Scholarship suggests that individuals who demonstrate drive and are active in seeking mentoring relationships are more likely to receive mentorship. Mentoring is a process that has to be actively sought after and cultivated with a deliberate effort.1
Before Seeking a Mentor: Perform a Self-Assessment
- Establish a rubric for your decision-making process.
- What is your mission? What are you goals?
- Establish your short-term (1-5 years) and long-term (5-10 years) personal and professional goals.
- List your strengths and weaknesses (i.e. areas for improvement).
- What activities do you find relatively easy and energize you? What do you find difficult to accomplish?
- Construct a mentoring needs assessment.
- What do you want from a mentor-mentee relationship? What are some preliminary ideas that you have about projects to work on with a mentor?
- Make a list of individuals who have the knowledge and skills that you wish to acquire and search broadly.
- Don’t limit your search for mentors to your own institutions. Find other senior faculty in your research area at other institutions. Approach your prospective mentor with specific desires. If the prospective mentor is not at your institution, request to talk or meet with him/her virtually.2
Fostering a Relationship with Your New Mentor
Research suggests a manage up approach to mentoring where junior faculty are self-motivated and aware, taking responsibility for the relationship by learning both their needs and limitations and that of their mentors. Take initiative and establish meeting schedules, determine how progress will be defined and individual responsibilities.3
1. Jackson et al., 2003; Ramanan et al., 2002; Zerzan et al., 2009.
2. Farell et al., 2002.
3. Zerzan et al., 2009; Poley and Knight, 2005; Sands et al., 1991; Boyle and Boyce, 1998; Sorcinelli and Yun, 2007.