Laurie DeLeve

Keck School of Medicine of USC
Laurie DeLeve
Photo by Steve Cohn Photography

Mentoring is important at every level in academia, and never more so than when mentoring junior faculty. Though the path to success in academics may be clear in hindsight, it is strewn with stumbling blocks throughout the journey. Some may venture along the path without a mentor, but most of us have had a helping hand. I, for one, have had the same superb mentor since I finished my medical residency, and it taught me that a generous mentor is an invaluable resource. Knowing how confusing it can be for junior faculty members to identify the pitfalls that lie ahead makes it a joy to help them find their way. Building and maintaining a structured mentoring program for our junior tenure-track faculty members ensures that they will receive high quality mentoring, whereas an ad hoc approach to mentoring is sometimes less reliable. No matter the reasons when a colleague fails to get tenure, lack of mentoring should never be a significant factor. It is unfortunate when talent is wasted, but it is a tragedy when the loss of a talented individual could have been prevented. The institution of a structured mentoring program for junior faculty would not have been possible without the recognition that mentoring is essential to the success of our academic endeavor, and we are grateful for the support from the Mellon Foundation to USC over the last decade that has greatly enhanced our academic community’s appreciation of mentoring.