To supplement the training and ongoing professional development provided to Peer Instructors by the FIGS program, each PI is supported by a Faculty Mentor. These mentors are crucial to our success because they provide PIs with valuable guidance in their first teaching experiences. By sharing teaching tips, discussing personal research projects, and providing insights into field-specific topics, Faculty Mentors significantly impact the FIGS experience for PIs and their students alike.
Peer Instructors are asked to find a Faculty Mentor in the spring semester prior to summer curriculum development. Each faculty mentor serves as a topical area consultant to the PI and agrees to:
- Meet with the Peer Instructor once before the end of the spring semester to discuss connections between the content area and the FIGS transition-related elements (i.e. how diversity relates to the Business field, issues of personal wellness for student in the sciences, etc.)
- Remain in email contact with the Peer Instructor over the summer and during the fall semester to answer questions.
- Assist, as needed, with any topical area content concerns. For example, this might include giving advice about relevant course readings or suggesting interesting topics to cover in classroom discussions.
- Assist the Peer Instructor with faculty connections, by either visiting the FIGS class to talk to first-year students interested in the topical area or connecting the Peer Instructor with another faculty member to do so.
Although the faculty mentor role is a very important one, it is not a significant time commitment. A survey of past Faculty Mentors has shown that the commitment is less than 10 hours from spring semester through the end of the fall semester. The role mostly requires that faculty be available as needed to the Peer Instructor for advice and consultation.