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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 8 Mentoring and “The Space of Communicative Praxis”: Theorizing Mentoring as Everyday Practice


James T. Petre

Mentoring has been theorized in a variety of ways within the communication discipline. For example, mentoring has been theorized as a communicative act (e.g., Kalbfleisch, 2002), a critical act of love (e.g., Calafell, 2007), and a reverse process (e.g., Towns, 2011). However, little attention has been paid to the ways in which our everyday communication practices play a role in mentoring others.

This essay invites readers to consider mentoring as an everyday constitutive practice. Often times, as noted above, mentoring is thought of as a distinct endeavor that occurs separately from other aspects of life. In many cases, this is true. For example, there are situations in which someone is formally assigned a mentor, and there are specific obligations that must be fulfilled (e.g., regular meetings). In other situations, we may be drawn to a student or colleague (or they to us) and wish to informally take on a mentoring role. These mentoring roles are of critical importance, and I do not wish to diminish them. In fact, I received assistance from and take on many of these mentoring roles myself. However, I find that there are many situations in which simply taking the time to engage in a brief interaction with someone can make a difference. Yet, despite their importance, many of these mentoring situations go unrecognized. Therefore, in this essay, I focus on mentoring that takes place on an everyday level.1←153 | 154→

Specifically, I will ground my discussion...

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