The Women’s Studies Program serves as a clearinghouse for connecting women faculty and faculty with interests in Women’s and Gender Studies. Our program implements collegewide and universitywide mentoring with a focus on women faculty, but many are open to all faculty at UCF. Our mentoring programs are interdisciplinary and benefit from our program’s partnerships with other units, including Academic Affairs, Burnett Honors College, COPHA, FCTL, and Office of Diversity Initiatives.
New Women Faculty Reception (every fall semester)
An annual event sponsored by the President’s office, this reception brings together new faculty women, faculty with interests in women’s and gender studies, and existing faculty and Women’s Studies Program Affiliates from across the university. New faculty receive a packet of information about the university with a focus on information related to women’s and gender issues, including opportunities for leadership through the Office of Diversity Initiatives (LEP), FCTL workshops, becoming a Women’s Studies Program Affiliate, and campus events and FAQ.
This process involves matching junior faculty women with senior faculty from outside their home department. Faculty members sign up through Women’s Studies for either a mentee or a mentor, and the Women’s Studies Program orchestrates appropriate matches based on the needs of the mentee. The faculty members then agree about how often, and under what circumstances, they should meet. The relationships may last a year or several, depending on the circumstances.
Tenure mentors are women with tenure who are willing to meet, at least once per month if not more, during the summer prior to a tenure candidate’s application for tenure and promotion. These relationships are well defined in terms of structure and length and match faculty from different home departments. The key is to find someone who is available all summer and is willing to work through the candidate’s folder as it develops. The “tenure mentor” program has been highly successful.
Women’s Studies offers a series of mentoring workshops, available to the entire university community, on various aspects of professional development. Last academic year, workshops were offered on time management, publishing strategies, teaching award portfolios, annual report writing, the art of negotiation, and tenure portfolio assembly.
From The Chronicle of Higher Education:
Women as Mentors: Myths and Commandments
- Don’t be afraid to be a mentor. Many people, especially women, underestimate the amount of knowledge that they have about the academic system or their organization, the contacts they have, and the avenues they can use to help someone else. A person does not have to be at the absolute top of his or her profession or discipline to be a mentor.
- Remember that you don’t have to fulfill every possible function of a mentor to be effective, but let your protégées know where you are willing to help and what kind of information or support you can give that you believe will be particularly helpful. Be clear about whether you are willing to advise on personal issues, such as suggestions about how to balance family and career responsibilities.
- Clarify expectations about how much time and guidance you are prepared to offer.
- Be sure to give criticism, as well as praise, when warranted, but present it with specific suggestions for improvement. Do it in a private and non-threatening context. Giving criticism in the form of a questions can be helpful, as in "do you think the research would be better if…"
- Where appropriate, “talk up” your protégée’s accomplishments to others in your department and institution, as well as at conferences and meetings.
- Include protégées in informal activities whenever possible – lunch, discussion following meetings or lectures, dinner during academic conferences.
- Teach protégées how to seek other career help whenever possible, such as money to attend workshops or release time for special projects.
- Work within your institution to develop formal and informal mentoring programs and to encourage social networks as well. Work to insure that accurate information is provided formally to all interested persons, through the use of printed materials and meetings.
- Be willing to provide support for people different from yourself…to cross boundaries such as race, color, ethnicity, class and religion in working with others.