Background and objectives: Professional academic skills (PAS) encompass the values, collegial relations, and career management skills essential for faculty success. Mentoring has been proposed as a way for junior faculty to acquire these skills. In this paper, we present a summary of literature on formal mentoring and report an evaluation of a formal mentoring program (FMP) on the PAS development of junior family medicine faculty.
Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was used to examine FMP impact on two groups of junior faculty with 18 months (n = 8) and 6 months (n = 10) of program exposure. We developed a Likert-type questionnaire to assess PAS development and used semistructured interviews to identify unintended outcomes of program participation. A qualitative, template analysis helped surface themes from the descriptive data.
Results: The FMP had an overall positive impact on junior faculty PAS development, with greatest improvements in their understanding of academic values. Proteges with longer program experience had greater gains. Unintended benefits included improved preparation to mentor others and increased perceptions of a supportive academic environment.
Conclusions: Formal mentoring programs can improve the PAS of junior faculty and positively impact an organizational culture that supports faculty development.