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Early career academic staff support: evaluating mentoring networks

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Which academics benefit from participation in formal mentoring programmes? This study examined the needs and mentoring networks of new academics with evaluative data from a pilot mentoring programme. Themes from these data point towards re-envisioning initiatives for academic staff development. First, an examination of the expansion of mentoring networks of new staff suggests that some need more support than others. Second, new academics have common needs in professional development support, despite disciplinary differences and the beliefs of many administrators. Third, evaluation of new academics’ self-reports show that there are differences in mentoring preferences that influence programme participation. Fourth, participant reports reveal both perceived benefits and some detriments of programme participation. Fifth, a somewhat widespread academic mentoring mindset was identified that may lead to problematic mentoring outcomes depending on demographic characteristics of protégés. Implications for administrators in charge of staff development and avenues for future research are presented.
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Keywords: academic staff; faculty; higher education; mentoring; networks; professional development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Arizona South, Tucson, AZ, USA 3: Division of Human Resources, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication date: 04 May 2015

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