Mentoring in Intercultural and International Contexts

by Ahmet Atay (Volume editor) Diana Trebing (Volume editor)
©2023 Edited Collection VIII, 234 Pages


Academia can be a lonely place, especially for those people who are members of marginalized communities. Although at its core institutions of higher education are supposed to be places for knowledge production, exchange and transformation, they can also be the source of anxiety, confusion, and hurt. Effective mentoring helps to provide guidance and support and can ease the transition to and success in higher education.
In this book the authors conceptualize mentoring in the context of critical communication pedagogy and intercultural communication pedagogy. Each chapter employs a critical and cultural lens to mentoring and offers discussions about how our cultural identities or intercultural communication experiences impact our mentoring. It is separated into two major sections. The chapters in "Mentoring and International Experiences" analyze unique situations that international students face in higher education and how effective mentoring can guide these students through academic and life challenges. The second section, "Mentoring and Cultural Contexts," focuses on diverse cultural settings within the higher educational system in the United States and on historically marginalized students and/or faculty.
This edited book will be helpful for various audiences. First, it provides guidance for graduate students, faculty and staff members who are asked to mentor others of diverse backgrounds. Second, it also helps diverse students and faculty to better understand the role of mentoring. And third, it gives ideas on what to do in successful international/intercultural mentor-mentee relationships.
"Mentoring in Intercultural and International Contexts provides compelling examples of critical mentoring partnerships and programs that successfully assist vulnerable students to navigate systemic disadvantages withing the academy. This book is vital reading for anyone who wants a better understanding of mentorship in complex and contradictory environments."
Alberto González, Bowling Green State University

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction (Ahmet Atay & Diana Trebing)
  • Section 1: Mentoring and International Experiences
  • Chapter One: Riding the Waves: Teaching and Mentoring International Students (John R. Baldwin)
  • Chapter Two: The “Problems” of International Teaching Assistant Mentoring from a Critical Pedagogical Perspective (Hsin-I Sydney Yueh)
  • Chapter Three: Intercultural Mentorship in English as an Additional Language: Negotiating Critical Communication Pedagogy (Wisam Kh. Abdul-Jabbar & May Yeung)
  • Chapter Four: Climbing through Cracks and across Chasms: Mentoring International Students for Institutional Adaptation and Negotiation (Jieyoung Kong)
  • Section 2: Mentoring and Cultural Contexts
  • Chapter Five: People of Color Mentoring People of Color: Putting Critical Race Theory and Co-Cultural Theory in Action (Mark P. Orbe, Evelyn B. Winfield-Thomas, Ashlee A. Lambert, & Ashley R. Hall)
  • Chapter Six: La Raza Mentorship Initiative: Creating a Fortifying Pathway for Mentorship Within Our Caucus (Amanda R. Martinez, Leandra Hinojosa Hernández, Carlos A. Tarin, & Jaime Guzmán)
  • Chapter Seven: Mentoring to Transgress: An Intersectional-Dialectical Approach to Mentorship (Mick B. Brewer)
  • Chapter Eight: Intersectional Queer Mentoring: Queer Stories, Networks, and Homeplace (Ahmet Atay & Jimmy A. Noriega)
  • Chapter Nine: Co-Creating Home and Community in Inhospitable Terrains through Critical Mentoring (Amy N. Heuman & Stephen L. Mitchell)
  • Chapter Ten: Opening the Doorway: Disability Accommodation Letters as Entry to Critical Mutual Mentorship (Allison D. Brenneise & Mark Congdon, Jr.)
  • Chapter Eleven: Mentoring and Ableism: A Critical Model of Compassionate Mentoring (CMCM) (R. Tyler Spradley)
  • Contributors
  • Index

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We want to acknowledge people who contributed to our journey that we started three years ago.

Ahmet wants to thank his family for their continuous support.

Diana wants to thank her family and friends for their support and guidance.

We also want to thank Erika Hendrix, Michael Gibson, and Niall Kennedy, our past and current editors, for supporting us throughout this project.

Finally, we want to thank our former and current mentors for their guidance, and our former and current students for inspiring us. Our discussions helped us to conceptualize the vision for this book.

