Unless good mentoring is embedded in institutional systems of rewards and promotions, it is unfair to expect faculty members to assign high priority to good mentoring. Therefore, we recommend that institutions incorporate mentoring and advising effectiveness in the criteria used for appraisals of faculty performance, including evaluations for the purposes of promotion and tenure.

Few institutions have developed mechanisms for appraising mentoring performance. Because techniques of mentoring vary widely among individuals (including the amount of time spent with students, the degree of intervention in student choices, how meetings with students are structured, and the extent of joint activities), qualitative measures are of little value. Given the logical premise that one's mentoring effectiveness is reflected by the later achievements of one's students, however, a number of useful mechanisms for appraising mentoring performance are apparent. For example, institutions could

  • Track the progress of former students to provide information about the career experiences of graduates.

  • Develop a faculty evaluation form and ask third-year graduate students to complete it, assessing how well their mentors (or other faculty members) have contributed to their research, scholarship, and general education. A sample form is available at the NRC Web site: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/mentor.

  • Collect data from current students on their perceptions of faculty performance in mentoring and advising.

In addition to appraising mentoring performance, institutions can take other steps to stimulate better mentoring, including the following:

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