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Emerita/Emeritus Society Retired Faculty Serving the Future

Mentoring Opportunities

Dear Colleagues,A group of society members recently met with Vice Provost Fran McSweeney to discuss establishing an Emeritus Society faculty mentoring program.  We had a great meeting and after much discussion arrived at the following proposal for initiating a mentoring program for newly promoted associate professors.  We believe this is an excellent opportunity for emeritus faculty to make a significant contribution to dealing with a major problem at WSU, the failure of the majority of associate professors to make full professor.  At this point, we have about 10 folks who have volunteered to be mentors, but we could use many more.  So it is not too late to join this effort.  Just drop me a note and I will add you to the team.

Here’s Fran’s understanding of what we’ll be doing.   This can be changed if you detect problems or have additional suggestions.

  • We’ll start with mentoring new associate professors because our data indicate that’s where the greatest need lies. If there is sufficient interest, or if the emeritus professors prefer, we can change this to mentoring of assistant professors at a later date.
  • The mentoring by the emeritus faculty is in addition to any formal mentoring that the university has or institutes in the future.  It is not a substitute for our regular mentoring.  Faculty members who are mentored should be warned to take the advice of the current faculty or the chair in (what I assume will be the very rare) instances where the advice from different sources is conflicting.
  • When tenure and promotion is over for this year, I will send you a list of names and departments of the faculty members who have been newly promoted to the associate level. If you would prefer, I could get you last year’s list sooner.
  • Emeritus faculty members can look at the list and indicate which if any faculty member or members they would like to mentor.
  • I will contact the chair and the dean to make sure that the help of the emeritus faculty member is welcomed.
  • If the chair and dean agree to the mentoring, I will then contact the faculty member to be mentored to make sure that this arrangement is welcome to them. In some cases, I will need a description of the expertise of the mentor to provide to the mentee to facilitate this discussion.
  • The exact nature of the mentoring will differ across mentors and mentees.  It would be helpful if the mentor would volunteer to read drafts of manuscripts or grant proposals, as well as to provide help in dealing with any problems in teaching. It would also be helpful if the mentors would agree to provide advice and suggestions on professional topics that the mentee is not comfortable talking about with people who will vote on his or her next promotion (e.g., how to deal with personal conflicts with senior faculty members; how to avoid being overloaded with committee work).
  • This process will not begin until after we’ve had a discussion with the Council of Deans at their Dec. 19 meeting.  We won’t go forward with any of this unless the deans agree.


Become An Undergraduate Mentor To An Achiever Scholar


The College Success Foundation awards scholarships to selected high-potential students from low-income families to help ensure they have the opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree. With a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Achievers Scholars program was established to open the doors to higher education for underrepresented students. Faculty and staff mentors provide a critical component to the successful graduation of Achievers Scholars at our university. They take an interest in the student, share information, discuss academics, refer them to services and other people in the community, guide them in choosing appropriate work experiences, assist them with goal setting, and help them get through personal crises and problems. The mentors help the students develop their academic and leadership potential.

Achievers Scholars are assigned to a faculty/staff mentor by the College Mentor Coordinator based on their academic interests, career goals, and demographics. Achievers Scholars meet with their mentors at least once per month. Once per semester we host a social event for mentors and Achievers. The College Mentor Coordinator supports the mentor/mentee relationship by clarifying roles and expectations, providing training and resources, and by communicating with participants to ensure there is mutual satisfaction in the mentoring relationship. The Achievers Program has been very successful in Washington State and is being replicated nationwide.
Are you interested in becoming a mentor? Please contact Sharon Ericsson for more information.

Read a letter from Sharon