Mentoring of Assistant Professors

This describes a mentoring program designed to assist untenured faculty to be successful in their career and fulfill the requirements of promotion and tenure.

Selection of Mentors/Mentees

  • A hybrid style is chosen. The tracks are set for junior faculty (with specific mentors proposed). However, mentees are not assigned to any fixed mentors. Instead, each junior faculty member has the flexibility to seek out mentors with specific areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Suggested mentorship tracks include: (1) grants focused (mentors: Nanyin Zhang / Will Hancock for NIH; Yong Wang / Dan Hayes for NSF); (2) teaching focused (mentors: Pansy Leung / Keefe Manning for large-class undergrad instructions; Justin Brown for option-based 400-level instructions; Siyang Zheng for lab-based instructions); (3) collaboration development (mentors: Jian Yang / Pak Wong); (4) overall career development / all-level service and national visibility development / prep for successful tenure review (mentor: Cheng Dong).
  • Mentors do not have to be a senior faculty and are not limited to the suggested names above. Many BME mentors are very experienced and knowledgeable in all above-mentioned tracks. Proposing a faculty mentor for a specific area is only a means to distribute workload and maximize our mentorship diversity.
  • Mentor will meet with a specific junior faculty member to monitor her/his general progress and provide timely feedback and suggestions. This will benefit the junior faculty in a way supplementary to the need-based mentoring mechanism. The mentee can pick any tenured faculty for this meeting.

Meeting Format

  • Meetings can be in the form of one-on-one meetings between senior and junior faculty members. During one-on-one meetings, mentors and mentees can discuss specific needs including grant application, teaching, collaboration, career development, and/or specific questions regarding the progress toward tenure. Before the meeting, mentee will prepare an outline of issues to be discussed. After meeting, it is suggested that mentee and mentors keep a brief summary of the discussion results. The mentee can also have an individual meeting with more than one mentor simultaneously.
  • Meetings can also be in the form of a group for all or chosen tracks listed above, per everyone’s needs. One suggested example of group meetings can be internal workshops for grant writing (e.g. workshop for NSF career award application)

Meeting Frequency

  • The suggested meeting frequency is once per semester; so it provides two meetings, in either the one-on-one or group format, per year. Brooke will send out reminders and a Doodle poll to all junior faculty, and cc to mentors for actual date/time.

Responsibilities of Mentors

  • The primary responsibility of the mentor is to monitor the general progress of a specific junior member and provide timely feedback and suggestions in research, teaching, and service.
  • The mentor can help review his/her mentee’s dossier prior to submission to the P&T Committee (for example, for the 2nd-, 4th-, and 6th-year reviews). The mentor should provide a critical assessment of the mentee’s activities in terms of number and quality of proposal/paper submissions, teaching evaluations, graduate student progress, and internal/external services. It is suggested that the mentor’s advice on tenure progress be complementary to mentee’s annual evaluation with the department head.
  • Mentor in a specific mentorship track (i.e. grant application, teaching, collaboration development, and overall career development) should provide suggestions and advice based on his/her experiences in each track.

Responsibilities of the BME Department

  • Explain the department policies regarding the P&T process.
  • Make sure that the teaching and service loads for the mentees are not overburdening and are consistent with their other duties.
  • Help facilitate the group-level meetings such like grant writing workshops.
  • Promote assistant professors’ achievement in research, teaching, and service in department website and other media.


The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

205 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614