How to Advise While Being Advised, Mentor While Being Mentored

Friday, January 7, 2011: 10:50 AM
Room 101 (Hynes Convention Center)
Steven S. Volk , Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
For many new faculty members, the task of advising and mentoring undergraduate students is a complicated one for at least two reasons: In the first place, new faculty are arguably in the same structural location as their students: both could use large quantities of considered advice and guidance.  And, secondly, the future career/s that the vast majority of one’s students are preparing for will be significantly different from one’s own career path. Having prepared for years to be a scholar of history, and for less time to be a teacher of history, the new faculty member now must guide students who, by and large, will be neither, which makes the advice one offers all the more important. Effective advising is a responsibility that can be critical to a student’s successful learning process, even though how one actually provides reasonable advice is either ignored in new faculty orientations or trivialized (“tell them to take a math class and come back to see you when they register for next semester”). Nor can faculty members rely on regular help when negotiating the line between effective advising (a responsibility which we all have) and mentoring, a considerably deeper process of engagement and commitment. In this presentation, I will discuss the importance of developing effective advising strategies for one’s students and discuss the tremendous satisfaction that can be gained by focused mentoring.
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