On the Real Value of Formal Faculty Mentoring Programs: Research Results — Cutting through the Hype and Hyperbole

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A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. – Unknown

Formal mentoring programs have been associated with a number of positive outcomes such as: friendship, advice, networking, collegiality, feedback, improved skills, and career advancement.

A meta-analysis of mentoring programs finds that compared to nonmentored individuals mentees have:

  • higher compensation (weighted mean r = .12)
  • More promotions (weighted mean r = .31)
  • Greater satisfaction with their career (weighted mean r = .21)
  • Self confidence that they would advance in their career (weighted mean r = .26)

Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz, & Lima (2004). Career Benefits Associated With Mentoring for Proteges: A Meta-Analysis.    Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 89(1), 127-136.

Another study reported that after five years, compared to a group that did not receive formal mentoring, the mentor program group averaged .4 more NSF or NIH grants and 3 additional publications, and were 25 percentage points more likely to have a top-tier publication. There were significant but smaller effects at three years post-treatment (Blau et al., 2010)

In another study the most frequently cited positive outcome for mentees related to support, empathy, encouragement, counseling, and friendship. Respondents also reported they benefitted from discussing or sharing ideas, information, problems and gaining advice from peers, reflection and professional development. “Knowing that there is somebody in the background I can turn to is a great source of comfort.”

Hansford, Ehrich, & Tennent (2004) Formal mentoring programs in education and other professions: A review of the      literature. Educational Administration Quarterly 40(4), 518-540.

As mentoring is a two-way or reciprocal process, it also provides benefits for the mentor.

  • A commonly cited mentor outcome was that of collegiality and networking or sharing ideas with colleagues.
  • Mentoring refreshes mentors’ careers because it enables them to assist and shape the professional and personal development of mentees (Levinson et al. 1978).
  • Mentors also report increased confidence, personal fulfillment and assistance on their own projects (Douglas, 1997).
  • Reflection is also cited as an outcome for mentors, referring to reappraisal of beliefs, practices, ideas and/or values. For instance, a mentor teacher in a university commented that “you reflect on your own teaching … it’s some incentive to improve, work harder, try other things” (Spargo, 1994, p.6).
  • Mentoring also facilitates the professional development of mentors and is viewed as “a worthwhile professional experience in its own right” (Murray, Mitchell & Dobbins, 1998, p.24).

These types of positive results are most often characteristic of mentor programs that are developed based on best practices, provide training for both mentors and mentees and supported by upper administration.

The Partnership to Success: COPLA Faculty Mentor Program will include:

  1. Self-selection into the program – you volunteer to be a mentor or mentee or both.
  2. Once you decide to participate you fill out a one page worksheet on your personal interests and career goals. This will be used to match you to a mentor-mentee partnership.
  3. Attend a kick-off luncheon sponsored by the Dean of COPLA October 23, 2013.  There will be some brief training on expectations and you will have the opportunity to meet your partner.
  4. Partners meet a couple of times per semester to discuss challenges, goals or the FIT football team. Partners will receive one Panther Dining lunch coupon per semester for meetings.
  5. There will be 2 panel discussions this academic year in which senior faculty will serve as panelists and respond to questions from the moderator as well as questions from the audience. Topics will be: 1) promotion and 2) new pedagogical techniques.
  6. End of the year luncheon and celebration honoring the partners and accomplishments.
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