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Effective Faculty Mentoring For Diversity: An Assessment Of Mentoring Paradigms

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring and Development of New Faculty

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.440.1 - 15.440.11



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Paper Authors

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Andrea Surovek South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Jennifer Karlin South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Cassandra Groen South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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

Effective Faculty Mentoring: A Preliminary Assessment of Mentoring Paradigms


One of the difficulties facing smaller institutions is the limited number of faculty from which mentoring partnerships can be formed. This is problematic when changing institutional priorities can cause a generational difference in the faculty expectations of junior and senior faculty with respect to research production; this change in institutional priority is occurring at many predominantly undergraduate institutions (Kramer 2005). It becomes even more problematic when the issue of diversity is brought into play. Numerous paradigms for faculty mentoring exist; the question becomes, which mentoring models or combination of models are most effective in institutions with small numbers and changing expectations for faculty performance? In particular, what models prove effective for underrepresented faculty?

A plethora of articles exist on mentoring and its importance in faculty development (Smith et al 2000). Faculty mentoring is predominantly based on a male model which fosters a challenging, competitive environment and stresses independence (Seymour and Hewitt 1997). However, women prefer inclusive, cooperative environments that provide a sense of belonging (Gilligan 1982). Chesler and Chesler (2002) discuss innovative mentoring strategies related to gender, including the “distributed mentorship.” This approach breaks the traditional one-on-one, senior faculty as mentor model and includes alternative methods such as peer mentoring and electronic methods for distance mentoring. This model may be particularly well suited to an institution lacking critical mass of women faculty and/or geographically isolated from other institutions. While gender may be one criterion in choosing a mentor, it cannot be the only criterion, nor does it guarantee a successful mentoring relationship (Chessler and Chessler 2002, Smith et al 2000). At institutions where there are less than ten women faculty members in the science or engineering programs, gender-specific mentoring or networking programs are not likely to be to be practical. This is generally due to the lower number of senior female faculty when compared to junior faculty in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields (NSF 2007) as well as the fact that women faculty allocate a higher percentage of their time to teaching and service than their male counterparts (Bellas and Toutkoushian 1999).

This paper will discuss the preliminary findings of a meta-analysis of a number of faculty mentoring programs at both large, research intensive institutions and predominantly undergraduate institutions to consider the question, “What are the strengths and weaknesses of different faculty mentoring paradigms, particularly with respect to diversity?”

Problem and Background

Faculty and student mentoring relationships have been analyzed and implemented at institutions of all sizes and locations. Less attention had been given to the importance of faculty mentoring which has only gained research attention within the last few decades 19.

Surovek, A., & Karlin, J., & Groen, C. (2010, June), Effective Faculty Mentoring For Diversity: An Assessment Of Mentoring Paradigms Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16133

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