Levels of Mentoring

Posted on December 10, 2007

David Klahr (bio) talks about various levels of structure and formality among mentoring approaches.


Some departments have a formal mentorship program in which when a new assistant professor comes in, somebody in the department volunteers or is assigned to be their mentor. And it’s somebody who would not be in their area, and that person is not going to be reading their papers and evaluating them at tenure time, but they’re going to be someone who can talk about the nature of the department and give general career advice.

Our department has a mentorship program where a new faculty member comes in and I’m that person’s mentor for a couple of years, and that’s really helpful.

Other departments couldn’t care less. It’s sort of sink or swim, because we don’t expect you to stay here anyhow. Again, that’s the department culture, and certain departments have reputations that way. Some departments, it’s extremely rare for them to promote anybody all the way up to the ranks, and other departments it happens quite often, and some departments it’s mixed, and you have to figure that out before you go somewhere.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2007 SRCD Biennial Meeting in Boston, MA.


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