New Program Helps Incoming Faculty Members Improve Grad Student Mentoring
By: Jaime Williams
The Graduate Faculty Mentoring Circles program at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), is giving new faculty members a chance to learn from senior faculty members about best practices in mentoring graduate students.
These tenured senior faculty “circle leaders” have a great track record in mentoring, and/or have received awards for their mentoring from the Graduate School, Dr. Blessing Enekwe, Program Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, stated. Enekwe also stated that “Each circle leader will facilitate a group of 8-10 new faculty. [They will have] roughly two meetings a semester [and] will focus on topics central to cultivating positive mentoring experiences for graduate students. Each meeting will last from 90 minutes to two hours and broach topics such as effective communication, aligning expectations, mentoring students with diverse backgrounds, fostering independence, and promoting professional development. Curriculum for the mentoring circles will be derived from the ‘Entering Mentoring’ mentor training manual.”
She further explained, “The goal of the program is threefold: One, To engage incoming faculty in conversations regarding best practices for mentoring graduate students; two, to provide a space for faculty mentors to meet other mentors for peer support; and three, to highlight the particular needs graduate students [may] have in mentoring relationships.”
Since the mentees of this program are faculty members who will teach graduate students in their time at UMD, Laura Rosenthal, Director for Faculty Leadership, stated that her hopes are that “the program will ultimately lead to better and more consistent experiences for graduate students. Excellent mentoring has been shown to be a key ingredient in the success of graduate students. Faculty members taking on graduate students for the first time will then have some skills already built up. This may help them avoid mistakes.”
To become a part of this program, Rosenthal stated that all new faculty members who will be teaching graduate students are contacted with this opportunity. “They [have] the option to decline, but very few did,” she said.
In the program so far, there are about 60 participants broken into nine groups.
Once the formal mentorship period ends, “We hope that they continue to stay in touch and turn to each other for advice and support going forward,” Rosenthal said.
What makes this program so unique is that “This is the first initiative, to our knowledge, that engages all new faculty after the new faculty orientation. Most programs occur at the departmental or college level, whereas this program is implemented at the university level.” Enekwe stated.
The origins of this program “came together at a Big Ten meeting that included six individuals from our campus, including Blessing Enekwe, Steve Fetter, Jeff Lucas, Laura Rosenthal, Kathy Takayama, and Jerry Wilkinson. Laura and I manage the program,” Enekwe added.
Digital Measures Update
Digital Measures/Activity Insight: Updates
The 2020 Annual Activity Report submission process officially opened on January 19, 2021. All tenured and tenure-track faculty members should complete their 2020 Annual Activity Report by March 12, 2021. Professional track faculty members are invited to use Digital Measures to document their activities. Expectations for professional track faculty member participation for 2020 annual reporting are set at the local college/unit level. Reports are due to unit approvers by Friday March 12, 2021.
See below for updates on training opportunities and a report submission overview.
Starting in late January, weekly training sessions will be offered for faculty to prepare for their annual activity reporting. Sessions will be held on Zoom. The training covers the use of the platform, data integrations, tracking activities, time-saving tips, and goals and expectations for entering data. The schedule and registration are on the Faculty Affairs website.
Annual Activity Report Submission: What to Expect
Submitting your annual activity report is a straightforward process:
- Log in to Digital Measures.
- Enter your Activities on the Digital Measures platform for the calendar year 2020.
- Go to the Workflow section (available in the top red bar), select the UMD 2020 Annual Faculty Activity Review task from the Inbox, and review the guidelines for report preparation.
- When ready, move to the Personal Statement step in Workflow. It is your option to add a personal statement for the year, either in the textbox on the screen or by attaching a file.
- Submit your report and personal statement to your unit approver.
You can learn more about the submission process from this short animation or by reading the Annual Activity Report Submission - Faculty Instructions.
Learn More About Digital Measures
The Faculty Affairs Activities Data website is not only your starting point for logging in to Digital Measures; it is also a resource with short how-to videos, extensive user guides, and contact information for the Digital Measures team. Platform support is available through email and by phone (301.405.7681).