Attributes of Effective Mentoring Relationships for Novice Faculty Members: Perspectives of Mentors and Mentees

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Context: Although doctoral education provides ample opportunities for skill development, the new faculty member may still require further support and guidance. Mentorship is often the mechanism whereby continued encouragement is provided. Limited understanding exists of the mentoring relationships developed between a new faculty member and a seasoned one.

Objective: To understand the mentoring relationship from the perspectives of new and seasoned faculty members who have engaged in mentoring relationships.

Design: Qualitative study, phenomenology.

Setting: Selected higher education institutions with Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education–accredited programs.

Patients or Other Participants: From the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Foundation Research Mentor program we successfully recruited 7 mentors (5 male, 2 female) and 7 mentees (2 male, 5 female). We additionally recruited 7 mentors (5 male, 2 female) and 7 mentees (2 male, 5 female) who had not completed the NATA Foundation Research Mentor program.

Main Outcomes Measure(s): We completed semistructured phone interviews following an interview script. Interviews were transcribed and saturation was obtained. Analysis was grounded by the general inductive approach. Peer review and researcher triangulation were completed for trustworthiness.

Results: Two major themes materialized: (1) positive mentoring relationships and (2) challenges. Three primary attributes emerged as necessary for positive mentoring relationships between new and experienced faculty members: (1) active engagement from both mentor and mentee (this theme was furthered divided by the subthemes of reciprocity, motivation, and availability), (2) communication, and (3) similar interests. Mentees' resistance to mentoring and mentors' time constraints emerged as challenges.

Conclusions: Mentoring relationships develop when there is shared interest, ongoing communication, and an investment made by both parties. New faculty members may be resistant to mentoring because of struggles receiving feedback, while experienced faculty may have competing time constraints that limit availability.


This article was originally published in Athletic Training Education Journal, volume 12, issue 2, in 2017. DOI: 10.4085/1202152

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National Athletic Trainers' Association