UMaine launches new mentoring program for researchers

A new initiative to support UMaine and University of Maine at Machias faculty at multiple stages of career development was launched earlier this year. This new program is offered by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School in partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost.

The Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research (EMPOWER) is a mentoring program that supports faculty in their quest to achieve significant professional growth and advancement, including in research and scholarly activity. Mentoring is available for pre-tenure faculty as they establish a research program, promoted faculty as they expand their research, or faculty set to begin a significant administrative assignment. A total of 28 mentoring pairs will be supported in the first year of the program, split evenly between fall and spring semesters.

Adapted from a similar program developed and successfully implemented at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), EMPOWER has a special emphasis on supporting the professional attainment of faculty who are underrepresented in their academic areas. One of the architects of the IUPUI program, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Development Etta Ward, will speak at the formal launch of the program later this month.

Mentors and mentees will meet on a regular basis and develop program goals and objectives throughout their one-year mentoring relationship. Mentees work towards at least one significant assignment during this process, typically a submitted application for external funding. After an introductory workshop, they will be invited to a range of UMaine professional development opportunities. In parallel, mentors will attend a mentor training program and dedicate at least 40 hours towards mentorship.

Both parties receive limited funds in support of research and professional development. The program is entering its first round of funding this fall and anticipates recruiting future cohorts later in Academic Year 2021-2022.

In cases where there are mentees facing unique challenges that would impact them professionally, including their research and scholarly activity, their primary mentors are complemented by others who would be qualified to provide advice in overcoming or reducing these unique challenges.

Faculty interested in joining the program in the future should contact Associate Director of Research Development Saul Allen, or Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development Jessica Miller,