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Ahmet Atay and Diana Trebing

Academia can be a lonely place, especially for those people who are members of marginalized communities. Although at its core institutions of higher education are supposed to be places for knowledge production, exchange and transformation, they can also be the source of anxiety, confusion, and hurt. Regardless of who we are when we arrive at any university as an undergraduate or graduate student or faculty member, we hope to belong, and we also hope to be part of a community that is supportive. Some of us arrive on our college campuses from different locations within the U.S. Some might be coming from urban areas and others from rural places. We all have different experiences, backgrounds, and hopes. On top of all of this diversity within the U.S., some others come from different countries with yet again differing expectations, needs, and hopes. No matter who we are or where we come from, when we arrive, we all look for friends for social support so we can cope with homesickness or loneliness and celebrate our successes and achievements. In the process, some of us begin looking for mentors who could help us navigate the culture and the system we must operate within. On the one hand, this sounds viable and even easy for some, but on the other, finding a mentor for historically marginalized or international students and faculty can be more challenging. While some students, faculty, and staff members encounter few challenges when identifying mentors, others aren’t as lucky and are left behind without effective mentors or no mentoring at all.

←1 | 2→As scholars, teachers, and former students who graduated from the same doctoral program, we spent a lot of time during the last several years thinking and talking about mentoring, informally and formally, in our institutions and on various panels at different conferences. Over the years, individually and together, we also wrote about mentoring and what it means to be supported (or not) as we built our academic trajectories. In the introduction to the co-edited volume Mentoring and Communication: Theories and Practices (Atay & Trebing, 2021), we discussed the role and importance of mentoring in higher education, especially in the field of Communication. Using ideas from communication pedagogy and critical cultural scholars (Calafell, 2007, Calafell & Gutierrez-Perez, 2018; Chrifi Alaoui & Calafell, 2016), we argued that “mentoring as a commitment and practice builds on the ideas of critical dialogue, embodies critical love and intercultural and transnational sense-making, and promotes a web of community that cultivates care and commitment” (p. 11). This current project builds on these earlier arguments and focuses specifically on international and intercultural contexts. We are not certain if we came to this project to make sense of how we mentor students and junior faculty or reflect on our mentoring experiences as international scholars. In some ways, we stumbled upon our mentors in the same way we stumbled upon this project, half accidental and half deliberate. Regardless, focusing on international and intercultural contexts, we wanted to explore how people think about mentoring, their experiences with their mentors and mentees, and challenges and joys they might face. We also wanted to explore new and different mentoring models and relationships that could be especially helpful in diverse settings. Hence, this book is about personal and academic curiosity regarding mentors and mentees in international or intercultural settings, and their ways of finding support and community to survive, and hopefully thrive, in academic settings.

Neither of us thought much about mentoring and its importance in one’s academic life prior to starting our doctoral program. This is partly because we are both international scholars, and mentoring was not something that was discussed openly at our undergraduate institutions at the time. We also did not experience mentorship or did not know that we were being mentored before our arrival in the U.S. We both studied intercultural communication in our doctoral program and were interested in the experiences of international students in academic settings. However, as graduate students, we did not take classes that generated discussion about mentoring and its importance. We also did not critically discuss or interrogate the value of mentoring until after we graduated and began working as junior faculty. We were not naïve by any means. However, based on our experiences, it was not as easy for international students to find mentors who would understand their needs or life challenges in addition to what they might have been facing academically. We both survived, but our academic journeys pushed us to think ←2 | 3→critically about the importance of mentoring as an act and as a way of building a support system to not just survive but thrive.

This book is not about us or our experiences, but in so many ways, it is since it embodies our scholarly and pedagogical commitments. It is about our commitments to mentoring students and faculty and our interests in finding newer or alternative ways to mentoring them or revising existing mentoring models to achieve inclusivity. We both mentor students, particularly students with diverse backgrounds including international students. In some ways, we see ourselves in those students, and we try to ease their pain as they face challenges because we have been there, and for the most part without much social support. Therefore, we mentor them and provide the support we, as international students, did not always receive.

