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Empowering the Faculty: Mentoring Redirected and Renewed. ERIC Digest.

Luna, Gaye; Cullen, Deborah L.

The concept of quality improvement has been incorporated into higher education within the last decade. Incumbent with this concept is the empowerment of college and university faculty to harness their unique talents and skills and promote their professional growth. For years, business and industry has applied the philosophy and principles of mentoring to attract, retain, and promote junior employees, and mentoring has improved individual and corporate performance and effectiveness.

In translating these same mentoring concepts to higher education, strategies, guidelines, and programs have been developed and implemented to empower faculty through mentoring. For example, mentoring has been known to invigorate senior faculty, to help junior professors learn the ropes, and to assist female and minority faculty members in understanding the organizational culture.

Mentoring embraces a philosophy about people and how important they are to educational institutions. "Empowering the Faculty" synthesizes the literature on mentoring in terms of conceptual frameworks, mentoring arenas, and roles and functions of mentors and proteges. It also discusses the dynamics of mentoring for empowering faculty members as leaders and the importance of mentoring women and minorities in academe. A discussion of planning mentoring and faculty mentoring models focuses on developing and empowering faculty and ultimately benefit the institution.

Not only does mentoring develop the profession; "by not mentoring, we are wasting talent. We educate, and train, but don't nurture" (Wright and Wright 1987, p. 207). The literature overwhelmingly points to benefits to the organization, the mentor, and the protege. Mentoring is useful and powerful in understanding and advancing organizational culture, providing access to informal and formal networks of communication, and offering professional stimulation to both junior and senior faculty members. Mentoring is a continuation of one's development as defined by life cycle and human development theorists in terms of life sequences or stages, personality development, and the concept and value of care. (Erikson 1963 and Levinson et al. 1978).

Mentoring supports professional growth and renewal, which in turn empowers faculty as individuals and colleagues (Boice 1992). Teaching and research improve when junior faculty are paired with mentors, job satisfaction and organization socialization greater. Not only do proteges become empowered through the assistance of a mentor, but mentors themselves also feel renewed through the sharing of power and the advocacy of collegiality.

Experts in the field of mentoring point out that mentoring is developmental and continuous and may address a variety of faculty career needs over a period of time. Faculty can develop as leaders through the receipt of professional and institutional information; support, sponsorship, and stimulation; advice, assistance, and guidance; and feedback and direction toward goals. Faculty involved in mentoring are more likely to have opportunities to develop not only professionally (career orientation) but also personally (psycho-social needs) over the span of their careers (Kram 1986).

Research emphasizes the benefits of mentoring programs and the successes of those who have experienced mentoring. But mentoring must fit the culture and environment of the educational institution, and faculty must be involved in the design and implementation of strategies and plans for mentoring. Mentoring might need to address the concerns and needs of women and minorities in academe. Statistics and research studies point to these professionals' experiences in higher education as different in terms of scholarship, advising assignments, teaching loads, and service to the community, profession, and institution. As a first step, mentoring has been important in assisting new female and minority faculty members to feel comfortable with the academic environment (Maack and Passett 1994) .

Empowering the faculty through mentoring requires careful planning so that the educational institution's needs are incorporated. Although mentoring programs have similar steps, purposes, and activities, programs need to be customized to meet the goals of the proteges, the mentors, and the community college or university. Recommendations include raising campus awareness about the importance of mentoring, establishing a mentoring program with faculty assistance and input, providing recognition to those who participate, and providing support through institutional resources. Planned mentoring programs include establishing purpose and goals, assessing organization's policies, identifying and training participants (both proteges and mentors), and evaluating and modifying the program.

Although informal mentoring programs are often found in community colleges and universities, no existing body of literature synopsizes or analyzes these programs. What works well at one educational institution is not readily known to others interested in developing mentoring programs. Planned, formalized mentoring programs are even rarer, and some of those that exist have failed to determine evaluative outcomes in terms of proteges, mentors, and institutional goals and objectives. Those interested in mentoring research need to identify those programs which have been successful and understand why. And research on the specific benefits of mentoring programs for female and minority faculty members at both the community college and university levels needs to be conducted.

Boice, R. 1992. "Lessons Learned about Mentoring." In Developing New and Junior Faculty edited by M. D. Sorcinelli and A. E. Austin. pp. 51-62. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Erikson, E. H. 1963. Childhood and Society 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton.

Kram, K. E. 1986. "Mentoring in the Workplace." In Career development in organizations, edited by R. A. Katzell pp. 160-201. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Levinson, D. J., Darrow, C. N., Klein, E. B., Levinson, M. A., and McKee, B. 1978. The Seasons of a Man's Life. New York: Knopf.

Maack, M. N., and Passet, J. 1994. Aspirations and Mentoring in an Academic Environment: Women Faculty in Library and Information Science. Westport, CT.

Wright, C. A.. and Wright, S. D. 1987. "Young Professionals." Family Relations 36(2): 204-8.

This ERIC digest is based on a full-length report in the ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report series 95-3, Empowering the Faculty: Mentoring Redirected and Renewed by Gaye Luna and Deborah L. Cullen.

This publication was partially prepared with funding from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, under contract no. RR-93-002008. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI or the Department

Title: Empowering the Faculty: Mentoring Redirected and Renewed. ERIC Digest.
Author: Luna, Gaye; Cullen, Deborah L.
Note: 4p.; For the full report, see HE 029 525.
Publication Year: 1995
Document Type: Eric Product (071); Eric Digests (selected) (073)
Target Audience: Practitioners
ERIC Identifier: ED399888
Clearinghouse Identifier: HE029524
Available from: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, One Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 630, Washington, DC 20036-1183.
This document is available from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

Descriptors: * College Faculty; * Empowerment; * Faculty Development; Higher Education; Leadership; Master Teachers; * Mentors; Minority Group Teachers; Program Development; Program Effectiveness; Teacher Collaboration; Teacher Improvement; Women Faculty

Identifiers: ERIC Digests


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