mentor, mentoring, PhD, Research

Cultivating Mentoring: Peer Mentorship Matters for Doctoral Scholars

Mentoring of doctoral scholars vary between disciplines and domains of practice. Mentorship is generally seen as both a relationship and process between a minimum of two individuals seeking to share and build knowledge, expertise, and support (Williams & Kim, 2011). Mentoring occurs within informal and formal settings in terminal degree programs. Often (but not always) doctoral scholars are mentored by a faculty advisor or supervisor; however, even more are seeking mentorship from professionals, practitioners, and peers within their industry or workplace. In thinking back to your own graduate school or doctoral learning experience, who did you seek out or stubble upon for as a mentor? Where did you find professional support for your research and career plans? Who was part of your mentoring community for the work you do?

Over the past few years, I have been working with scholars and practitioners to understand how formal and informal mentoring experiences develop occupational pathways for academic writers, researchers, and higher education professionals. Traditionally, mentoring is viewed as a face-to-face, long-term relationship with interactions between an experienced colleague and a novice professional or learner to support professional, academic, or personal development of the protégé (Donaldson, Ensher, & Grant-Vallone, 2000). With emergent technologies and digital access to colleagues, this no longer needs to be the only model or experience for establishing mentoring relationships. Graduate students and early career scholars/practitioners are beginning to form peer networks to learn and thrive as they set out on their own professional paths. We can now find mentoring opportunities within our networks, communities, and areas of interest in online settings.

With the opportunity to connect to scholars and practitioners beyond geographic boundaries, time zones, and physical locations, it is possible to establish a mentoring relationship with one or many professionals/academics from afar. Also, the typical dyad of the mentoring experience is shifting as structures are evolving to support specific career goals and personal life changes. There is an increase in peer-to-peer, group, and networked mentoring opportunities. In a recent study, we wanted to know more about these digital mentoring experiences of doctoral scholars so we asked the following research questions:

  1. What type of mentoring opportunities are you involved with formally or informally to reach your personal and professional goals?
  2. What expectations and motivations did you bring to this mentoring relationship?
  3. What sort of resources, support, and kinship occurs within peer mentoring experiences in digital environments?

In exploring mentoring opportunities in-person and within digital environments, we learned most early career scholars sought out a mentor to help them with the follow areas of professional development and growth:

  • Navigating the norms, expectations, and experiences working in academia
  • Gaining career advice and guidance for planning their professional path
  • Improving or developing a particular applied skill related to scholarship (e.g. academic writing, research methods, instruction, etc.)
  • Learning from others on team-based projects, labs, or group assignments that had a shared vision, goal(s), and outcome(s)
  • Offering and receiving feedback, personal support, and professional advice from and among their peers
  • Identifying ways to communicate, virtually team, and work collaboratively from a distance

There are so many possibilities for early career scholarship mentoring, and part of this is just the beginning. I have no doubt that you might even have your own reflections or maybe research to share OR you are thinking about ways to support your graduate students. If you want to find out more about this research, I will be posting these findings and implications from this study here over the next couple of months: https://techknowtools.com/mentoring/

References:

Donaldson, S. I., Ensher, E. A., & Grant-Vallone, E. J. (2000). Longitudinal examination of mentoring relationships on organizational commitment and citizenship behavior. Journal of Career Development, 26(4), 233-249.

Williams, S. L., & Kim, J. (2011). E-mentoring in online course projects: Description of an e-mentoring scheme. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 9(2).

 

Thanks to Janet Salmons for asking me to share my reflections on these findings at #SAGEMethodSpace (https://www.methodspace.com/) you can find a version of this blog post cross-posted HERE.

Online Learning, Professional Development

#ET4online Recap, Reflections, and Review

As I regroup from last week’s Emerging Technologies for Online Learning (#et4online) conference, I am filled with ideas and inspiration. Inviting a group of teaching, learning, and researching friends invested in supporting online pedagogy is a fantastic way to wrap up April.With the help of a fab #et4online steering committee (especially that co-chair Michelle), we were pleased to bring OLC to my current hometown, Dallas, TX.

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Thanks to ALL who contributed to the #et4online program. I was genuinely impressed by the quality of content, interactions, and engagement in the conference workshops, sessions, #et4women dinner, panels, and more! I was told time and time again, how much participants enjoyed the program and felt motivated to bring these ideas back to campus. Way to bring your A-game to Dallas, #et4online! BIG THANKS and shout out to the #et4online Program Track Chairs (@adesinamedia@amichaelberman, @ajsalts@JLeafstedt, @Profpatrice,  & @unatdaly) and our proposal readers for putting this together!