Mentoring and Mentoring Models

Before we articulate the premise of this book, we must discuss some of the previous research, including ours, that helped us to envision this project. Many scholars in a wide variety of disciplines such as psychology, education, and women and gender studies among others conduct research on mentoring related to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. In the communication discipline, mostly researchers in communication education and instructional communication write about mentoring (Buell, 2004; Carpenter et al., 2015; Waldeck et al., 1997). A smaller but increasing number of communication scholars who focus on diversity have joined the conversation on mentoring as well (Calafell, 2007, Calafell & Gutierrez-Perez, 2018; Harris & Lee, 2019; Pérez & Pasque, 2013). In general, mentoring research focusing on undergraduate students often centers on different forms of peer mentoring. In this context, the influence of peer mentoring on increased student performance and retention, advantages and disadvantages of peer mentoring programs, and using peer mentoring to assist students with their transition into and out of college have received attention (Burton et al., 2013; Fox & Stevenson, 2006; Gunn et al., 2017; James, 2019; Phillips & Adams, 2019; Terrion & Leonard, 2007). Mentoring research in the context of graduate education mostly focuses on the relationships between mentors and mentees and on effectively navigating graduate school requirements such as writing a dissertation and publishing (Carpenter et al., 2015; Harris & Lee, 2019; Waldeck et al., 1997). When researching mentoring in the context of faculty, studies tend to focus on the lives of junior faculty members and how they navigate academic life as it relates to research, teaching and service responsibilities, tenure and promotion requirements, and power structures in higher education ←3 | 4→(Borisoff, 1998; Eby et al., 2008, 2013; Kerssen-Griep, 2013; Schrodt et al., 2003; Searby & Collins, 2010).

Additionally, most of the previous research on mentoring focuses on traditional approaches to mentoring. In traditional mentoring research, mentoring is often defined as “a process involving the transfer of skills” (Buell, 2004, p. 59), a way for students “to establish productive connections with professors” (Waldeck et al., 1997, p. 93), or two people “joined in a common commitment to achieving success” (Kalbfleisch, 2002, p. 64). Hence, most early mentoring models, such as the cloning model, embodied these particular ideas. Some of the other models, such as the nurturing model or friendship model, aimed to branch out of the cloning model and focused on the relational aspect of the mentoring process (Buell, 2004). Although some of these earlier models emphasized the need for non-hierarchical mentoring approaches, they did not interrogate the notion of power, nor did they consider the role that identity markers play in a mentoring relationship. We previously examined various critical mentoring models that critiqued these earlier models and discussed new ways to consider mentoring students and faculty (see Atay & Trebing, 2021). For example, feminist mentoring considered the notion of gender in mentoring relationships and the challenges women face in academia (Humble et al., 2006) and paved the way for the development of collaborative mentoring models. Among these are the advocate-mentoring model (Harris & Lee, 2019) which encouraged mentors to find ways to become advocates, especially for students of color (SOC), and the multiple mentoring model which articulated the need of having more than one mentor during one’s academic journey as a student or junior faculty member (Dutton et al., 2017).


VIII, 234
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2022 (December)
Mentoring critical communication pedagogy collaboration higher education intercultural communication diversity international students queer mentoring faculty of color disability Mentoring in Intercultural and International Contexts Ahmet Atay Diana Trebing
New York, Berlin, Bruxelles, Lausanne, Oxford, 2023. VIII, 234 pp.

Biographical notes

Ahmet Atay (Volume editor) Diana Trebing (Volume editor)

Ahmet Atay (Ph.D., Southern Illinois University–Carbondale) is Professor of Communication at the College of Wooster. He is the author of Globalization’s Impact on Identity Formation: Queer Diasporic Males in Cyberspace (2015) and the co-editor of 15 books, including Queer Communication Pedagogy (2020). His scholarship has appeared in a number of journals and edited books. Diana Trebing (Ph.D., Southern Illinois University–Carbondale) is Professor of Communication at Saginaw Valley State University. She is the co-author of The Discourse of Special Populations: Critical Intercultural Communication Pedagogy and Practice (2017) and Mentoring and Communication: Theories and Practices (2021).


Title: Mentoring in Intercultural and International Contexts