Types of Mentoring

Two-Year Faculty helping other Two-Year Faculty
OPTYCs Offers 3 Types of mentoring opportunities.  
Traditional/Vertical Mentoring

Vertical mentoring most of us know; it involves someone who is more experienced helping to guide one or more individuals who wish to learn from that experience. The experienced, more senior person is the mentor, while the learners are the mentees.

  • Traditional Mentee Role: You may be interested in this kind of mentorship group, say, if you are looking to become a Department Chair, and wish the guidance of a colleague who has been or is currently a Chair. Or, you may be planning to give a presentation at a conference, and wish advice from someone who has presented many times. In these examples, you would be interested in a traditional mentee role.


  • Traditional Mentor Role: Alternatively, perhaps you have successfully implemented a new course or program at your institution, and would be willing to provide guidance to other faculty who are thinking of doing the same thing. Or you have published a student workbook, and would like to help others be able to publish their student guides. In these examples, you would be interested in a traditional mentor role.


Peer/Mutual/Horizontal Mentoring

Many institutions now have a student program of peer mentoring, where a student helps students in their own classes (or sometimes, in a class the peer mentor has recently finished). The idea of mutual mentoring has great benefits, as it provides reciprocal support. For example, the e-Alliance program put together groups of 4-5 women who teach physics in higher education, matching groups mostly by point-of-career or by type of institution. Having a group to bring concerns to, brainstorm solutions together, and find similarities of experiences were shown to have an overwhelmingly positive effect on these individuals. This example shows a mutual mentor role.


Affinity Groups

If you are interested in a specific topic to connect with people on, selecting an affinity group might be the method you want to choose.  For example, in this mentoring opportunity we will try to match people around a single objective.  For example, it might be an Astronomy group, or if you attend a Professional Development opportunity we offer and you want to continue the conversation, then you can select the Affinity group option.