The goal of the University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s Mentoring Program is to provide a professional, educational and personal support system for new faculty of the Extension system. This mentoring guide provides detail about the mentoring program. The program is designed for academic and administrative faculty with programmatic responsibilities, except Letters of Appointment (LOAs), temporary faculty appointments, or soft funded administrative faculty. Exceptions for administrative faculty may be granted by the Area Director provided a mentor can be found.

New faculty will benefit from the guidance of a mentor and the program will provide an easier transition into the University of Nevada, Reno Extension system, thus accelerating the productivity of the mentee and enhancing the effectiveness of Extension.

A useful mentoring program will enhance the mentee’s job performance by:

  • Identifying resources and resource persons for the mentee
  • Educating the mentee in all organizational philosophy, goals, policies and values
  • Sharing skills and knowledge of an experienced and successful Extension professional to meet the need of the mentee
  • Strengthening the mentee’s leadership skills and self-confidence
  • Fostering open communication and dialogue
  • Ensuring that tenure track faculty have the best opportunity to achieve tenure and non-tenure track faculty have the best opportunity for promotion within their position

Mentoring Approaches

Two approaches are available—traditional one-on-one mentoring or multiple mentors. The traditional mentoring approach matches the mentee with one seasoned mentor to provide support and guidance. The multiple mentor approach allows mentees to enlist multiple mentors with various expertise to build a team of support and guidance. However, new tenure-track faculty need to have at least one mentor focused on the tenure-track process that has gone through the tenure process with UNR. Other than tenure-track, matching should be based on the needs of the mentee.


Mentee refers to the new faculty member who has been hired and who has been assigned a mentor. The mentee should be willing to take the advice of mentors seriously and realize that mentors are acting in the mentees’ best interest. Mentees should understand what they want from the mentoring relationship and communicate their goals and aspirations to the mentor. They should follow up with resources and references that the mentor gives to find answers to questions or needed information. All mentees are expected to develop a mentoring plan and document that they worked on the mentoring plan they created.

Mentor refers to the experienced faculty member who provides the mentoring. The role of the mentor should be perceived as a coach who has strong respect and concern for the mentee. The major contribution made by the mentor is their willingness to devote time and energy on behalf of the mentee. Every mentor has a specific body of professional knowledge and skills to share. The knowledge that the mentor has must be transformed into a relationship that will meet the mentee’s maturity and experience level. The mentor is one of several support groups that will help the new faculty get a successful start in their Extension career. Being a mentor is totally voluntary, but active mentors will receive recognition for their activity and commitment to the mentoring program. This recognition may take the form of public recognition by administration or supervisors and should be included in faculty role statements and performance evaluation documents.

The Immediate Supervisor (if different than the Area Director) will help the new faculty become acquainted with the basic Extension policies, procedures and employee guidelines that all Extension employees must follow. Extension philosophy and overview of program planning, implementation, evaluation, reporting and interpretation also will be addressed by the supervisor. The supervisor and employee together, with the input of others, will set forth a professional development plan to aid the new faculty in their continued success. The mentoring process will play an important role in this professional development plan. The immediate supervisor will work with the mentee to establish a match to a mentor. Area Director (if different than the immediate supervisor) will assist the new faculty in becoming familiar with program development in Extension, including current programming efforts and initiatives. They will be the new faculty’s key resource for programming contacts and resources. They will also provide input to the supervisor on the employee’s professional development plan.

The Associate Director of Extension is responsible for coordinating the overall mentoring program. The Associate Director will develop and implement an orientation for mentors, send out the annual call for mentors (as needed), maintain an updated list of mentors, and develop a standardized assessment of the mentoring process in partnership with Area Directors. The Director of Extension gives the final approval of the Extension Mentoring Plan and approves any expenses incurred in carrying out the plan.

To learn more about the "Benefits of Mentoring", "Guidelines" and "Timelines" use the link below.

Bishop, C; Kim, YB; Weigel, D 2020, Extension Mentoring Program for New Faculty: Reference Guide , Extension, University of Nevada, Reno

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

Small Business and COVID-19
A reference for Small Business Owners adapting to Rapid Economic Change due to COVID-19
B. Borden, L. Thomas 2020, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno