AFFIRM's comprehensive mentoring program prepares pre-tenure women faculty members (mentees) in STEM and social/behavioral disciplines to successfully advance at USD, as well as establish the positive respect of their colleagues outside the institution.

Each mentee works closely with two faculty mentors at USD, including one tenured faculty member from the mentee’s home department (the department mentor), and a second mentor from a different department in the STEM and social/behavioral disciplines (the “external” mentor).

Our mentoring model envisions that both the mentors and mentees will learn from each other, with mutual respect through honest collaboration and successful professional development. Mentors attend CEE workshops, developed through AFFIRM, on cultural competency and gender-informed mentoring strategies which emphasize egalitarian rather than hierarchical approaches.

AFFIRM provide stipends for workshop participation, and department mentors assist the mentee with teaching, the development of a research program and working with undergraduate research students. The external mentor will provide a wider perspective on the USD community, assist in making connections with faculty in other departments, and provide a safe sounding board for issues a new faculty member may be reluctant to discuss with faculty in her home department who will be voting on her reappointment and tenure.

During their first two years, new women faculty will receive additional resources from the institution to travel to conferences or to meet with collaborators. The new faculty will also receive information and encouragement to take advantage of mentoring opportunities outside USD such as Project NExT and the ADVANCE-supported MentorNet initiative.