Academic Mentoring at UNSW is an evidence based approach to mentoring that aims to build successful mentoring relationships across the institution.
Mentoring provides opportunities for mutual learning, expansion of networks and other benefits for participants (Ambler, Harvey, & Cahir, 2016; Harvey, Ambler, & Cahir, 2016). Further details of benefits are outlined below.
The initiative is designed so that mentees are empowered to choose their mentors and the type of mentoring relationship they want, whether it is one-on-one or group.
Working in partnership or as a group, mentees and mentors can set goals,
timeframes and parameters for how their relationship will work.
- is goal orientated;
- encourages various types of mentoring;
- sets relationship timeframes;
- identifies key skills for mentees and mentors;
- provides frameworks, checklists and reflection exercises.
This page contains a suit of resources to assist mentors and mentees on their mentoring journey, using an easy step-by-step process. It includes both the UNSW Academic Mentoring Guide as well as individual worksheets and handouts.
The Academic Mentoring initiative is evidence based, underpinned by the latest research and scholarship. Developed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education & Student Experience Portfolio, it has close synergies with academic and educational excellence, but can benefit any academic or professional staff wanting to engage in a mentoring relationship. The guide is aimed at both mentors and mentees, while mentors can also access professional development training.
Benefits to mentoring
Benefits to mentees include development of their teaching practice and/or research, career advancement, professional support, and increased confidence through guidance and feedback from experienced practitioners. Specifically, a mentoring relationship will support the mentee in both defining and pursuing their goals, expand their perspectives and strengthen self-development plans. A mentoring relationship supports motivation and work satisfaction for both mentees and mentors (Johnson & Ridley, 2004; Long, 1997; Rolfe-Felt, 2002).
Mentors benefit from the development of skills (e.g., interpersonal, leadership), acquiring experience which can be used as evidence for promotion/awards applications and increased personal satisfaction and growth. Mentoring relationships make an imperative contribution to the support of new academics, with research studies on mentoring programs in both academia and private organisations showing that mentors gain new perspectives on ideas and issues, increased self-awareness and personal growth through sharing their knowledge with new academics (Johnson & Ridley, 2004; Long, 1997; Rolfe-Felt, 2002).
Mentoring programs help to create an environment that fosters personal and professional growth through the sharing of skills, attitudes and behaviours. Mentoring also enhances staff performance, which, in turn, can accelerate processes for the identification, development and retention of talent, and an enriched learning culture amongst staff within the university (Long, 1997).
Mentoring in action
We spoke to a some UNSW educators who are currently involved in the program as mentors and mentees. Here are their interesting insights.
Finding a mentor
Academic Mentoring at UNSW is different to other mentoring schemes where mentors and mentees are matched. Instead of being matched, mentees have autonomy and need to be proactive in searching for a mentor. This approach enables flexibility in how mentors and mentees are paired. To find a mentor, follow these steps:
1. Search for a mentor on our website – mentor profiles can be found in the link ‘Search here for Academic Mentors’. The mentor needs to be a person with established experience and knowledge in the area in which you require guidance or advice.
2. Once you have selected a potential mentor, make initial contact. The recommended approach is email as this avoids any duress on the potential mentor and allows time for a considered decision to be made. Direct email links are listed in each of the mentor profiles.
3. When a positive response is received after initial contact is made, it is recommended that both the mentee and mentor discuss the purpose of the relationship. This establishes a framework for the relationship, and ensures expectations are reasonable.
Refer to the guide and individual templates on this website to support you in beginning and developing a mentoring relationship.
Become an academic mentor
To become an academic mentor at UNSW, you will need to satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
- Peer-reviewed journal article on the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching;
- Conference paper on Learning and Teaching published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings;
- Postgraduate Certificate or higher qualification in Learning and Teaching;
- Editor of a book focusing on Learning and Teaching;
- Editor, or active member of an editorial board, of a journal focusing on Learning and Teaching;
- Learning and Teaching related Fellow at a National or International level;
- Fellowships, e.g. HEA Fellowship (category Fellow or above), HERDSA Fellowship;
- Awarded a Learning and Teaching Grant or Award (University/ National/ International);
- Membership of a professional association related to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (please include details of your role);
- Member of a university Learning and Teaching governance committee or board;
- Mentoring experience, specifically in the area of Learning and Teaching.
Apply to become an academic mentor
If you meet the above criteria we warmly invite you to become an academic mentor at UNSW. All you need to do is to is complete the online expression of interest.
The following resources have been developed to support you on your mentoring journey.
Individual Templates / Handouts
Choosing a Mentor and Expectations of Mentees
Associate Professor Linley Lord of the Maureen Bickley Centre for Women in Leadership, Curtin Graduate School of Business, answers a series of questions on how to choose a mentor and expectations of mentees.
Advice to Mentees
Professor Attila Brungs, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Technology Sydney offers advice relating to the question "What advice would you offer mentees on how to progress their career?"
Mentoring and Sponsorship
Dr Jennifer de Vries, Gender Strategy and Organisational Development Consultant (www.jendevries.com), presents a useful overview on the differences between academic mentoring and sponsorship (04.30-07.30).
Ambler, T., Harvey, M., & Cahir, J. (2016). University academics’ experiences of learning through mentoring. Australian Educational Researcher, 43, 609–627. doi: 10.1007/s13384-016-0214-7
Harvey, M., Ambler, T., & Cahir, J. (2017). Spectrum Approach to Mentoring: An evidence-based approach to mentoring for academics working in higher education. Teacher Development, 21(1), 160-174. doi: 10.1080/13664530.2016.1210537
Johnson, B., & Ridley, C. (2004). The elements of mentoring. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Long, J. (1997). The dark side of mentoring. Australian Educational Researcher, 24(2), 115-133. doi: 10.1007/BF03219650
Rolfe-Felt, A. (2002). Mentoring Australia: A practical guide. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
For further information contact Dr Anna Rowe, Academic Development Services, PVC, Education.
P: +61 (2) 9385 9136
This initiative and its resources are adapted with permission, from the Spectrum Academic Mentoring Guide authored by Cahir, Harvey and Ambler (2017).