Are advocacy, mutuality, and evaluation incompatible mentoring functions?

Feb. 15, 2008

Source: Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Volume 16, Issue 1 February 2008 , pages 31 - 44

Exemplary faculty-student mentorships in graduate school are defined by several salient mentor functions and numerous benefits for student protégés. Over time, helpful mentorships are increasingly defined by mutuality, reciprocity and professional collegiality; mentors often become increasingly partisan advocates for their protégés.

Few scholars have addressed the potential incompatibility between the mentor's collegial, advocacy, and evaluative roles. This article addresses the apparent tension between a mentor's inclinations toward mutuality and advocacy and his or her ethical obligation to objectively evaluate student performance and serve as gatekeeper on behalf of the profession. The author offers several recommendations to administrators and faculty members in academe aimed at minimizing negative outcomes caused by mentor role tension.

Updated: Feb. 12, 2008