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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 9 All I Really Need to Know about Mentoring I Learned from Yoga


Danielle M. Stern

Prior to entering a full-time faculty position in communication, I was privileged to have enough funding to attend conferences that supported graduate students with opportunities to connect with mentors. I benefited from a collegial, thorough faculty mentoring process in my first year on the tenure track in the University of Wisconsin system. I hit the jackpot of mentors when the department chair in my second tenure-track job connected me with an amazing colleague in the English department who also researched and taught critical theory and feminism. After earning tenure, I returned the favor and chaired and coordinated my current university’s new faculty mentoring process two years in a row. I thought I was a good mentor, a supportive teacher; then I embarked on a 200-hour yoga teacher training a couple of years after earning tenure. I threw much of what I learned about mentoring out the window.

Despite all my years of training and practice as a critical/cultural scholar, all my years of teaching and writing about power, norms, and bodies via the works of Foucault and Butler, I realized my role as a teacher/mentor could not fully develop until I took a long, hard look at the power inherent in my own embodied experience and privilege. Yoga teacher trainings range between $2800 and $4000 (Baitmangalkar, 2016). Since yoga practice in the United States is incredibly white, it is no surprise that the training programs skew this way also. In this chapter, I...

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