Welcome to UMentor @ UMass Lowell

The goal of this program is to provide a framework for all new full-time faculty to cultivate meaningful relationships with fellow mentors who can offer insights and advice as you navigate your career, explore new career paths, or consider further education and training. UMentor @ UMass Lowell is a means by which new faculty can learn about UMass Lowell, connect with faculty and staff from across campus and enhance campus networks. We encourage faculty members of all ranks to take this opportunity to enhance a faculty member’s sense of belonging and integrate into our community.

Who are your Mentors?

New faculty are paired up with from mentors from within their department to provide context about their new workplace and give them some insider information about how their department works. Often times, new faculty are also paired with members from outside their departments to provide both a comparison and a reference point. The external mentors may also serve as a sounding board for answering questions that new faculty are hesitant to pose to their own chair or departmental colleagues who will be conducting their reviews.

Expectations for Team Members

We expect team members to set SMART goals for mentees and schedule regular meetings that suit each other’s schedule to discuss these goals and monitor the new faculty’s success at achieving them. We encourage members have to face-to-face meetings (recommended once a month) and provide timely feedback to questions.

Mentee Guidelines

Successful mentoring outcomes are a result of being prepared and being an effective mentee. 

  • 7 Ways to be an Effective Mentee
  • Goal Setting Guide
  • Sample Agenda for Initial Meeting
  • Icebreaker Questions for Initial Meeting

Below are some resources and guides to help you. Please click on the + sign to access each resource.

    1. Understand What You’re Looking For
      Before you approach a prospective mentor, be prepared to answer why you’re interested in learning from this particular person. What type of guidance are you hoping to receive? Make sure your expectations are reasonable, as many would-be mentors will be scared off if they think they’ll have to meet you every week for a year or act as a referee between you and your boss.
    2. Lay Out a Vision for the Relationship
      Once your mentor agrees to engage, open your first meeting with a tentative schedule for when and where you’re going to get together, and what you’re going to discuss. Read the person’s reaction. Hopefully, they will be enthusiastic and you can finalize a plan. But if they aren’t, now is the time to find out. You don’t want a mentor who is meeting you out of obligation.
    3. Respect Your Mentor’s Time
      Your mentor likely has a busy life outside of their relationship with you, so don’t make time-consuming requests or call them at all hours for advice. Stick to the designated meeting schedule and do everything in your power to ensure that get-togethers start and end on time.
    4. Prepare Questions in Advance – and Listen to the Answers
      Before each meeting, put some thought into what you’d like to learn from your mentor. Brainstorm at least 5 questions, and while asking them, show that you’re listening by nodding, ignoring interruptions like your beeping phone, jotting down notes, and asking relevant follow-ups.
    5. Tell the Truth
      It may take a few conversations to build a relationship with your mentor, but once you do, don’t hold back important pieces of information. If your mentor doesn’t have the full story, their advice won’t be as helpful. Also, don’t be afraid to admit mistakes and failures. Your mentor is there to guide you through them.
    6. Be Open to Change
      Many people don’t like receiving criticism in any form but recognize that your mentor just wants to help you improve. When receiving feedback, try not to get defensive. Instead, ask yourself honestly if your mentor has a valid point. If they do, solicit their input on making a course correction.
    7. Look for Ways to Help in Return
      Show appreciation to your mentor for giving you the benefit of their experience. Follow up on your commitments to them, and consider what you can do to make their life easier. Perhaps, for example, you can assist with some research for an upcoming presentation, or you can make a networking introduction.

    These guidelines were originally developed by Alexandra Levit, business and workplace author, speaker, and consultant, for the Northwestern University Alumni Association Mentorship Program.

  • Goal Setting Guide Articulating clear goals is critical to the success of a mentorship relationship. While some mentees enter into a mentorship relationship with well-defined goals, most mentees come with a general idea about what they want to learn.

    That idea should be considered the starting point; using the questions below, work together to talk out your goals. These questions are meant to probe the mentee to stimulate deeper thinking and reflection and facilitate the goal setting process.

    Brainstorming Your Goal

    1. What is going on right now in your workplace setting?
    2. What are some of the challenges you are facing?
    3. What is your strongest attribute?
    4. What has been holding you back?
    5. Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you believe you need to do to get there?
    6. What skills and talents are you not using?
    7. How can you make a bigger impact on your company/organization?
    8. What is the most important goal you want to achieve this year?

    Creating a SMART Goal

    1. Why is this goal important to your future development?
    2. Is this the goal you should be working on right now?
    3. Is the time frame we have set realistic for accomplishing your goal?
    4. What processes can we put in place that would help us stay on track?

    What Is a SMART Goal?

    Specific: The goal should be concrete and action-oriented. What, specifically, are you trying to achieve? When writing a goal, ask yourself: what do I mean by this? Is there another way to write this goal to make it more understandable or obvious for what I mean? Does the goal start with an action verb (for example: improve, create, develop)?

    Measurable: How will you know when you have accomplished the goal? How will you track and measure progress? How do you define success? Be sure to include this with your goal.

    Achievable: The goal should require work, but be attainable. Is the goal too big? For example, “become CEO of my company” is probably too big of a goal for a one-year mentorship program. Or perhaps the goal is too easily achieved? Do not set your sights too low! Make sure that the time frame you set is realistic. Do you have the ability and commitment to reach the goal? What additional resources, time, money, or capability, will be needed for you to reach the goal? Does the goal set you up for failure?

    Relevant: Is this a worthwhile goal? Is this the right time? Is this goal in line with your long-term objectives?

