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Mentoring Resources & Best Practices

ISU Library Mentoring Program - resources, guidelines, & best practices

Successful Mentoring Relationships

Adapted from ISU ADVANCE / Provost Office pdf "The Mentoring Relationship,"  which is the information that ISU faculty receive.This version has been adapted to be more Library-specific. 

The Mentoring Relationship

Successful mentoring relationships are built around the needs and career goals of the mentee.  Each mentoring relationship is unique and must be negotiated on an individual basis to match the needs of the mentee and the resources the mentor brings to the relationship.  Mentors can help new librarians and archivists in the following areas:

I. Getting to Know the Institution

Mentors frequently assist mentees in:

  • Understanding the academic culture of the institution
  • Identifying and using resources to support teaching and research activities
  • Building a network of junior and senior colleagues
  • Appreciating the social and political dynamic in their new departments and colleagues

II.  Career Development

Questions a mentor might answer include:

  • What does the promotion process look like? What are the formal and informal criteria for promotion? How do I build a portfolio, vita, or record of accomplishments?
  • How do I find or get nominated for fellowships, grants, awards?
  • What organizations should I join, what conferences should I attend? Who can help me get on the agenda of important meetings?
  • What are the leading journals in the field? What are the best ways to get feedback on a paper? How do I get the attention of editors?
  • How do I handle concerns, issues, problems in the department? What are appropriate ways to bring them up?
  • What are strategies for handling the balance of research, teaching and service? Between career and home life? 

III.  Professional Development

Mentors can support mentees by providing:

  • Constructive feedback on proposals, presentations, papers
  • Suggestions for the development of effective teaching & presentation strategies
  • Advice on the selection of appropriate service commitments
  • Access to an expanded network of professional contacts