Faculty Mentorship

Dr. Gurtner in OR

In the University of Arizona Department of Arizona, we strive to support our faculty members in the achievement of their goals through professional develop and a strong mentorship system designed to strengthen each individual person's objectives across education, research and clinical areas.


The goals of the Department of Surgery mentoring program are:

  • To create an environment that encourages and enables success of our faculty in all areas.
  • To develop and implement a durable, ongoing, formal faculty development program to assist faculty members, regardless of track or rank, to achieve their academic, clinical and research goals.
  • To provide opportunities for faculty to develop the skills required to assume leadership positions within the department and institution.
  • To keep all faculty fully engaged in the mission of the department

The process of mentoring begins during recruitment of faculty for open positions. As we interview and evaluate prospective faculty candidates, we focus on what skills and attributes they possess as well as those they might need to develop to fill the role we anticipate for them in the department. The mentoring program is discussed with the candidate as one of the benefits of employment.

The model for mentoring in the Department of Surgery utilizes a team structure with assignments based on the goals of the mentee in areas such as research, education, and clinical productivity. The chair along with the vice chair for academic affairs oversees the establishment of a mentoring committee for the new faculty member as part of the onboarding process. The vice chairs in the department (Knowledge Expansion, Education, Clinical Operations, Quality and Outreach/Community Affairs) plus the faculty member’s division chief will provide input to assign a mentoring team based on the intended focus of the mentee.

New faculty members are assigned a minimum of three mentors and a lead mentor of their committee. Mentors from outside the Department of Surgery may also be utilized. For example, a research or clinical mentor from another department may be assigned to aid in the development of a research or clinical program that spans more than one academic unit. The lead mentor will identify performance training opportunities (i.e. courses and individual training) and submit recommendations to the department chair.

Mentors are actively involved in the onboarding process of faculty members, facilitating their integration into the department and the college. This onboarding process is developed and monitored by the vice chair for academic affairs and the personnel affairs coordinator in the department. In addition to regular individual meetings with mentors, the mentee will meet with their committee at the time of their initial hire and at regular intervals. More frequent meetings with the committee may occur as needed. Any concerns from the mentoring committee or the mentee should be directed to the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, as well as any identified needs or resources required to aid in the development of the Mentee.

All faculty members are required to meet with their division chief and the department chair at least annually in a formal manner to review their annual report, career goals, funding, teaching assignments and evaluations, service commitments, accomplishments and concerns. The Departmental Peer Review Committee overseeing the annual review process will also provide feedback on the mentee’s goals, objectives and opportunities within the department, as well as comment on the effectiveness of the mentoring process for the faculty member.

Final approval of the mentoring committee is made by the department chair.

The mentoring committee should meet at the time of the initial hire and at regular intervals with their assigned mentee. The lead mentor usually can meet with the mentee monthly or as needed. Mentors will be encouraged to evaluate their mentoring skills using materials provided through the Office of Faculty Affairs, and obtain additional training, as appropriate.

Mentees are expected and encouraged to:

  • Clearly define their career goals.
  • Organize regular meetings with lead mentor and/or mentoring committee.
  • Update the mentoring committee and department chair on any changes in career goals, accomplishments, problems or concerns – as soon as possible.

Mentors are expected and encouraged to do the following:

  • Provide guidance on time management and work/life balance.
  • Provide advice for effective teaching for students, residents and other learners.
  • Provide advice about activities that will advance development of their clinical and academic reputation.
  • Provide connections for the mentee to others in their field, and pass on opportunities such as talks to give, and conferences to attend.
  • Provide institutional knowledge about where resources may be found, and who has the power/influence to get things done.

Mentees and mentors will work collaboratively to:

  • Facilitate the establishment and growth of the mentee’s clinical practice to identify opportunities for outreach and fostering interactions with potential referring providers.
  • Review/critique the mentee’s research. This includes reading and editing manuscripts and grant proposals, in a timely manner. Help with identifying appropriate granting agencies, relevant study sections and appropriate journals to submit work to.
  • Outline and review clinical quality metrics and define plan to ensure metrics are being met and/or exceeded.
  • Review the mentee’s plan for achieving his/her career goals, and advise about what needs to be done to be promoted.
  • Advocate for the mentee within the department, for example by assisting in assuring protected time for the mentee to achieve particular research goals.
  • Work together with the department chair to nominate the mentee for appropriate academic awards.
  • Develop skills and competence to become mentors themselves.

Both mentors and mentees are expected to complete the annual Mentoring Evaluation Form and provide a copy to the vice chair for academic affairs. 

Learn About the Faculty Mentoring Plan