The Importance of Mentoring

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A discussion with Tabbye Chavous, Dean of U Michigan on the importance of mentoring.

Why seek a mentor?

  • Provide scholarly or research context
  • Help navigate institution and professional norms
  • Prepare for tenure
  • Provide social support
  • Can become a sponsor who can promote you

What do mentors do?

  • They share (and not just advice)
  • They model behaviors and norms

Qualities of effective mentors

  • Honesty and constructive feedback
  • Interested in your professional growth
  • Willing to commit time and attention
  • Influential and experienced
  • Not necessarily a friend
  • Not expected to be all things

Diversity in mentoring

  • Field/discipline level
  • Campus level
  • College/school level
  • Department/program level

Formal mentoring

  • Benefit of diverse views in diverse positions
  • Builds your professional network

Type of mentoring relationship matters

  • Developmental mentors
    • Process and outcome oriented
  • Evaluative mentors (chairs, formal committees)
    • directive, performance or outcome-based
    • on or off the record

Mentoring relationships and communication

  • Identify and use multiple modes of communication
    • Set up a regular schedule to meet/get in contact
  • Set goals, use assessments
  • Discuss expectations
  • Be open to feedback

High

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