What is EnCircle?

EnCircle, derived from mentoring circle, is designed to support women and non-binary faculty members through a mentorship network across a variety of disciplines and appointment types. The program is open to faculty of all identities and career stages (tenured, pre-tenure, continuing, contract, and adjunct faculty) who seek to support women and non-binary faculty members. This is the sixth year of the program, and previous EnCircle members are welcome to participate again. 

Mentoring circles are small groups of colleagues who mentor each other on a variety of topics under the direction of a skilled professional facilitator. Members support each other as a nonlinear network, from junior members to senior, from senior to junior, and across disciplines and appointment types. EnCircle cohorts meet six times over a 12-week period.

How to join

Registration for Spring 2024 EnCircle is open now — register here by January 28, 2024.

Background on mentoring circles

Women and non-binary people at all stages of their academic careers face challenges related to their gender identity. A key part of the solution is to build a culture of support through formal mentoring structures. Mentoring circles in institutions of higher education are known to create job satisfaction, provide support and a sense of belonging, support tenure and promotion, and help members feel comfortable in the higher education profession (Thomas, M., Bystydzienski, J., and Desai, A. 2014. “Changing Institutional Culture through Peer Mentoring of Women STEM Faculty,” Innovative Higher Education 40: 143-157).

Mentoring circles are composed of small groups of faculty members representing different departments, career stages, and experiences who meet on a regular basis to discuss shared topics of interest under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Topics of interest are varied and might include administrative processes, culture and equity, research collaborations, work-life balance, and professional support with feedback, among others (“Best Practices for Mentoring Early-Career Faculty,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison).

EnCircle is intended to increase job satisfaction, motivation, and productivity and stimulate creativity and collaboration. The program supplements the more grassroots and specialized mentoring programs that have emerged within disciplines (e.g., Women in Science groups). Mentoring circles that integrate faculty from across the university are likely to spur relationships and collaborations, which in turn can facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship and nurture best practices for supporting women and non-binary faculty. Mentoring circle practices are crucial in supporting careers at all stages, are especially beneficial to women and non-binary faculty, and can transform our institutions to achieve better professional outcomes for all.

EnCircle is a program originally developed by the Council for Gender Equity on the Faculty and is now run through Faculty Success by a small team of CSU faculty with generous support from the CSU President’s Office and Provost’s Office.

What can you expect from participation in a mentoring circle?

  • Six meetings over 12 weeks, 1.5 hours each

  • Support for career advancement

  • Support for work-life balance

  • Discussions of professional development

  • Intellectual engagement

  • Professional feedback

  • Peer-to-peer mentorship in a variety of topics

  • An improved sense of support and belonging at CSU

What types of topics will be discussed during mentoring sessions? 

  • Climate and culture in the workplace

  • Balancing life and work

  • Helping women and non-binary faculty succeed

  • Professional advancement: tenure and/or promotion

  • Collaboration between junior and senior faculty members

  • Administrative processes

  • Working with today’s student population

  • Balancing productivity in research with service

  • Getting respect in the classroom

  • Managing difficult colleagues

EnCircle Leadership Team

Ruth Beauchamp

Sagarika Sarma

Sue James

Jen Dawrs

Meara Faw

Carmen Rivera

Monique Rocca

Ruth Hufbauer

Marsha Benedetti

Emily Fischer