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Assessing A Big Ten University’s Faculty Mentoring Network Program

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.219.1 - 9.219.13



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Paper Authors

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Joseph LaLopa

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Mara Wasburn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

Assessing a Big Ten University’s Faculty Mentoring Network Program Mara H. Wasburn, Joseph M. La Lopa Purdue University


This study describes a formal mentoring program at Purdue University developed with the explicit goals of helping faculty become better educators, cope with the demands of research and service, and advance toward promotion and tenure. After describing the theoretical model on which the program is based, as well as its structural features, research on its operation is presented. Attention is focused on mentor-protégé communication, strength of mentor-protégé relationships, and on both intended and unintended consequences of the mentoring program. On the basis of interviews with participants, recommendations are offered for improvements that might be incorporated in those programs offered at other institutions that are now experimenting with formal mentoring projects.


Mentoring has a long, rich tradition dating back to Greek mythology. Mentor (in reality the disguised goddess Athena) was the wise tutor/advisor for Odysseus' son Telemachus in Homer's Odyssey. In this paper, a mentor is defined as anyone who provides guidance, support, knowledge, and opportunities for whatever period the mentor and protégé deem this help to be necessary.1 The definition was qualified by Haring, who observed that this help occurs during a period of transition.2 This traditional style of mentoring is referred to as "grooming mentoring," and is a dyadic relationship.3 By contrast, "networking mentoring" is non-hierarchical in nature, and generally involves more than two participants. This type of mentoring is egalitarian in nature, with mentors and protégé exchanging roles as the situation requires. Implicit in this model is the expectation that each person will contribute something to the network for the mutual benefit of all.3, 4

The purpose of this paper is to assess a mentoring program for faculty begun at Purdue University in 1997 in which the authors participated. The primary purpose of the program was to foster dialogue about classroom teaching. Interest focuses on the characteristics of those who decided to become involved in the program, the nature and strength of the relationships that developed between mentoring pairs, the extent to which the participants felt that their teaching had improved as a result of their mentoring, and participant recommendations for improving the program. Suggestions derived from the study can be incorporated into existing programs or serve as a foundation for developing new mentoring programs at other colleges and universities.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

LaLopa, J., & Wasburn, M. (2004, June), Assessing A Big Ten University’s Faculty Mentoring Network Program Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14033

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