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Academic Mentoring

Early Career Mentoring

The Early Career Mentoring Initiative is a support service aimed at new and recently appointed academics in their first 3 years of service. This is a great opportunity to benefit from the advice and support of a senior academic colleague. Details of the Initiative are set out below under Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are interested in participating please complete an Expression of Interest form and email it to

Academic Career Development Form (docx 101 kb)

Academic Career Development Plan guidelines (pdf 236 kb)

Mentor Expression of Interest form (docx 101 kb)

Mentee Expression of Interest form (doc 101 kb)

Early Career stage and Mentoring Support Framework (pdf 248 kb)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the Early Career Mentoring Initiative?

The goal of the proposed programme is to promote academic and personal development among new or recently appointed academic staff by connecting them with others who can advise, coach, and guide them, as well as help them understand the environment in which they are operating.

Who is it aimed at?

All early career academic staff i.e. less than 3 years' service. Mentoring will be made available on a voluntary basis and all new staff will be encouraged to participate.

What is the focus of mentoring activities?

The focus is on supporting academics as they move through the early stages of their career.

Demonstrating ability to establish own programme of research and becoming an effective teacher through:

  • Analysis of strengths and areas for development
  • Career Development Plan (CDP - see guidelines and form)
  • Publications 'pipeline'
  • Research portfolio
  • Teaching portfolio
  • Editorial Experience
  • Targeting External funding
  • Hone team-building, interpersonal skills
  • Develop collegial network intra- and inter-disciplinary

What are the benefits for the mentee?

  • Advice on balancing teaching, research, service work and other responsibilities
  • Individual recognition and encouragement
  • Informal feedback
  • Knowledge of the procedures of the University
  • Advice on scholarship/teaching
  • A clear action plan (CDP) for their career

What benefits are there for the mentor?

  • Satisfaction in assisting in the development of a colleague
  • Ideas for and feedback about the mentor's own teaching/research
  • A network of knowledgeable colleagues who have passed through the programme
  • Overall quality improvement of the college resulting in better teaching and a higher profile research environment for the mentor
  • Contributing to College

What benefits are there for the College?

  • Increased commitment, productivity and satisfaction of new faculty
  • Reduction in attrition of new academic staff
  • Improved cooperation and cohesiveness for those involved in the programme
  • Improved quality of teaching, research and service
  • Trinity ethos and values promoted and reinforced through role models

Are mentoring discussions confidential?

Yes. It is important that all discussions between mentor and mentee should remain confidential at the discretion of both parties Mentoring is separate from other College processes e.g. Probation.

What is the role of a mentor?

  • Model values and practices
  • Encourage problem-solving skills
  • Help set career and short-term goals
  • Guide to experiences that build skills and expand vision
  • Welcome to identity as a scholar
  • Help navigate how College works
  • Open doors of opportunity
  • Direct to resources
  • Facilitate networking
  • Provide feedback to teaching & research
  • Keep focus on meeting institutional benchmarks of success

What does it take to be a good mentor?

Be flexible, take the initiative, and be responsive. Have confidence that you have precious experiences to communicate, and that a little bit of encouragement from you will go a long way to helping your mentee.

Remember what it was like when you were in your mentee's position. Realise that they may not understand many of the cultural norms and formalities of college or academic life. Take the initiative on discussions. Feel free to share your personal experiences and pose questions. Be responsive to your mentee's questions and comments.

What is the role of a mentee?

The most important characteristic of a mentee is that they are willing to commit the time and energy to grow and learn from a mentor. A mentee is committed to developing skills and enhancing professional networks. A mentee should be positive and excited about the mentoring programme and fully engage and participate to benefit from the experience.

What is the process?

  1. Information sessions (30 mins) will be provided on request.
  2. Expressions of Interest – potential mentors and mentees will be asked to complete a short form which will facilitate potential matches
  3. Matching Process – the Dean of the Faculty will match a candicate mentee with a mentor from the available mentors based on best fit
  4. Training will be provided for all participants on the programme which will focus on expectations, roles and responsibilities. 
  5. Introductory Meeting – mentors and mentees meet for the first mentoring session and set about the process of developing an agenda for their engagement
  6. Mentoring relationship which will commence with the Academic Career Development Plan
  7. Ongoing Mentoring Activities – mentoring meetings will continue typically at regular intervals of about 2-3 weeks and duration of about 30/45 minutes, though this is not prescriptive and may vary at the discretion of both parties. Experience suggests that shorter more frequent sessions can be more effective. The content of each mentoring discussion will vary according to the needs of the individual, as identified in the Career Development Plan and discussions will be confidential to the partnership.

How much time is needed for mentoring?

The amount of time invested in the mentoring relationship depends on the expectations set by both the mentor and the mentee. We ask that only those who are interested in dedicating the time and effort required to build a solid and effective relationship participate in this programme. The best advice is for shorter more frequent meetings, although the first meeting may take a little longer. We recommend mentors and mentees be in contact approximately every three weeks for 30-45 minutes. Initially mentoring sessions should be in the form of face-to-face meetings. Once an effective work pattern has been established (at least 4 meetings) this can then include, phone calls, or email.

What is the process of pairing mentors with mentees?

Interested mentors and mentees fill out the relevant Expression of Interest form available online and return the completed form to in Learning and Organisation Development. Staff Development works with each Faculty Deasn so that Participants are matched on the basis of their responses to questions focusing on areas of interest/expertise, qualities desired in a mentor/mentee, and other background information.

Mentors and mentees will be notified of their pairing via e-mail, at which time they will be invited to attend the training session and will also receive a copy of the completed mentor/mentee profile and contact information.

Who is responsible for initiating contact?

Whilst the mentoring relationship is considered to be a partnership where both parties contribute equally, the primary responsibility for initiating first contact falls with the mentees. The mentees should demonstrate their interest and commitment to the mentoring programme by being proactive at this stage of the process. Initial contact should come in the form of a phone call to the mentor where the mentee and mentor arrange a time to meet and become familiar with each other's background. It is important to establish and agree upon the goals and expectations of the mentoring relationship in this initial discussion.

How is the success of the mentoring programme tracked?

Participants in the mentoring programme will be asked to complete periodic assessments of the mentoring process. Continual improvements and modifications will be made based on suggestions and comments of participants.