Pathfinder Scholars Program
Pathfinders is a structured mentoring program for new tenure-track faculty at SHSU, with the goal that this professional guidance and support to these junior faculty will result in building long and productive careers at this university. The participant Pathfinder Scholars are paired with senior colleagues who have achieved tenure for productive mentoring. Meetings during the academic year focus on the three core aspects of faculty life; scholarship, teaching, and service. Discussion focuses on the SHSU institutional culture, networking, and how to be successful academically. One program highlight is a chance for Scholars to discuss faculty merit, evaluation, promotion, and advancement policies and procedures with the Provost. Scholars also meet one-on-one with their Mentors. Mentors help the junior faculty in productive career planning, given their experience at SHSU. Several informal meetings also build community.
Qualities of a Good Mentor
- Accessibility – the mentor is encouraged make time to be available to the new faculty member. The mentor might keep in contact by dropping by, calling, sending e-mail, or extending a lunch invitation. It is very helpful for the mentor to make time to read /critique proposals and papers and to provide periodic reviews of progress.
- Networking – the mentor should be able to help the new faculty member establish a professional network.
- Independence – the new faculty member’s intellectual independence from the mentor must be carefully preserved and the mentor must avoid developing a competitive relationship with the new faculty member.
Benefits for the Mentor
- Satisfaction in assisting in the development of a colleague
- Ideas for and feedback about the mentor’s own teaching/scholarship
- A network of colleagues who have passed through the program
- Retention of excellent faculty colleagues
- Enhancement of department and university quality