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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 7 Informal and Formal Mentoring of Faculty at Undergraduate Teaching Institutions


Donna R. Pawlowski

Every year, new faculty members join higher learning institutions. Faculty members include new doctorates starting tenure-track probationary positions (junior faculty), mid-career faculty taking on the challenge of a new environment, and fixed-term or part-time adjunct faculty members filling what is usually a temporary gap for the university. These new faculty members get acclimated into a culture of already existing faculty, who have been at their institution for months, years, or decades.

Regardless of the level of the position or longevity of one’s history at an institution, teaching, research, and service typically make up the annual review criteria and determine the nature of tenure and promotion or continued employment (Kiel, 2019; Stone, 2018). Based on the institution as research- or teaching-based, the demands may differ, but the pressures and concerns for success can be daunting. While research-based institutions add the extra pressure of “publish or perish,” undergraduate teaching institutions may include professional development and student development as additional annual review criteria. The question becomes, how do faculty meet the required criteria to advance their career?

One such strategy is through mentoring. Zellers, Howard, and Barcic (2008) define mentoring as, “a reciprocal learning relationship characterized by trust, respect, and commitment, in which a mentor supports the professional and personal development of another by sharing his or her life experiences, influence, ←127 | 128→and expertise” (p. 555). This definition may appear simplistic, but the success of mentoring lies in the mentor, the mentee, and...

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