ET4MontageThe conversations and interactions at #et4online really provided momentum for supporting my online learners. I am already thinking about ways to improve my own online teaching and learning, to include action-based pedagogy, #et4messy learning, and reconsider assessment in my curriculum.  It was also a  treat to listen to our #et4online keynote & plenary speakers reflect and share research, projects, and developments in the follow areas of technology emergence – thank you so much:

I am grateful for the collaborative and sharing spirit of the #et4online participants. I was so pleased by a number of new initiatives and happenings at the conference – which also left me contemplating and considering a few things ahead, including:

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Messy Learning sketch by Giulia Forsythe

  • The value of wrapping up a conference with #unet4online the ET4Online Unconference hosted in Canvas facilitated by @Jessifer & @slamteacher (About & remote support @Bali_Maha) + Tweets. Although I was exhausted at the end of the conference, this was  – BY FAR – one of my ET4 conference highlights. The discussions were very fruitful and active in the #unet4online room. It was nice to connect with a few new folks, and walk away with a few new ideas after this thoughtful debriefing session.
  • Hybrid participation in a conference with the #et4buddy pilot project with @Bali_Maha & @rjhogue – Submit feedback for the #et4buddy and #et4buddy video playlist. I am still thinking about this hybrid engagement for a few and its impact for others at the conference. What does it mean to be present at a conference? How does this type of digital involvement make meaning for in-person interactions? How does this interaction help or hinder everyone’s conference experience? Can this meta conference be the “same” or does it have to be?
  • The purpose of the Teacher Tank (Launch Pad) to #et4online, and beyond an entertainment value – how does this really serve #et4online participants? The ideas for this new program feature was to have  ed tech startup’s provide a solution for teaching and learning by sharing their results & preliminary feedback. After processing with the startups, judges, and reviewing the #et4snark meta backchannel, many agreed the format/concept has little value-added to the program.  During the #unet4online conference, we had a great talk about a hackspace and/or collaboration to provide a more meaningful concept — so I look forward to our next meeting about this in May to re-purpose the “shark tank.”
  • The after conference social times that included #et4Bonfire Sing-Songs, dinners, karaoke, 1st Ukulele Lessons #moocalele & harmonizing with peers. These impromptu lessons & creative spaces should have a bigger place for professional development and learning at our conferences. I want to think more about this for next year. How can the non-sessions provide a great space to dialog, learning & engage? Where could and should this fit into a future conference?

A HUGE thanks goes out to the on-going efforts and developments of the OLC Technology Test Kitchen. The addition of the hands-on demonstrations by the Technology Test Kitchen Chefs #et4TTK  was brilliant. I would like to give a shout out to @jlknott & @scragg_OSU for their efforts on organizing this play/maker space! Thank you.

I am continuing to absorb and read others reflections about #ET4Online from tweets and in the blogosphere – thanks for sharing Adam, Patrice, Maha, Jeff, Rebecca, and others to come. Please continue to post your blog reflections, write comments, and share your general thoughts. Also remember to complete the post-conference evaluation so we can better understand your impression of #et4online and improve future events. This survey will take less than 5 minutes, and the #et4online steering committee will use this information to learn about your experiences and utilize this for planning ahead:

Onsite Survey

Virtual Attendee Survey

This was my 3rd and last #et4online conference. Like the ones before it, ET4 did not fail to deliver quality memories and interactions. Next year #et4online will be replaced by the NEW OLC Innovate Conference 2016 in New Orleans, LA from April 20-22, 2016.

innovate_spiral

We will be taking ideas from both #et4online and #blend15 for the OLC Innovate 2016 event. Are you interested in getting involved in planning this new event? Want to contribute to planning the program or being a member of the steering committee? Interested in being a program proposal reader? Do you have an idea or suggestions for Innovate 2016? Let me know – complete this Google Form:

#TBT Blog, Reflections

#TBT Blog Post: My Life According to Matthew Good

So, I have been blogging “officially” blogging since May 18, 2006. I have been writing on this blog since 2008; however I know that I have been publicly sharing web logs on other platforms for a while. That being said, I recently discovered a piece or two, that caught my eye – so I thought – why not re-blog to reflect what I have said.

