Mentoring Guidelines Curtin University Malaysia
It is expected that all new academic staff and those in the early stages of their career at Curtin Malaysia receive constructive advice on teaching and learning and career development from senior colleagues in their faculties. The Mentoring support system aims to give academic staff guidance for both their own development and their contribution to the faculties.
Any experienced senior academic staff can volunteer to be mentors in their faculties by providing their names to the Faculty Associate Deans-Learning and Teaching.
Frequency of Meetings
All mentors are expected to arrange dates and times for discussions throughout the year with new colleagues allocated to them. Meetings should normally take place at least once per semester, after which they can take place as and when needed. However, given the informal nature of mentoring it is expected that the majority of mentoring may also well take place outside of specifically scheduled meetings.
The substance of the mentoring relationship
The role of the mentor is as follows:
- To assist the mentee in developing an understanding of the expectations placed upon them as academics within the Department and the Faculty;
- To provide a listening ear and informal guidance to the mentee, such that they can understand how to address any challenges they face in their work situation;
- In their roles, mentors give informal and frequent advice and provide a listening ear throughout the first year of the mentee at Curtin Malaysia.
- To benefit from mentoring, mentees should be receptive to the advice and encouragement that the mentor can offer. Therefore the relationship must be a positive and trusting one.
- Any matters discussed between the mentor and mentee should remain confidential unless by mutual agreement third parties are consulted.
- However, the mentee may, without reference to the mentor, consult with the Head of Department if s/he feels the relationship is not a productive one. In this case, the Head of Department will, if possible, endeavour to assign a different mentor.
- Equally important for the mentoring relationship to work, mentees must not place unrealistic expectations on their mentor and must not over-burden them with demands.
What the mentor is NOT responsible for
The mentor is very much a ‘guide on the side’. It is not his/her role to ‘line manage’ the mentee, and the mentor is not responsible for the mentee’s career success within the Faculty. In particular, mentors cannot make commitments to the mentee on behalf of the Department regarding the mentee’s probationary review. Such advice must come from the Head of Department/ Dean of Faculty.
The role of documentary materials in the mentoring relationship
There are no written requirements related to mentoring, or any necessity for the mentor or mentee to share documents. However, if both are agreeable and have time, there may be benefits from sharing:
- Research papers (including reviewer feedback and how this is handled)
- A brief email log of matters discussed.
Effective mentoring is about building a supportive relationship based on listening, mutual respect and trust. It requires skills and sensitivity on both sides. The mentor can build this relationship through:
- Establishing initial expectations on both sides.
- Being available at times agreed.
- Being open to answering questions.
- Drawing on experience and offering models – be it in research or teaching (e.g. encourage the new member of staff to come to observe you teach, see your materials, read your articles, share your reviewer feedback etc. before asking to see theirs).
- Offering insight. –Sharing networks/contacts.
- Being willing to give both positive encouragement and critical constructive feedback.
- Seeking/giving feedback on the mentoring relationship – and agreeing when this relationship comes to an end.
- The mentee also needs to work at this relationship through: -Indicating what you expect from the mentoring relationship.
- Being available at times agreed.
- Coming with questions/ideas/things to explore and discuss.
- Having ideas on objectives and ways forward. -Listening.
- Being ready to adapt – both yourself and the ideas you gain from your mentor.
- Being willing to accept both positive encouragement and critical constructive feedback.
- Giving/seeking feedback on the mentoring relationship – and agreeing when this relationship comes to an end.
*If any mentor is interested in training in mentoring/coaching or if any mentee would like further ideas about how to make the best of the mentoring relationship, please contact the Office of Learning and Teaching at Curtin Malaysia.