UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 11 | Sep.
5 , 2002
Finding a Friend on the First Day of School
New faculty to benefit from mentoring program
By Hilary Thomson
Everyone knows being the new kid at school can be scary for
students, but for UBC's more than 450 full and part-time new
faculty members, it can be just as unnerving.
That's why Luisa Canuto will partner senior faculty with
campus newcomers as she revitalizes UBC's faculty mentoring
program to give our newest faculty members some seasoned support.
Mentor John Gilbert, principal of the College of Health Disciplines,
says he is motivated to make the complex organism called the
university more user friendly.
"By serving as a mentor, I'm privileged to repay the
debt I owe UBC for the amazing academic life it has allowed
me since arriving as a young faculty member 36 years ago,"
Some mentors say the process injects energy into their own
careers and revitalizes their interest in their work and in
the university, says Canuto who is project coordinator in
The Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth (TAG).
She will establish an advisory group of about 15 senior faculty
and others to rebuild the mentoring program. She has contacted
deans and department heads for input. Some departments already
have an existing mentoring system which augments the TAG program.
"This is a big part of academic growth for both mentors
and new faculty," says Canuto, who has been a sessional
instructor in the French, Hispanic and Italian Studies Dept.
and Continuing Studies since 1996. "Both partners come
away with new learning about their careers and a new perspective
on the university."
Issues for new faculty range from learning departmental protocol
and handling teaching challenges to personal issues such as
The mentoring program helps to build community on campus
and increase new faculty's sense of belonging - to their discipline
and to their university, says TAG director Gary Poole. Mentors
in UBC's original program have been asking when the program
would be revived, he adds.
"For mentors, the rewards are intrinsic," he says.
"There is a great sense of personal satisfaction in being
valued for your experience and knowing that it helps others."
In addition to professional support, the program offers a
social network that is especially valuable to faculty who
arrive from other countries. A walking tour for new faculty
held in August allowed recruits to visit units on campus and
get to know colleagues.
Three-day instructional skills workshops for new faculty
have been held as well as sessions on topics such as hiring
grad students and managing a lab.
"We want new faculty to know there is a place for them
here," says Poole. By the year 2005 more than 45 per
cent of current faculty will retire, making faculty renewal
a key strategy in Trek 2000, the university vision statement.
TAG, established in 1987, is dedicated to enhancing the teaching
skills of faculty and graduate students through a range of
programs, services and resources. For further information
visit the website at www.tag.ubc.ca.
or see the next issue of Tapestry, the TAG newsletter.