Implementing a mentoring model for teachers in the tertiary education environment
The project researched the implementation of a mentoring model to build leadership capabilities and create collaborative and collegial networks able to share teaching best practice.
Janet Walke - Universal College of Learning (UCOL); and Lesley Petersen - Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT)
Date: March 2012
About the project
The following recommendations have been developed from the findings of this project. They are based on the extensive feedback gathered from the participants and aim to provide other institutions or individuals with strategies to enhance the implementation and sustainability of an institute-wide mentoring programme.
Mentoring profile templates
The development and use of mentor and mentee profiles would assist the participants about to engage in a mentoring programme in finding out significant information about each other. The profile could include categories of the individual’s teaching context, student cohort information, level of teaching experience, discipline expertise, degree of organisational knowledge. These profiles would be available for both mentors and mentees at Stage One of the programme, the selection and consequent matching of the mentor and mentee.
Mentor questions template
The development of a template of questions that the mentee can use when they are in Stage One of selecting a mentor would assist the mentee when they first meet a prospective mentor. The template could include questions to ask the prospective mentor so that the mentee can find out if this person is the mentor they are looking for, for example, questions about the mentor’s discipline area, their level of experience with teaching, whether they have particular areas of teaching expertise. This also gives the mentee a high degree of choice in who they will receive mentoring support.
Commencement of the mentoring partnerships
It is recommended that a ‘meet and greet’ event be organised prior to the mentoring partnerships commencing. This provides the opportunity for the mentors and mentees to establish an initial level of familiarity and to meet others involved in the mentoring programme, which could lead to future networking and building of collegial relationships. Also, in the UCOL context specifically, a ‘meet and greet’ event would provide the opportunity for the three separate campuses to come together.
As this project has evidenced, a critical component of the mentoring partnership process involves the mentee identifying their professional development goals and how mentoring can support them in achieving these. A mentee’s goals may highlight a number of different areas in which they require support. To reduce the assumption or unrealistic expectation that one mentor can provide multi-dimensional support, a co-mentoring option is suggested. This could be in the form of a mentee being assigned two mentors who have two distinct and different sets of skills and knowledge. This composition of a mentoring partnership would need to be explicit and all parties involved made fully aware that the mentee is accessing support from multiple sources to enable them to achieve their goals.
Discontinuation of the mentoring partnership
The development of a letter template that enables either the mentee or the mentor to discontinue the mentoring partnership would be a useful tool, if either person felt that they were not benefitting from the mentoring support or that the mentee-mentor relationship was not compatible.
Additional mentoring training focus
Feedback from the participants indicated that although they felt they had benefitted from the mentoring training workshops, additional content could be useful to include in future training sessions, particularly for mentors; for example, more in-depth material regarding communication skills and strategies including body language.
- Walke, J. & Petersen, J. (2013 July) Implementation of a mentoring programme in a New Zealand polytechnic environment. Presentation at the Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australasia (HERSDA) Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.
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