Boston Children’s Hospital, Successful Mentoring for Junior Faculty 2020

A spectrum of mentoring models

Junior faculty should be aware of the many types of mentoring that can help broaden their network and increase the diversity of input and perspectives.  

Collaborative peer mentoring allows faculty to work together at a regularly scheduled time, sometimes facilitated by a senior faculty member, and often combining a curriculum (scholarship, teaching, grant writing, career development) along with a scholarly product. 

Peer-mentoring can also create an opportunity to share information, strategize about careers, and provide each other feedback, friendship, and emotional support. A variation of peer mentoring, coined a “pyramidal system of mentoring,”6 is structured with a small group of mentees at the foot of the pyramid seeking out advice from peers located slightly higher in the pyramid, with senior mentors at the top of the pyramid providing guidance and oversight. A structured peer mentoring group may meet together for an agreed upon length of time, such as 2-6 hours per month, from September – April, to address common career aspirations and interests. Formal goals, minimum time commitments, and responsibilities of 1-2 mentors, 3-5 mentees, and an ombudsperson (“Connector”) for mediation are clearly defined (Appendix D). The role of Mentor is given to a more experienced person who acts as a role model, compatriot, challenger, guide or cheerleader for the group.  

Project-based mentoring, often referred to as “functional mentoring” in the literature, pairs junior faculty with mentors who have the skills, expertise, and interest required for a specific project, either one on one or as part of a group. The mentoring relationship may cease when the project is completed or it may continue and possibly evolve into a more traditional mentoring relationship. 

Team mentoring refers to a multidisciplinary group of mentors each with a specific role. The lead mentor traditionally would have expertise in the mentee’s research or scholarly interest, while one or more additional mentor’s (co-mentors) interests and skills would complement, but not duplicate, the lead mentor’s.  

E-mentoring typically builds on an existing traditional mentoring relationship that because of time, location or other constraints, continues primarily via electronic communication, but may include two professionals who have never met in person.