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When Faculty is the Student

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Save the Date! Spring Critical Thinking Institute & Narrowing the Gulf Conference 2013 – April 4 & 5, 2013

This an excellent (and free) opportunity for professional development will cover Underrepresented Students in Postsecondary Education.  Join your colleagues for two days of learning and networking by registering online today!

Mr. Bruce  McClintockThe mentoring program sponsored by CETL works on building peer-to-peer relationships between colleagues. In this review, Bruce McClintock (Math, Seminole) shares what challenges and benefits come from working with other faculty as a teacher begins his or her career at St. Petersburg College.

What does the mentoring program involve? What work or tasks are mentors expected to accomplish?

We did have a checklist, but it really depends on your mentee. Some have classroom experience but are not ready for the full-time teaching load. Others need more technical help. Some need assistance navigating the bureaucracy. A good mentor assesses where a mentee is in his or her professional development and where he or she needs to be to find success in the classroom.

What motivated you to want to become a mentor? Have you worked with a mentor yourself?

I think I would have benefit from having a mentor, which probably motivated me to participate in the program. I see a significant lack of training for new faculty members beyond the typical employee training. New faculty are usually very eager to excel in their new position and are a pleasure to work with towards that end. We need to tap into that wealth of positive energy and focus it toward student success.

What do you feel a mentor should be expected to do? What do you find yourself being asked for most?

A mentor should not only be available to help but actively communicate with and achieve specific goals with their mentee. My mentee was grateful to be employed full-time but stressed by having so many different class preparations all at once. I worked with her to manage her class load, adjust her schedule, find class resources already developed by other professors, and even secure some extra compensation for multiple preps. She also had questions about the SSI, attendance, and grades.

What were your expectations of this experience? How did they differ from the reality?

Most of my expectations were in line with the actual experience. I did expect my mentee to want more communication with me, but she had taught as an adjunct for many years with SPC already. I believe she was more comfortable with her new position than a hire from outside the college might be.

What qualified you to be a mentor? What do you see as your greatest strength? What do you see as your greatest challenge?

I have held a variety of positions at the college, including administrative. This has given me insight into college operations that not every faculty member has had. It also meant I was confident in advocating for my mentee if I felt she was overburdened. The greatest challenge was creating opportunities for face-to-face meetings. When we did meet, it was always productive but rarely initiated by my mentee. Just like some students, I think they fear that they are a bother which is definitely not the case. It just takes time to build a rapport.

Thank you, Professor McClintock, for sharing your insights into the fun and challenges of mentoring!

What feedback helped you become a better instructor? Share your experience in the comments section below!

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