An institution-wide faculty mentoring program at an academic health center with 6-year prospective outcome data

J Clin Transl Sci. 2019 Oct 7;3(6):308-315. doi: 10.1017/cts.2019.412. eCollection 2019 Dec.

Abstract

Background: There is discontent and turnover among faculty at US academic health centers because of the challenges in balancing clinical, research, teaching, and work-life responsibilities in the current healthcare environment. One potential strategy to improve faculty satisfaction and limit turnover is through faculty mentoring programs.

Methods: A Mentor Leadership Council was formed to design and implement an institution-wide faculty mentoring program across all colleges at an academic health center. The authors conducted an experimental study of the impact of the mentoring program using pre-intervention (2011) and 6-year (2017) post-intervention faculty surveys that measured the long-term effectiveness of the program.

Results: The percent of faculty who responded to the surveys was 45.9% (656/1428) in 2011 and 40.2% (706/1756) in 2017. For faculty below the rank of full professor, percent of faculty with a mentor (45.3% vs. 67.1%, P < 0.001), familiarity with promotion criteria (81.7% vs. 90.0%, P = 0.001), and satisfaction with department's support of career (75.6% vs. 84.7%, P = 0.002) improved. The percent of full professors serving as mentors also increased from 50.3% in 2011 to 68.0% in 2017 (P = 0.002). However, the percent of non-retiring faculty considering leaving the institution over the next 2 years increased from 18.8% in 2011 to 24.3% in 2017 (P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Implementation of an institution-wide faculty mentoring program significantly improved metrics of career development and faculty satisfaction but was not associated with a reduction in the percent of faculty considering leaving the institution. This suggests the need for additional efforts to identify and limit factors driving faculty turnover.

Keywords: Faculty mentoring; career development; career satisfaction; faculty turnover.