Review: Article Series on Mentoring from Inside Higher Ed

Article Series on Mentoring from Inside Higher Ed
Kerry Ann Rockquemore

Review by Julie Timmermans, Instructional Developer, University of Waterloo

Two series of columns published in Inside Higher Ed offer thought-provoking and practical pieces on mentoring by the President of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity in the US, Kerry Ann Rockquemore.  

Series 1:  “Mentoring 101”.  This series focuses on addressing some of the common, but flawed, assumptions about mentoring.  Each column contains a set of “challenges” – questions or exercises one can do to move forward with some of the ideas from the article. The intention of the series is to provide information and strategies that will enable faculty members at any career stage to design a healthy network of mentors, so that they may thrive in their work. The series includes the following articles:

1.      Don't Talk About Mentoring
Of great value to Educational Developers in this article is Rockquemore’s reframing of the notion of mentoring.  Since the term “mentoring” means different things to different people, she suggests that, rather than focusing on “mentoring,” we focus instead on the questions “What do I need?” and  “How can I get my needs met?”.  This moves us from “a person-based to a needs based framework”.  Rockquemore generates a list of “needs” of tenure-track faculty members that may be useful as we consider the needs of novice educational developers:
  • Professional development
  • Access to opportunities and networks
  • Emotional support
  • A sense of community
  • Accountability
  • Institutional/political sponsorship
  • Role models
  • Safe space
2.      Sink or Swim  This article is about making explicit the often “secret knowledge” needed by faculty, so that they can thrive in their work.

Series 2: For potential mentors on mentoring New Faculty Members:

The second, more recent series by Rockquemore, “How to Mentor New Faculty” (2013) provides advice and strategies for “would-be mentors” on mentoring new faculty members (). The series features articles about beginning new mentoring relationships, adopting a “network-based” approach, versus a“guru-based” approach to mentoring, adopting a “coaching” style, versus a“guru” style, welcoming new faculty members intothe department, and lastly, a list of best practices for helping newer faculty members “thrive in academe” through “explosive productivity and personal health”.


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