By Kristy Norris, Behavioral Sciences

Mentoring Word Cloud

On November 24th, 2015 the Faculty Professional Development committee had the honor of hosting a luncheon to honor 66 esteemed faculty members that were recognized by their peers as a mentor.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mentor as someone who is “a trusted counselor or guide” and it is inspirational to know that we work with so many wonderful colleagues that take the time to help those that need guidance. A survey was sent out to all faculty on campus, full and part-time, to obtain feedback about mentoring experiences and the resulting responses were inspirational.  Respondents shared compliments such as “I feel very fortunate to work in an environment of supportive faculty” and “Love the department meetings and having a mentor to turn to. I have been fortunate that all of my course mentors are wonderful.”

There were also some feedback points that suggest that we, as mentors, still have places that we can improve.  Feedback such as “ I wish we had a field guide or workbook that guided us at WCC” and “It would be great to have a mentor to meet with regularly (even just once a month or a few times a term would be helpful)” suggest that there is always room for improvement. With busy lives and busy schedules it is often times easy to overlook the needs of the vast number of part-time and adjunct faculty that we have on our campus, as well as newly hired full time faculty that may be navigating uncharted waters.

As a part of our Marvelous Mentoring Luncheon we asked our honorees to share their secrets to success as mentors as well as a “wish” list of ways to improve mentoring on campus.  Here is a brief list of the suggestions:

  • Share record-keeping systems and rubrics; give encouragement; ask frequently “how’s it going?”; and share resources and readings
  • Pair new faculty with current faculty who teach the same course is the best way to do it! J
  • Create opportunities for part-time faculty to “shadow” full time faculty a bit or co-teach a class.
  • Connect with part-time faculty by checking in, involving them on department opportunities.
  • Help part-time teachers with development of teaching techniques and curriculum.
  • Be available and offer my time and guidance before it is needed. Open your class and assignments for review and comments.

We are doing wonderful things on our campus.  The challenge is for more people to mentor and support. Go out and mentor someone today!

The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.

                                                            -Steven Spielberg