Mutual Mentoring Micro Grant Program Guidelines

Mutual Mentoring Micro Grant Program Guidelines

Supporting faculty in developing robust professional networks

Program Description

The Mutual Mentoring program supports faculty in developing robust professional networks that include a variety of mentoring partners within and outside the UMass Amherst campus, and at a wide variety of career stages

Submission Deadline

  • The Deadline has passed for the 2019-2020 application year. The next application deadline is February 25, 2021.

“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 each person in the network provides specific areas of knowledge and experience
  • The network relationships are formed to benefit the person traditionally known as the “protégé” as well as the person traditionally known as the “mentor.”

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.

Priority Mentoring Areas

According to previous focus group and survey data from UMass Amherst faculty, there are numerous challenges to professional success and well - being, the majority of which fall into six key categories that closely parallel the challenges identified in the literature of faculty development at large. These challenges have been designated as “Priority Mentoring Areas” at UMass Amherst.

  • Getting to Know the Institution: Understanding the academic culture of departments, schools/colleagues, and the institution; identifying resources to support research and teaching; and creating a trusted network of junior and senior colleagues.
  • Understanding Promotion and Tenure: Better understanding of the tenure and promotion processes — both for promotion to associate and promotion to full professor ranks — learning more about the criteria for evaluating research and teaching performance, finding support in developing the promotion dossier, soliciting feedback on the quality and quantity of work through the annual faculty review.
  • Developing a Support Network: Forging career-enhancing relationships with faculty (at UMass or outside the institution) who share similar interests, challenges, and/or opportunities. Networks designed to support underrepresented faculty, mid-career faculty, and faculty interested in future leadership roles are particularly encouraged.
  • Excelling at Research: Developing a research/writing plan, identifying sources of internal and external funding, soliciting feedback on manuscripts and grant proposals, setting up and running a successful laboratory, or identifying outside scholars who could be external reviewers.
  • Excelling at Teaching: Finding support for teaching, such as developing new courses, pedagogical methods, technologies, interdisciplinary curricula, or supporting the learning of all students.
  • Establishing Work-Life Strategies: Prioritizing and/or balancing teaching, research, and service; establishing short-term and long-term goals; finding a time management system that works for you; attending to quality of life issues such as dual careers, childcare, and affordable housing.

Types of Micro Grant Projects Supported

Examples of Micro Grant projects include (but are not limited to):

  1. Off-campus meetings to visit a mentor to discuss a new research area or teaching method.
  2. Travel expenses to co-present with a mentoring partner(s), and/or meet new or existing mentoring partner(s) at a professional conference.
  3. Modest honoraria to bring a mentoring partner to UMass Amherst for in-person mentoring and/or a public event, such as a departmental workshop or talk.
  4. Editing services from a writing coach or an editor to proofread, fine tune, or edit a scholarly manuscript for submission.

Award Information

The Micro Grant program provides support of up to $1,500 per award. Applicants will be notified in April of the status of their proposals. If awarded, applicants must attend a 1-on-1 grant kickoff meeting with an OFD staff member to discuss their mentoring network plans.

Grant Period

Micro Grants will fund activities from June 1, 2020- May 31, 2021. Upon conclusion of the grant year, recipients must provide a one-page summary of activities, including mentoring networks, and expenses.


We welcome proposals from full-time non-tenure and tenure-track faculty with continuing appointments. Micro Grants are available to support networks comprised of up to three individuals (the applicant and up to two on-or off-campus mentoring partners).

In order to be considered for a mutual mentoring grant, all micro grant applicants must attend an information session for an overview and discussion on preparing a complete proposal and budget submission. Several sessions will be offered at various times, to ensure your ability to attend.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Quality of the Mentorship Project
    • Proposal outcomes are clearly stated and build on the Mutual Mentoring model.
    • Outcomes and activities address one or more of the priority mentoring areas.
  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.
  3. Impact
    • Proposal describes how the project will affect the faculty member’s professional goals.