Faculty Mentorship Program
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigeneity and Accessibility
Mentoring experiences can be transformative for both mentors and mentees, and mentorship supports professional development and contributes to wellness. The literature indicates that not all sociocultural groups have access to and opportunities for mentorship. There is an underrepresentation of women of all racial/ethnic groups and individuals specifically identifying as Black and Indigenous. Greater access to mentorship across all sectors of faculty serves an important goal as workplaces that are more diverse and inclusive are more responsive to current and emerging problems. A more systematic mentorship program was included as a core component of the Department Strategic plan and proposes moving away from an ad hoc approach to mentorship, towards a more formalized mentorship program that aims to be inclusive and effective in supporting faculty wellness and career development.
A Vice-Chair role in Equity and Mentorship was created in 2019. In February 2020, a Mentorship workgroup was assembled under the leadership of the Vice-Chair to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation planning of the program. Workgroup membership was invited from among faculty to represent all areas of scholarship, academic roles, and academic ranks in the Department, including membership from Status-only (PhD) faculty. Gender representation, as well as expertise in Equity and Diversity and experience with mentorship (as a mentor or mentee) were also considered in the invitations to join the workgroup.
The Department of Psychiatry officially launched its faculty mentorship program in September 2021. The proposed mentorship framework places the relationship of the primary mentor and mentee as a centralized component (recognizing mentees may have additional mentors or coaches), supported by mentorship groups in specific areas related to social identity, scholarship, or academic roles. The model recognizes contexts, including society, as well as the specific institutions (e.g., University of Toronto; Faculty of Medicine) as having their own systems, hierarchical structures and forces that will influence academic and career development, and thus are significant in considering effective mentorship
Principles of EDIIA have been incorporated throughout the mentorship program, which endorses support for access to mentorship for all new faculty regardless of role or location of work (e.g., all academic hospitals including community sites, research institutions). A key goal of mentorship is to support the identity of the faculty mentee, within a specific academic role(s) and to support career growth and development by providing access and relational supports to help navigate a career pathway.
A phased approach for implementation has been adopted with the first phase inviting all new faculty into the mentorship program. Over time, faculty members who would like a mentor and who does not have one, are being invited to be paired with primary mentor.
Values of Mentorship Program:
Excellence and Impact
Excellence and Impact: Promote optimal academic impact in all areas of scholarship, including education, research, and creative professional activities.
Inclusivity: Inclusive of our faculty in all of its diversity, including gender, age, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, career stage, career pathway and academic role, and other personal characteristics.
Equity: Identify and address systematic inequities and disadvantages related to academic fulfillment and progress (equal access to opportunities and resources, mentorship for education, QI, and research pillars).
Wellness and Safety
Wellness and Safety: Ensure psychological safety, physical safety, and faculty wellness in all mentorship programs and professional relationships.
Career Fulfillment: Openness to possible career paths and support in making career decisions, which includes how to balance one’s personal and professional lives.
Person-Centeredness: Promote alignment of personal goals and aspirations with faculty members’ career trajectories and contributions through a temporal lens that recognizes an iterative and flexible approach for valuing of all contributions.
Community: Foster collaboration and connection across the department and the broader academic community.
Mentorship Program Principles:
Accountability: Program elements designed with metrics to transparently measure progress, including inclusivity, equity, wellness, safety, and academic progress. These metrics are evaluated to iteratively drive changes needed to continue to forward the vision and mission.
Transparency: Program elements, career pathways, and processes towards promotion are transparent.
EDIIA Considerations within the mentorship program
Approaches to mentee/mentor pairing
Our online mentorship platform has been set up to generate up to three algorithm-generated mentor matches for each mentee. The matches are based on the fields in user profiles: appointment type (e.g. Clinician Teacher, Clinician Investigator, Status Only scientist), scholarship and clinical areas of interest, and other professional development areas of interest (e.g. leadership, wellness). Mentees are also given the option to indicate whether they have a gender or ethnicity preference for their mentor. Where preferences are indicated, they are factored into the algorithmic matching.
We also supplement the algorithm approach with a “human touch”, recognizing that finding compatibility between mentor and mentee is a human process. All mentees are encouraged to reach out to the program administrator if the recommendations are not suitable, so that we may learn more about their needs and assist in finding a suitable mentor.
Training for mentors and mentees to support EDIIA
We continuously offer workshops, resources, and training for both mentors and mentees that incorporate principles of EDI. All mentors and mentees receive implicit bias training and are offered additional workshops that support mentee/mentor relationships and opportunities to support diverse backgrounds, career and personal goals.
- Mentor training workshop - September 2021
- "How to Build Skills as an Equitable and Inclusive Mentor" poster and workshop - Donald Wasylenki Education Day 2022
Mentorship groups for information-sharing and psychosocial support
To support the primary mentor/mentee model, the Department is further supporting career development and wellness through group communities.
Groups have been planned based on input from our faculty mentorship survey and the EDI Promotions Workshop held in Spring 2021.
All faculty are encouraged to explore any groups of interest on the Qooper mentorship platform:
Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
A logic model was developed to inform an assessment and evaluation plan of the mentorship program using an implementation science approach over a three-year period. The evaluation will help identify areas of strength and opportunities. Mentees and mentors have been asked to participate in surveys and reviews of the formal mentorship activities and programs to enhance outcomes and to inform periodic self-reflection. Qualitative and quantitative research methods have been used to identify academic outcomes, confidence, career satisfaction, perceptions of access, departmental climate (including EDI-related areas and well-being), and overall experiences with the program structures and tools. The evaluation feedback and tracking helps identify patterns of systemic bias (e.g., selection of mentors; uptake by mentees) and helps identify system issues in an effort to reduce unintentional bias and protect mentees who are in inherently more vulnerable positions, while supporting accountability. Assessments include input with various stakeholders to ensure alignment of the program goals and mission, and ensure that practices for effective mentorship are incorporated throughout activities and programs.