Selection of Mentees

The criteria for inclusion of mentees in your program should be made visible and be known to all faculty in your unit (division; department) and not limited to junior faculty only.  Key questions to consider in developing the criteria include:

  1. What is the goal of the mentoring program, and related-- what is our target group of mentees?  For example, if the program goal is career advancement, selection should be inclusive of all faculty in a particular rank and lines.  If the program goal is to mentor around skills in specific area(s) of clinical practice, the criteria could limit participation to those who are in the area and inclusive of those aspiring to enter it. 
  2. Are the mentees able to meet the commitment of the program-- related, for example, to timing around key dates around appointment, reappointment or promotion.
  3. Can the program meet mentee needs? How will your program identify mentee needs ahead of the start of the program, and during the program.

Selection Guidelines

1. Share the program’s existence with your faculty in the unit broadly.

This includes your program’s mission, goals, and success stories, and also includes description of the mentor’s roles in the program, and the unit leadership’s expectations from the program.  

2. Write and distribute widely a Call for Mentees announcement.

The announcement should include: open-ended responses, or a checklist response, that mentors will provide to the program to describe their mentoring needs and expectations; information about commitment (number of hours, meetings), the criteria that the program leadership will use in selecting mentors, the term limit of the relationship, and whether mentors will be available within your department/division or broadly.  

3. Within or Outside the Department?

Often, there are pros and cons to seeking mentors from within or outside the department/ division.  Pros of same-department/division mentors include greater efficacy in sponsorship and advocating for mentee needs; a deeper understanding of the culture and dynamics within the unit; and the opportunity for long-term relationship.  The cons include proximity to decisions affecting the mentee’s success in ways that can interfere with dispassionate advice or active sponsorship. 

Concerns by the mentees that stem from dynamics within the unit is also often a concern particularly for mentees in small units.  There may also be issues of resources, competition and senior-junior dynamics that are detrimental, rather than enhancing, to mentee success.

4. Indicate a deadline for receiving an application and keep the application simple and short.  Develop applications using online tools (Google forms, Smartsheet).

Leverage the use of email distribution lists, flyers at events/faculty meetings, and personal networks to distribute the announcement.

5. Notify the mentees of their application being accepted and the timeline for next steps.

Question Prompts for Mentee Applications

  • What skills and expertise does the mentee need to develop?
  • Does this mentor have enough seniority/clout in order to advocate within Stanford, the department, division or section for their mentee needs?
  • What is the mentor’s success track record in mentoring junior faculty who are similar to this mentee?  
    • If the mentee is from a different country, institution, gender, speciality, consider if or how those differences may shape the quality of mentoring.


Recognize that dyads who are similar on gender dimensions may offer strong psycho-social support that cross-gender dyads. However,in the case of professional women, there is no research evidence to support an assumption that women are better served by women mentors.  [CITE]

  • What does the junior faculty see as their needs in terms of career advancement successfully in the department?