Please join us for ENCIRCLE: mENtoring CIRCLEs in support of women on the faculty.

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty is happy to announce that the ENCIRCLE (mENtoring CIRCLE) program will be offered for the 2019-2020 academic year. ENCIRCLE is intended for CSU faculty members who identify as women or non-binary at all career stages (tenure and non-tenure track). This is the second year of the program and, in addition to doubling the number of circles overall, we are offering circles especially for women of color.

What is a mentoring circle?

Mentoring circles are small groups of colleagues who mentor each other on a variety of topics under the direction of a skilled professional facilitator. Members support each other as a network, from the more junior members to the more senior, from the senior to junior, and across disciplines and appointment types.

Background on mentoring circles

Women at all stages of their academic careers face challenges related to their gender. A key part of the solution is to build a culture of support for women faculty members through formal mentoring structures. Mentoring Circles in institutions of higher education are known to create job satisfaction, provide support and a sense of belonging, support tenure and promotion, and help members feel comfortable in the higher education profession (Thomas, M., Bystydzienski, J., and Desai, A. 2014. “Changing Institutional Culture through Peer Mentoring of Women STEM Faculty,” Innovative Higher Education 40: 143-157).

Mentoring circles are composed of small groups of faculty members, representing different departments, career stages, and experiences, who meet on a regular basis to discuss shared topics of interest under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Topics of interest are varied and might include: administrative processes, culture and equity, research collaborations, work-life balance, professional support with feedback, among others (“Best Practices for Mentoring Early-Career Faculty,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

ENCIRCLE is intended to increase job satisfaction, motivation, productivity, and stimulate creativity and collaboration. The program will supplement the more grassroots and specialized mentoring programs that have emerged within disciplines (e.g., Women in Science groups).  Mentoring Circles that integrate faculty from across the university are likely to spur relationships and collaborations, which in turn can facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship and nurture best practices for supporting women. Mentoring Circle practices are crucial in supporting careers at all stages, are especially beneficial to women, and can transform our institutions to achieve better professional outcomes for all.

ENCIRCLE is a program run by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty with generous support from the President’s office

What can you expect from participation in a mentoring circle?

  • Six meetings (3 each semester), 1.5 hours each
  • Support for career advancement
  • Support for work-life balance
  • Discussions of professional development
  • Intellectual engagement
  • Professional feedback
  • Peer-to-peer mentorship in a variety of topics
  • An improved sense of support and belonging at CSU

What types of topics will be discussed during mentoring sessions? 

  • Climate and culture in the workplace
  • Balancing life and work
  • Women helping women succeed
  • Professional advancement: tenure and/or promotion
  • Collaboration between junior and senior faculty members
  • Administrative processes
  • Working with today’s student population
  • Balancing productivity in research with service
  • Getting respect in the classroom
  • Managing difficult colleagues