Faculty Mentoring Programs: Reenvisioning Rather Than Reinventing the Wheel

Sep. 27, 2008

Source: Review of Educational Research. Vol. 78, Iss. 3; Sep 2008. p. 552-588
(Reviewed by The Portal Team)

This review has three goals:
(a) to trace the evolution of mentoring programs in the United States in business and academe,

(b) to provide insight on the challenges associated with the study of mentoring, and (c) to identify the limited research-based studies of faculty mentoring programs that currently inform the understanding of this professional development practice in American higher education.

The review is limited to studies of formal faculty mentoring programs published after 1994. Therefore, this article is not a thorough review of the faculty mentoring literature but rather a critical examination of studies addressing formal faculty mentoring programs conducted over the past 10 years in the United States. These studies used research designs and included descriptions of the mentoring program models.

The findings indicate that the sophistication of research has not advanced over the past decade. However, evidence does suggest that academe should be cautious in overgeneralizing the findings of studies conducted in corporate cultures. Although mentoring is recognized to be contextual, only recently have investigators considered the impact of organizational culture on the effectiveness of corporate mentoring programs. More rigorous investigation of this practice in higher education is warranted. As more studies point to the need to foster an employment culture that supports mentoring, understanding faculty mentoring programs within the context of their academic cultures is critical.

Updated: Dec. 15, 2008