Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Program Guidelines

Mutual Mentoring Team 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 next 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 Team Grant Projects Supported

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

  • Establishing a departmental mentoring program that brings together new, early-career, and/or tenured faculty as mentoring partners around a particular issue.
  • Establishing a cross-department/college mentoring network for mid-career development and mapping a pathway to promotion to full professor.
  • Creating an interdisciplinary mentoring network within a particular school or college.
  • Building a research mentoring roundtable of faculty across the Five College Consortium.

Award Information

The Team Grant program provides support of up to $6,000 per award. The team leader will be notified in April of the status of the application. If awarded, the team leader must attend (and all team members are strongly encouraged to attend) a 1-on-1 grant kickoff meeting with a OFD staff member and provide a draft version of the team ’s “mentor map” for the project; the “mentor map” template will be provided with the grant award letter.

Grant Period

Team Grants will fund activities from June 1 - May 31. Upon conclusion of the grant year, the team leader must provide an updated “mentor map” that reflects the team’s actual grant activities that addressed the mentoring needs, a one-page summary of grant activities, and a budget of grant expenses.


We welcome proposals from tenure-track full-time faculty and full-time lecturers who are on continuing appointments. 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.

Under exceptional circumstances, the Selection Committee will award a grant to a team previously funded by the Mutual Mentoring Program. However, priority will be given to teams that have not yet received funding.

In order to be considered for a mutual mentoring grant, a representative of the team grant application 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 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.
  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.