Time flies when you write, reflect, and share in a few social spaces. Blogging for me has been a space to document happenings, archive ideas, and share memories. Instead of a Throwback Thursday (#TBT) photo – I thought I would try out a new feature – #TBT Blog. I am considering where I have posted various posts (written, video, photo, etc.), and how they have developed who I am in these spaces today. My goal is not just to re-share older content, but rather to process my own development as a blogger, writer, and then some. Welcome to my #TBT blog journey – join me every Thursday on here… until I get bored.

——

#TBT Blog Post #1:

Music has been a significant influence in my life. Whether I am playing new music, going to a concern, or part of an impromptu jam/signing session – I am a fan. Not only am I am a fan of how music can bring people together, I am also partial to the collaborative spirit for how music is made. Most importantly, some of my writing and blogging influences have come from the artists I have followed over the years — one of these artists is Matt Good:

“Somebody gave you a choice
And all you do is abuse it
If God he gave you a voice
Then use it”

~From Lullaby for a New World Order

24 July 2009 from a Facebook blog post:

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 10 people. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Repost as “my life according to (band name)”

Pick your Artist:
Matthew Good

Are you a male or female?:
Song for the Girl

Describe yourself:
Generation X-Wing

How do you feel:
Haven’t Slept In YearsI’m a Window
Describe where you currently live:
North American for Life

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Bright End of Nowhere

Your favorite form of transportation:
Metal Airplanes

What’s the weather like:
Blue Skies Over Bad Lands

Favorite time of day:
Running for Home

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance

What is life to you:
A Long Way Down

Describe your most recent relationship:
True Love Will Find You in the End

Your fear:
Middle Class Gangsters

What is the best advice you have to give:
The Future Is X-Rated

Thought for the Day:
My Out Of Style Is Coming Back

How I would like to die:
Everything Is Automatic

My soul’s present condition:
Near Fantastica

Most Faithful Companion:
Lullaby for the New World Order

My motto:
Oh Be Joyful

 

Note: I would selected tracks from  Radiohead if my friend, @hungrypo, did not snag them first.

Feel free to share your artist & responses in the comments below. Rock on.

Reflections, StudentAffairs

#asbABQ13: Service Learning, Shared Experiences & Connecting to Pay it Forward

During the University of North Texas (UNT) Spring Break (March 11-15) I joined a group of undergraduate students on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) road trip for some service learning in New Mexico – #asbABQ13.

Alternative Spring Break in NM #asbABQ13
The focus for our volunteering was around the theme of homelessness, so we logged some time at the Roadrunners Food Bank and moving furniture for the “Helping Hands” with the Metropolitan Homelessness Project in Albuquerque, NM (#asbABQ13). You may recall our Student Launcher website (that is still open – hint, hint): http://StudentLauncher.org/9cab [Closes March 28, 2013].

We were one of the many UNT Alternative Spring Break trips created for students who want to give back to their community and participate in a service learning while away from academics. It has also been a very enlightening week for the group as it was the “1st” time for ASB participation & volunteering, visiting the state of New Mexico, travelling without family, or evening being on top of or even seeing  mountains. The ASB trip’s focus was on homelessness and socio-economic issues facing the US today – specifically around the distribution of wealth reality.

During the week our group packed boxing of meat, moved furniture, sorted linens/donations, organized breakfast boxes, and more. Most the week’s work confronted a number of students with what it meant to do more with less. The final day of service impacted the #asbABQ13 team the most, since we were meeting recently placed tenants when delivering furniture to their new dwellings.  The students learned that many of the new tenants had been living on the street anywhere from 5 to 30 years, and often dealing with medical needs and other issues. The final day did involved a great deal of physical work; however the heavy lifting was rewarded by the smiling faces of new residents.

Untitled

Thanks for a great week in New Mexico Team #asbABQ13: Suliat, Lasha, Alyssa, DeDe, Asmara, Briatni & Irene!

Over the course of the week, our #asbABQ13 group talked about how we spend money, not waste food, and take for granted our comforts of living. It was pretty impressive to learn that our few days of efforts helped so much. Earlier this week, I received a message from the Roadrunner Food Bank thanking us for our efforts:

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To continue the spirit of giving back, the #asbABQ13 group plans to collect donations that will all go directly to the Roadrunner Food Bank. We learned that dollar donations can go a long way to fill the nutritional needs for the food distribution center. If you have $5-20 to spare, PLEASE consider contributing to our Student Launcher site: http://StudentLauncher.org/9cab

It was an eventful week of service with many new experiences, group projects, and delightful interactions. I am looking forward to seeing how this ASB trip impacts everyone now that we are back on campus. My plan is to continue being involved on and around campus beyond this service trip, and, of course, staying in touch with this amazing group of students: