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Formal and Informal Mentoring in Academia for the 21st Century

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The article emphasizes the need for universities to embrace the multiplicity of narratives and perspectives of their faculty members. It is argued that when universities fully recognize their faculty as sources of cultural and intellectual capital, these institutions can meet their fundamental missions as incubators of intellectual thought and creative processes needed to advance into the 21st century. The review of literature indicates that while formal mentorships serve the needs of the institution, informal mentorships focus on the needs of faculty. It was also found to be consistent about contradictions in the way in which universities stage their missions, policies and procedures, and their actual implementation of mentoring. Self-study narratives authenticate the value of informal mentoring relationships, because they can provide faculty with the opportunity to learn, examine, analyze, and develop a deeper sense of how to navigate and succeed in the academy. These findings provided the platform for a survey research at the national and international levels to investigate faculty experiences in formal and informal mentoring, which is in progress.
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Keywords: academia; formal mentorship; informal mentorship; institutions of higher education; women and ethnic minorities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Texas State University — San Marcos

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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