Academic Mentoring Program

"A good mentor helps you to walk in your own shoes, even if you start out just wanting to walk in theirs"
Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer)

Academic mentoring at Western Sydney University

The Academic Mentoring Program is designed to provide staff with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience to enhance their careers and professional development at the University. Mentoring is an effective process for supporting staff to navigate their career path, to understand and access institutional policies and processes, and to increase confidence and competence in undertaking various scholarly activities.

The University's Securing Success strategy recognises the importance of delivering a range of relevant and value-adding career development opportunities for staff. Mentoring is an important aspect of career and professional development and building a high-performing, competent and collegial workforce to achieve the University's goals and aspirations.

The Program is endorsed by the Vice-Chancellor and Senior Executive and is fully funded by the University and coordinated by Talent and Leadership Development.

Since the first Academic Mentoring Program Pilot in 2010, over 350 individual academic staff have participated. Many mentors returning year after year to support mentees. In 2020, 50 academic staff participated in the Mentoring Program.

About the Program

The Mentoring Program is coordinated by Talent and Leadership Development. Staff are nominated by their Deans or Research Institute Director to participate in the Program. Mentors and Mentees are matched by a panel, based on information provided by staff including career goals and aspirations, areas of interest and expertise, and career and professional development needs.

The Program involves participation in an introduction to mentoring workshop, two evaluation workshops and regular meetings between Mentors and Mentees.

Reported outcomes from participating in the Mentoring Program include: creating opportunities for joint research; gaining insight into different disciplines/schools; developing a cross-school relationship; developing research strategy; receiving support and advice regarding promotion; developing skills in grant bidding, funding sources, and publications; gaining a fresh perspective on career development; and the transfer and sharing of knowledge.

Participants in the Academic Mentoring Program demonstrate strong leadership potential and excellence in Learning and Teaching, Research and/or Governance. Mentees from all academic levels are matched with more experienced senior Academic staff within the University, considering their short and long term goals.

What are the Program Objectives?

Providing staff with the opportunity to broaden and share their knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience

  • Enhancing academic career and professional development at the University through a developmental mentoring partnership
  • Fostering increased engagement in core University activities
  • Building a high-performing, professionally competent and collegial workforce to achieve the University's goals and aspirations.
  • What is mentoring and how is it different to coaching?

    The Mentoring Program adopts a developmental mentoring approach. Mentoring is a confidential partnership between two people built on understanding and trust. Its primary aim is to build the Mentee's self-reliance and self-confidence. Mentoring is a positive, developmental relationship, driven primarily by the Mentee. Mentoring is different from coaching or supervision. Coaching is primarily about performance and the development of specific skills. Mentoring is more broadly based, focusing on developing capability and often includes longer term help for career self-management.

    What does the Mentoring Program involve?

    The Mentoring Programs involve participation in a number of workshops and meeting regularly with your mentor/ mentee over an agreed period of time (e.g. 9 to 12 months) and includes:

    • a half-day introductory workshop where Mentors and Mentees participate in training on mentoring and discussion on the process and expectations
    • a two-hour midpoint evaluation workshop
    • an end of program final evaluation half day workshop

    Comments from past mentoring program participants

    "Being selected to take part in this program has made me feel valued as an employee of the University and that the University is interested in my longer term development."

    "Commitment to mentoring recognises the challenges in academia and the gap that exists for formal mentoring; the more effective use of institutional cultural capital; the potential for across-school research-based on relationships that emerge from the program; and gives a greater sense of Western Sydney University as a community."

    "I feel I have a broader understanding of the ways the University works and this has helped me when addressing items with other schools."

    "I have met a new colleague who I do not think I would have crossed paths with. I have had an insight into a different discipline and the way other schools work and approach staff supervision and development."

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Application Form and Closing Date

    Academic Mentor -  this program will run again soon.

    Academic Mentee - this program will run again soon.

    Closing date for applications:  TBC

    For further information, please contact:

    • Leone Cripps, Senior Consultant Organisational Development, Careers, Talent and Organisational Success

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