Theories and Practices
Edited By Diana Trebing and Ahmet Atay
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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