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Over the past few decades, the professoriate at Tufts University has become more diverse with increased rates of hiring of faculty members of color. Tufts is no exception to the troubling pattern across higher education where faculty members of color often face unique challenges without adequate support or institutional understanding. In the classroom, faculty members of color are more likely to be confronted by students and receive lower teaching evaluations because of their identities (Pittman, 2010; Stanley, 2006; Reid, 2010). Faculty members of color are often saddled with higher service loads than many of their counterparts (Joseph & Hirshfield, 2011), which may take time away from research and other obligations. Finally, faculty members of color are often one of the few and maybe the only members of their group within their departments (Turner, González & Wood, 2008), thus lacking individuals who may be able to fully relate to their experiences.

As such, CELT seeks to create a mutual mentoring network for faculty members of color located on Tufts University Medford/Somerville campus who are at the rank of Associate and Assistant Professor. This network would create a community of practice among participants that recognizes the contributions and unique challenges of faculty of color. The scholarship on faculty retention and satisfaction identifies mentoring networks as a common characteristic of a successful academic career and its continued development. This is especially true for faculty members of color. Multiple mentoring, through which faculty locate and depend on several different mentors throughout their careers, has been found to be successful in helping faculty members gain the confidence and support to thrive in their academic careers.

In a multiple mentoring network, the protégé might pursue a mentoring relationship with a senior academic in their field, a peer in a similar position at another university, and/or an administrator in a role that they hope to one day perform. This kind of mentoring network has also been called “mutual mentoring” because it offers a more flexible model for mentoring that does not assume a one mentor/one mentee relationship in which the mentor must have all the expertise to guide their protégé through what may be a diverse and wide-ranging career path. Mutual mentoring is not a replacement for departmental mentoring but rather a supplementary source to increase the number of mentors that a faculty member can reach out to for advice. 

In becoming a member of this group, participants will gain tools and resources to establish mutual mentoring networks. This group will meet for one year beginning February 2019 and conclude in January 2020. This group will be limited to ten participants. Each participant will:

  • Have access of up to $1000 during the year for efforts to enhance mentoring.
  • Attend monthly meetings to discuss pressing issues as determined by the collective.
  • Complete an action plan indicating the ways they will enhance their mentoring network and the outcomes they hope to achieve by the end of the program.

To apply to be a part of this group, please complete the application by Wednesday, December 12.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ryan Rideau via email (Ryan.Rideau@tufts.edu) or phone (617) 627-0897.