ADVANCE Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Program Guidelines

2023-2024 Mutual Mentoring Grant Proposals Due March 1, 2023


Please note: the ADVANCE Mutual Mentoring Grant Program is distinct from the Office of Faculty Development (OFD) Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Program. There will be a separate call for OFD Mutual Mentoring Team Grants. Faculty may apply to both the ADVANCE and OFD Mutual Mentoring programs but are eligible to receive only one award. Proposals that are considered for funding and have applied to both programs, will be reviewed collaboratively and the two offices will coordinate to ensure all faculty are well served.

I. Program Description

The ADVANCE Mutual Mentoring program supports faculty at a wide variety of career stages, in developing robust professional networks that include a variety of mentoring partners within and outside the UMass Amherst campus. Mentoring grants are available to support networks comprised of four or more faculty and may include mix of types and ranks of faculty.

“Mutual Mentoring” distinguishes itself from the traditional model (i.e., top-down, one-on-one, senior- to-junior partnership) by encouraging the development of non-hierarchical, collaborative networks, where members of these networks provide knowledge and experience to other members of the networks, in ways that benefit members of the networks. Mentoring partners may choose to meet one-on-one, in large groups, in subgroups, in person, online (e.g., email, chat, SKYPE, etc.), or in a combination of these suggested formats.

II. Priority Mentoring Areas

The guiding principle for UMass ADVANCE is Collaboration & Equity.  The program aims to support equity among faculty by gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, nationality, and other statuses. Our priority mentoring areas include projects aimed at helping faculty build inclusive communities, engage in research collaboration, and participate in shared decision-making. 

Research collaborations are critical to most scientific careers, but, establishing strategies for successful collaborations are usually not formally taught. Faculty members may establish a mutual mentoring group to support working in collaborative teams, which might discuss connecting with potential collaborators, applying for collaborative grants, establishing effective working relationships, co-advising students, publishing strategies, etc. Communities might also be focused around synergistic intellectual interests, bringing together faculty with common interests to build the potential for research collaborations.

Inclusive Community Building is central to academic success. While academia appears to be driven by individual achievement, those achievements are generally not possible without a larger community of support. Faculty members may wish to establish a mutual mentoring group that develops a community of support, through conversations with colleague. Communities might be focused around particular identities (e.g., STEM faculty of color, women in computer science, GLBTQIA+ faculty, international faculty in social science, NTT faculty in engineering), or around particular issues (e.g., grant submissions, mentoring doctoral students, team-based learning, tenure & promotion, work-life balance).

Shared Decision-Making is key to helping faculty feel engaged and invested in departmental work, and helping develop the leadership potential in faculty members. Faculty members may wish to establish a mutual mentoring group that engages to discuss best practices in how to make decisions, make personnel processes clear to colleagues, provide clear feedback to colleagues and leaders, or develop strategies for faculty interested in leadership opportunities.

III. Types of Team Grant Projects Supported

Team Grants cannot be used to fund regular departmental school/college activities. Examples of Team Grant projects include (but are not limited to):

  1. Creating a program aimed at expanding opportunities for collaboration among STEM women in a particular field. 
  2. Establishing a mentoring program that connects women and gender minorities of color across the university. 
  3. Establishing a mentoring network for mid-career STEM women and mapping pathways to promotion to full professor.
  4. Developing a mentoring network of Chairs/Heads interested in identifying good strategies to engage all of their faculty in healthy and democratic decision-making.
  5. Building opportunities for leadership training and development for STEM international faculty.

IV. Award Information

The Team Grant program provides support of up to $6,000 per award. The team leader will be notified at the end of April of the status of the application. If awarded, the team leader must attend (and all team members are strongly encouraged to attend) a grant kickoff meeting with ADVANCE.

V. Grant Period

Team Grants will fund activities from June 1, 2023–May 31, 2024. Upon conclusion of the grant year, the team leader must provide a summary of the impact of the mutual mentoring group's work on its members, a one-page summary of grant activities, and a budget of grant expenditures.

VI. Eligibility

We welcome proposals from tenure-track full-time faculty and full-time lecturers who are on continuing appointments, although we particularly encourage proposals from faculty members in NSF-supported fields and all proposals must be led or co-led by a faculty member in an NSF-supported fields (the College of Engineering, College of Information and Computer Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, or College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, or in the departments of Management in the Isenberg School of Management and Linguistics in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts). Team Grants are available to support networks comprised of four of more faculty (minimum). Team grants may include a mix of types and ranks of faculty, as long as the majority of the individuals meet the eligibility criteria. Pre-existing teams (for example, faculty members who have had a TEFD or Office of Faculty Development Mutual Mentoring grant) are not excluded, but they must show how their proposal addresses ADVANCE priority mentoring areas.

VII. Evaluation Criteria

  1. Quality of the Mentorship Project
    • Proposal responds to a compelling mentorship need that differs from mentoring activities normally supported or provided by a department, school/college, or program.
    • Proposal outcomes are clearly stated and build on the Mutual Mentoring model.
    • Clear alignment between intended outcomes and activities that address one or more of the priority mentoring areas. 
    • Demonstrated engagement by all core team members in conceptualizing the mentoring project.
  2. Feasibility
    • Proposal activities are well-planned and can realistically be accomplished in the grant period.
    • Budget is reasonable in view of the proposal design and given the uncertainties of the Pandemic has contingencies for both remote or in person costs to support the goals of the program.
  3. Impact
    • Proposal describes how the mutual mentoring project will affect the team members’ professional goals.
    • Proposal describes how the project promotes inclusion and diversity.
    • Proposal describes how participants will draw sustained professional benefits from their experience in their mutual mentoring team grant program.

VIII. Reporting Requirements

Each team is required to submit one progress report to the ADVANCE Program within 12 months from the date of the award as well as a final report, if the funded grant work continues past the data of the initial report. Download the ADVANCE Mutual Mentoring Report Template

The ADVANCE Program will issue requests for progress reports and completion of a brief survey prior to the reporting deadline. Given the pandemic, many projects have been altered; others have played out differently than expected. Your report will help us identify how to best support current and upcoming mutual mentoring teams.
Required information in these reports will include:

  • Title & Participants, including changes in team members
  • Brief description of work 
  • Update on use of budgeted funds/remaining funds  
  • Challenges and barriers to the group’s work 
  • Listings of any outcomes resulting from the work

IX. Applying and Submitting Your Application 

Proposals will be accepted through March 1, 2023

  1. Sign up to attend our information session on Feb 7, 2023 from 10:00-11:00pm, Zoom. This session will cover both the ADVANCE and Office of Faculty Development Mutual Mentoring Grant Programs. If you can’t attend, please contact Donna Baron at to set up a time to discuss your application.

Register for Info Session

  1. Download the following three files. You will need to fill these out and upload them when you submit your application in step 3:
  2. After you have finalized your contact sheet, narrative, and budget click to submit your application. You will answer a few questions and upload the three completed files.

Submit Your Application

If you have any questions, please contact Donna Baron at