When Traditional Mentoring Won’t Work: An Alternative Model for Mentoring Undergraduates

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Leone, Christopher; Hawkins, LouAnne
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Compared to faculty at large institutions, faculty at small institutions typically have heavy teaching loads and committee assignments. These demands on the time of faculty at small institutions present several challenges including a relatively limited opportunity for faculty to engage in scholarship and to mentor undergraduates as future scholars. We present a model for mentoring protégés in which faculty can increase both the number of the undergradu- ates who benefit from their tutelage and the richness of the experience these undergraduates experience. We incorporate into this model several pedagogical devices such as peer mentoring and small group supervision which serve to increase the range as well as depth of professional, intellectual, and social skills student protégés will acquire. We also incorporate into this model a team meeting during which the faculty mentor and/or student protégés address issues and concerns common to all involved (e.g., securing appropriate graduate school opportunities, acquiring discipline-specific writing skills, receiving training in discipline specific research ethics, honing skills for presentations at professional conferences). Although we present a model involving one faculty mentor and several undergraduate protégés, this model can be adapted to include several faculty with shared interests and graduate as well as undergraduate protégés.