Chapter 4: Best Practice Highlights—Retaining Diverse Faculty


Comprehensive strategies to support and retain diverse faculty are key to the success of the department and college. Retention programs focus on mentoring, professional development and recognition and reward systems. Promotion and tenure policies also play a major role in the retention of all faculty, and attention must be paid to ensuring that historically underrepresented and marginalized (HURM) faculty are given the guidance, resources and support needed to meet these requirements.

Additionally, a climate of inclusiveness which respects, values and does not suppress differences is integral to fostering faculty retention. This chapter includes recommendations and best practices for promoting the retention of diverse faculty. 

Tips on using the online toolkit:
◈ Use the links to navigate to topics of interest and/or download the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit PDF.
◈ Read the “Chapter Key Points” section for key summaries of the chapter.

Chapter 4 Sections

  1. Best Practice—Mentoring and Professional Development PDF
  2. Best Practice—Promotion and Tenure PDF
  3. Best Practice—Inclusive Climate PDF

Chapter Key Points

Both formal and informal faculty mentoring programs can be effective in promoting the retention of HURM groups. 

► Figure 7. Benefits of Mentoring for Mentee

ADEA Presidential Commission on Mentoring: Benefits of Mentoring for Mentee*

  • Supports personal growth and development
  • Provides encouragement, direction and promotion
  • Increases job satisfaction and retention rates by 15 to 30%
  • Increases promotion rates
  • Increases confidence in professional development abilities, roles as researchers and educators, and administrative knowledge
  • Supports socialization into the profession through networking
  • Increases insight into the institution and institutional politics
  • Provides an opportunity to clarify goals, values and choices—both personally and professionally
  • Provides an opportunity to obtain new skills and strengthen existing skills
  • Provides an opportunity to learn from the insights and expertise of a more experienced guide

*Sources: Friedman PK, Arena C, Atchison K et al. Report of the ADEA President’s Commission on Mentoring. J of Dental Educ. March 2004;68(3):390-396; University of California, San Diego National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine. Program statistics in support of NCLAM. Accessed: December 20, 2003.

► Figure 8. Benefits of Mentoring for Mentor

ADEA Presidential Commission on Mentoring: Benefits of Mentoring for Mentor**

  • Increases personal satisfaction
  • Provides an opportunity for intellectual engagement and stimulation
  • Provides an opportunity to stay abreast of new knowledge and techniques
  • Provides an opportunity to “give back” by sharing expertise and knowledge
  • Increases ability to attract collaborators for current and future projects
  • Provides an opportunity to “create a legacy” by helping to prepare the next generation

**Sources: Friedman PK, Arena C, Atchison K et al. Report of the ADEA President’s Commission on Mentoring. J of Dental Educ. March 2004;68(3):390-396; University of California, San Diego National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine. Program statistics in support of Accessed: December 20, 2003.

► Figure 9. Benefits of Mentoring for Academic Institution

ADEA Presidential Commission on Mentoring: Benefits of Mentoring for Academic Institution***

  • Fosters an institution-wide culture of mentoring and learning
  • Supports efforts to recruit new faculty
  • Increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover of current faculty
  • Increases promotion rate
  • Increases confidence of faculty
  • Increases morale
  • Increases commitment from both the mentor and mentee
  • Increases insight into the thinking of students and faculty through creation of a feedback loop
  • Improves skills and abilities of faculty
  • Develops future leaders for the institution
  • Transfers institutional knowledge and experience from mentor to mentee
  • Supports succession planning efforts
  • Creates a sense of connection between new faculty and the institution

***Source: Friedman PK, Arena C, Atchison K et al. Report of the ADEA President’s Commission on Mentoring. J of Dental Educ. March 2004;68(3):390-396.

► Figure 10. Mentoring Program Pitfalls to Avoid

ADEA Presidential Commission on Mentoring: Mentoring Program Pitfalls to Avoid****

  • Mismatch between the mentor and mentee (no chemistry or bad chemistry between the two)
  • Unrealistic expectations/unclear goals for the relationship
  • Time constraints or time demands (spending too much or too little time)
  • Breaches of confidentiality and trust
  • Abuse of power in the relationship
  • Overdependency
  • Charges of favoritism (real or perceived)
  • Cultural barriers
  • Competition between the mentor and mentee
  • Conflict between the mentor and the mentee’s supervisor
  • Sexual harassment

****Sources: Friedman PK, Arena C, Atchison K et al. Report of the ADEA President’s Commission on Mentoring. J of Dental Educ. March 2004;68(3):390-396 citing Eby LT, Allen TD. Further investigation of protégés’ negative mentoring experiences: patterns and outcomes. Group and Organizational Management. 2002;27(4):456-479.

► Leadership and Professional Development Programs to Support HURM Faculty

Support programs that offer leadership and professional development opportunities for historically underrepresented and marginalized (HURM) faculty to enhance their teaching, clinical, research and leadership skills. These programs include sabbaticals, mentoring programs, fellowships and leadership development to advance the faculty careers.

Some examples are in the table below:

ADEA Leadership and Professional Development Opportunities

Other Professional Development Opportunities, Conferences, Seminars, Awards and Fellowships


Promotion and tenure policies and practices should be discernibly clear and department heads and mentors should meet regularly to provide guidance to junior faculty to promote an equitable process.


Fostering and supporting an inclusive climate requires ongoing assessment, training, strategic planning and dedicated resources. Include goals that foster diversity and inclusion in college, departmental and allied dental program strategic plans.

Ensure that there are a wide variety of award systems that honor faculty for their different contributions to not only academic dentistry and oral health, but also to their community engagement, work with students and service to the institution. 

Some strategies for countering implicit bias include: 

  • Develop concrete, objective indicators and outcomes for hiring, evaluation and promotion to reduce standard stereotypes.
  • Develop standardized criteria to assess the impact of individual contributions in performance evaluations. 
  • Develop and utilize structured interviews and develop objective evaluation criteria for hiring. 
  • Fund and support diversity programs that foster well-being and inclusion for faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows. 
  • Provide unconscious bias training workshops for all constituents.
  • Develop a culturally-infused curriculum with courses and modules related to how implicit basis impacts patient care, reducing health disparities and providing culturally competent patient care.


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