Enhancing Faculty Careers at UMD
Instructional Development, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 4-6, 1996
3 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2008 Last revised: 10 Aug 2014
Date Written: 1996
This paper reports the results of a survey and focus group designed to explores alternative mentoring approaches and its benefits for both mentors and mentees. It was motivated by the experience of the first author who had been "significantly influenced and affected by informal mentoring early" in his academic career. Some of those relationships are still alive. Because he "could not have done it without them," he decided to explore the need for and/or feasibility of a faculty mentoring arrangement to help integrate faculty into the academic and professional community.
Why would someone assume the responsibility of mentoring? While one respondent felt there was "absolutely no benefit to mentoring given the atmosphere," most survey responses were positive, falling into two categories: extrinsic reasons and intrinsic reasons. One faculty member wrote, "The benefits are obvious. New faculty are often at a loss and have lots of questions about everything. Mentors will be contributing to the smooth functioning of their departments by mentoring new faculty and adjust to campus life."
To describe an effective mentoring system, these descriptors were used: comfortable, mutually beneficial, regular, workable, and one to one.
In choosing a mentor and in choosing the mentoring arena, most participants in the focus group seemed concerned about P&T issues. The group felt that department heads, for example, or even departmental colleagues may not be suitable choices because of potential impact on tenure decisions. Consequently, the participants felt that, considering their own needs, mentees should have the freedom to choose mentors from any collegiate unit.
Given the diverse responses of the faculty to the survey, perhaps the safest conclusion that can be reached is that mentoring nexus is complex and calls for sensitive and differential application of the concept.
Keywords: Mentor, Survey, Focus group, Faculty, Mentees, Informal arrangements, Academic Life, P&T
JEL Classification: A23, C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation