models and methods.

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