Functional Mentoring

CHSU Functional Mentoring Program for Faculty Growth and Success



The rewards and satisfactions of an academic life are considerable, but they are counter‐balanced by practical challenges and high‐performance standards that, at times, can be quite intimidating. Therefore strong self‐assessment and continuous quality improvement processes for faculty members is imperative. The reflective portfolio and functional mentoring process described in the PDF available to download are a potential solution to this problem.

Developmental Partners

Faculty are encouraged to engage others in developmental partnerships. These can arise naturally from shared offices, shared projects, team‐teaching and mutual service on committees. Therefore in every working context, faculty are asked to reach out to others who are in a position to provide feedback on performance. Normally, this is done through the “SII” a tool that is used institution‐wide as a tool for growth (SII = Strengths‐Insights‐Improvements).

Critical Reflection and Planning

The central component of a reflective academic portfolio is regular documentation of critical reflection on one’s work. CHSU has developed the faculty growth rubric as an aid to this work. Developmental partnerships are an important part of this reflection, since others often are in a position to help us see our blind spots.

Functional Mentor

The most important fact to consider is that those who are mentored consistently rise more quickly within a profession and their paths tend to be less problematic.
(Kochan FK, Trimble SB. From mentoring to co‐mentoring: establishing collaborative relationships. Theory into Practice. 2000;39:20‐28)

Functional mentoring is project‐focused. As the mentoring relationship develops, the mentor and mentee begin to flesh out the project in detail.

The areas of development that mentees are asked to focus on at this time are 1) leadership, 2) practice and precepting, 3) teaching, 4) mindset and stress management/behavioral development, 5) research/research agenda, 6) application and 7) assessment.

How do I get started?

Contact your department chair. During the meeting, you will discuss how to best match your mentoring needs with a mentor. The department chair will complete a “Kickstart to Functional Mentoring” form that records a few items:

  1. your meeting
  2. area of development (one of the seven areas described above)
  3. SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely)
  4. approximate number of mentor‐mentee interactions needed to achieve goal

Once submitted, the information and invitation are received by the functional mentor.

Functional Mentoring Kickstart Form

What happens next?

You meet with your functional mentor. To support the assembly of your reflective academic portfolio, you will record your meeting in your Functional Mentoring Log Book.

Functional Mentoring Log Book