    Timely: Set a time limit; there should be a specific time frame for accomplishing the goal which will keep you accountable.

    Adapted From Meyer, Paul J (2003). What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated, The. ISBN 978-0-89811-304-4.

    1. Introductions: Get to know one another
      • Share your personal and professional history
      • Swap stories about your UMass Lowell experience. Identifying points of connection will begin to establish a rapport.
      • Use the Ice Breaker Exercise listed in the Mentee Guidelines section. This is a set questions that you can use to guide a conversation with your mentor to get to know one another better.
    2. Discuss your expectations for your mentorship relationship
      • What do we each want to get out of this partnership?
      • What does mentoring look like to you? How do you envision this relationship playing out?
    3. Set your goals for your mentorship relationship
      • Articulating clear goals is critical to the success of your partnership. Take this time during your first meeting to brainstorm your goals.
      • Be sure you understand what a SMART Goal is and double check that your goals are clearly expressed and attainable. Write your goals down on a worksheet and checklist.
      • Once you and your mentor have written your goals, construct an email to send to your mentor to have them validate it to ensure you both are on the same page.
    4. Schedule your next meeting
      • Be sure that you’ve exchanged relevant contact information like email address, phone number.
      • Perhaps schedule a series of meetings (monthly, every 6 weeks, etc.) so you’ll have a built-in forcing function to ensure you do the work in between meetings.
      • Get excited! You and your mentor are off to a great start.
  • When you begin your relationship with your mentor, you may wonder what you should discuss. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised about how easily conversation flows with your mentor.

    One way to prepare for this meeting is to think of some icebreaker questions. We encourage you to consider choosing some from the following list or write your own questions!

    Note that if you ask these questions you should be prepared to answer them too – this is a great way for you to get to know your mentor and for your mentor to get to know you!

    1. Why did you choose UMass Lowell? And your specific field?
    2. Tell me about your UMass Lowell experience.
    3. Where did you grow up? What is your family like?
    4. What is the most important thing you did this year?
    5. What are five words a friend would use to describe you?
    6. What is a motto you try to live by?
    7. What is the greatest challenge you are facing right now professionally?
    8. What do you value in a team member?
    9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    10. What is one goal you have for the next year?
    11. What do you want to learn to do better?
    12. What do you value most in life?

    Adapted from Northwestern University Alumni Association Mentorship Program.

  • To help empower mentees during their careers at UMass Lowell, we asked our experienced mentors to put together a list for their best tips for teaching, research, service and work/life balance for junior faculty. From explaining the meaning and importance of office hours to students to blocking time for self-care, the below are several tips to help faculty succeed, thrive and spread their impact at UMass Lowell.


    • Know your students!
    • You don’t have to wait for end of semester evaluations, feel free to survey your class any time and adjust mid-semester.
    • Make sure to check the University calendar for weird days before you finalize your syllabus (i.e. Monday running as a Tuesday schedule).
    • Just survive your first class; don’t try to be innovative and change one thing at a time.
    • Ask for resources and advice (most of us were not trained for teaching).
    • Explain your view for office hours to students and encourage them to attend.
    • Use a variety of check-in methods with students while in the classroom; show of hands, clickers, anonymous votes, and don’t be afraid to direct class plans as needed.
    • You can ask for learning assistant help. Sometimes, you get lucky!
    • Build in some wellness/mental health days for your students and YOU when you design your syllabus.
    • Ask others (at UMass Lowell and outside) for their teaching material – even if you don’t know them.
    • Create a teaching rotation on a two-year schedule, so you can plan ahead, recycle and update resources.


    • Every conference paper should become a publication.
    • Ask colleagues and chairs about forms, procedures and any research shortcuts.
    • Take time to develop a good proposal and ask for feedback before submission.
    • Collaborate with one senior faculty member to see their grant writing process.
    • Set a calendar reminder to review CFP lists on a regular basis (may depend on your field, but this has helped me a lot).


    • Get to know your administrators.
    • Talk about your strength to know what service best matches them.
    • Feel free to change your service from year to year if it does not fit.
    • Do not take on too many commitments. Learn to prioritize. Ask your mentor how!
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Find out what is expected.
    • Wait before saying yes to any service or committee. Talk to a trusted mentor about the role and the workload.
    • Choose service work intentionally. Don’t just say yes to everything.
    • Do not be afraid to ask questions.
    • When asked to do service, ask:
      • What is the time commitment?
      • How is this service integral to my development?

    Work/Life Balance:

    • It’s ok to say no to something you don’t have time for.
    • Pack lunches/ sign up for meal box services, so you have good food.
    • Make time for lunch every day. Every problem is easier to solve on a full stomach!
    • Plan and block time for eating on your schedule (along with walks).
    • Disappear for 10 days immediately after graduation. Nobody will miss you and you deserve a break.
    • Make time to relax. Deadlines do pass and life will look good when you look back.
    • There is no such thing like balance. Take care of YOURSELF.
    • Tell students (and colleagues!!) you have a cut-off time for responding to emails


    • Take a good professional picture for your profile. You will need it a lot!
    • Get yourself some nice tools. Nice pens? Nice notebooks? What will make you enjoy writing/other work?
    • Keep a constantly updated version of your “UML-format” CV so you are ready when it’s requested.
    • Things to keep in your campus office:
      • Tissues
      • Non-perishable snacks
      • Extra cardigan
      • Umbrella
    • Ask your mentor to introduce you to university’s VIP:
      • Chancellor
      • Provost
      • Vice-Provost
      • Deans