Faculty Mentorship: A Comparative Case Study of Factors Associated with Academic Career Mentoring Programs

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Informal mentoring has long been a means of facilitating the transfer of knowledge, skills, and experience from senior to junior faculty. Although many continue to benefit from these relationships, others report that they lack mentorship. Formal mentoring programs are structured interventions designed to provide equitable access to mentorship. While previous research suggests that such programs can further professional development and career outcomes in academia, few studies have examined those factors which may impact on the success of these initiatives. The purpose of this dissertation study was to enhance conceptual understanding of faculty-to-faculty mentorship by exploring how academics perceive their roles, benefit from, and are challenged by their participation in formal programs. I employed a comparative qualitative dual case study approach to conduct an in-depth examination of the faculty mentoring experience. Faculty mentorship was explored against the backdrop of two emerging programs at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada): one a functional dyadic structure, the other a peer group model. This research was informed by data from 23 semi-structured interviews, program documentation, and observational field notes. Faculty share many similar beliefs, and concerns, with respect to mentorship, and their participation in, and satisfaction with, formal mentoring programs. Chief among these are an intrinsic belief in comfort, safety, and trust as innate attributes of mentorship, and an awareness that formal programs may do little to support the development of that depth of intimacy and trust that faculty associate with these relationships. While faculty appear to view mentorship as an inherent good, tensions can arise when they feel unprepared, and unsupported, in their efforts to engage in these relationships. In this study, I found that a lack of training, clear expectations, and dedicated time were key barriers to mentorship participation. My analysis further revealed that organizational cultures and priorities can influence attitudes towards, and participation in, these relationships. Efforts to address these educational, program-level, and organizational impediments may enable faculty to derive greater benefit from these experiences. Finally, my analysis of study findings informed the development of a best-practice framework for conceptualizing the design, implementation, and evaluation of faculty mentorship programs.
Education--Adult and Continuing
Lorenzetti, D. L. (2016). Faculty Mentorship: A Comparative Case Study of Factors Associated with Academic Career Mentoring Programs (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca. doi:10.11575/PRISM/26156