Faculty Mentoring

The concept of mentoring evokes a variety of predictable reactions ranging from impatience (not another policy...), to longing (if only I had some...), to fear (what if I give the wrong advice...), to pragmatic yet often unexamined commitment (of course we should do mentoring).

In fact, mentoring - professional investment in the success and satisfaction of others across the lifespan of their career - is a cornerstone of a collective academic endeavor, holding together a diverse set of highly functioning individuals in a high stakes, interconnected, and constantly shifting terrain. In a system that is defined through critique and continuous peer evaluation, mentoring creates a balance through which collegiality and competition co-exist instead of cancelling each other out.

For this to happen, though, mentoring must be done intentionally and well. Fortunately, there are many resources available to guide the formation of formal mentoring relationships. Faculty discussion of the purpose and forms of mentoring goes a long way toward strengthening the existing inclinations academics have toward this activity.