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Mentoring and Communication

Theories and Practices

Edited By Diana Trebing and Ahmet Atay

Although mentoring occupies a paramount role in higher education and is part of a faculty’s expected duties, nowadays increasingly so, it is not an area to which graduate schools pay close attention. There is no formalized training and faculty and graduate students alike are expected to know how to mentor effectively once they graduate or start a new teaching or administrative position. This book tackles two interrelated issues: the role and importance of mentoring in the communication discipline as well as critical/cultural studies and using critical communication to illuminate the ways in which students and junior faculty among others are mentored in higher education. The authors of these chapters present a position or an issue in regards to mentoring students and faculty or the lack of it in higher education. Their goal is to generate a scholarly discussion by utilizing qualitative and narrative-based research approaches and critical and cultural perspectives to promote awareness about the importance of mentoring. Additionally, the authors highlight some of the important issues in mentoring as a form of critical communication pedagogy and present some guidelines, ideas, and examples to mentor more effectively. This edited book will be helpful for various audiences. First, it will provide guidance for graduate students, junior and senior faculty members who are asked to mentor others at various stages of their academic careers. Second, it will help students and faculty who are currently trying to identify and work with mentors. And third, it gives ideas on what to do and not to do in successful mentor-mentee relationships.
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chapter 1 Secret Service: Revealing the Hidden Dynamics of Faculty Mentoring


Lisa K. Hanasono

When it comes to the tenure, promotion, and retention of faculty—especially those from underrepresented or marginalized groups—mentoring matters (Niehaus & O’Meara, 2015; O’Meara, Lounder, & Campbell, 2014). Mentors can help colleagues interpret ambiguous institutional policies, navigate academic norms and interpersonal conflicts, introduce mentees to broader professional and social networks, and sponsor individuals for awards and recognitions (e.g., Calafell, 2007; Misra, Lundquist, & Templer, 2012). Mentoring is particularly important for faculty of color, as well as cisgender women, trans*, nonbinary, international, disabled, contingent, and/or first-generation faculty—because individuals from marginalized groups frequently face additional institutional and interpersonal barriers such as isolationism, tokenism, microaggressions, macroaggressions, and systemic biases (e.g., Luna, 2018; Martinez & Welton, 2017; Muhs, Niemann, González, & Harris, 2012; Stanley, 2006). As a form of critical communication pedagogy (Fassett & Warren, 2007, 2008), mentoring has the potential to connect faculty members from diverse backgrounds and build stronger communities of care.

Despite its importance in the retention and career advancement of faculty members, mentoring remains a taken-for-granted form of invisible academic labor called secret service (Hanasono et al., 2019) that frequently lacks extrinsic and ←21 | 22→institutionalized rewards. Although minoritized faculty tend to spend a disproportionately large amount of time mentoring colleagues and students (Bilimoria, Joy, & Liang, 2008; Guarino & Borden, 2017; O’Meara, Kuvaeva, Waugaman, & Jackson, 2017; Park, 1996), this critical labor is often unreported and unrewarded in tenure, promotion, merit, and reappointment processes. Admittedly, it can be difficult...

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