From increased service loads to social barriers and challenges in pursuing critical research, the specific constraints that Black, Indigenous and people of color face in academia as scholars and administrators create considerable obstacles to their retention and success. Nevertheless, we know that the crucial research, teaching, service, and decision-making duties these early career scholars and administrators undertake are vital for transforming the cultures of our campuses and communities into more equitable places for all. To this end, the FOCWG mentorship program aims to partner early-to-mid-career professors and administrators with trained senior mentors to create enduring professional relationships that will provide guidance, resources, and support to early career scholars and administrators as they cement their foothold in academia.
The Mellon Mentors Program aims to create a supportive community of scholars that works towards alleviating the unequal advancement of FOC through the ranks of academia. The three-year pilot program seeks to assist in the creation and support of mentorship relationships that will benefit individual mentors and mentees, while encouraging change at the institutional level.
Unlike more traditional mentor/mentee programs, the goal of the NEHC Mellon Mentors Program is the creation of mentoring cohorts that offer multiple models of mentoring and expands the network of support for program participants.
The FOCWG Mentoring program aims to train and implement a diverse (in terms of identities, fields, administrative/faculty experience) regional mentor network that is institutionally independent, but regionally connected, and that helps foster diversity in the professoriate at all levels.
The first year of the program (2020–2021) will be devoted to identifying and training FOC mentors committed to the advancement of pre-tenure FOC outside of their home institutions. Mentors will be chosen based on their track record of previous mentoring experience, their participation in the mandatory training program, and two-year commitment to mentoring a pre-tenure faculty member. Areas of focus will be determined based on the strengths of the identified mentors and the needs identified by FOC in the region.
The second year of the program (2021–2022) will be focused on creating the first cohort of mentees and building the relationships between the program’s participants. The participants of the program will come together during the 2022 FOCWG Conference for programming aimed at specifically supporting the mentoring relationships being created.
The third year of the program (2022–2023) will further develop the mentoring cohort and begin to envision future directions for the program and its participants. Members of the first mentoring cohort will come together at the annual conference with the goal of assessing the program and developing strategies for the continued growth of the mentoring network.
Applications for the first mentoring cohort of the NEHC Mellon Mentors Program will be available soon.