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Faculty Mentorship Guidelines & Tips

Developing Your Personal Mission Statement: Linking Your Passions to Academic Activities

Creating your personal missions statement will be one of the most powerful and significant things you will ever do to take leadership of your life.  A personal mission statement is to be used as a frame of reference to make life's decisions. 
In it you will identify the first, most important roles, relationships, and things in your life--who you want to be, what you want to do, to whom and what you want to give your life, the principles you want to anchor your life to, the legacy you want to leave. All the goals and decisions you will make in the future will be based upon it. It will be a compass--a strong source of guidance amid the stormy seas and pulling currents of your life.  Your personal mission statement should be:
  • Short, one sentence, 10 words or less...capture your passion

  • Use strong, dynamic verbs

  • Speak to your values/beliefs (What do you really care about?  How do you want to make a difference?)

  • Why are you doing what you're doing?  Why? Why? Why? Why?

  • Revise your personal mission statement again and again and again, until you can no longer explain why.

     


Examples of Personal Mission Statements
"To role model and inspire learners to be compassionate MDs of integrity who pursue life-long learning".

"To write about the heart and soul (and mind) of medicine".

"To integrate palliative care into the academic clinical environment".


"To improve care for the seriously ill and dying through innovative clinical care and health professional education programs".
  

Greek Art

Mentor Roles and Characteristics

Mentors are guides. They lead us along the journey of our lives. We trust them because they have been there before. They embody our hopes, cast light on the way ahead, interpret arcane signs, warn us of lurking dangers and point out unexpected delights along the way.

– L.A. Doloz

 
Mentor Roles - Homer's Illiad

Today the term mentor has been used to mean a coach, an adviser, a guide, a confident, a teacher, a role model, a counselor, a friend, a consultant, a critic, and/or an advocate. 

While these roles can be fulfilled by multiple individuals, a mentor is someone who has all these roles simultaneously.  Thus, most literature on academic success recommends that you develop a colleague network, with individuals who wear multiple hats.  These individuals can be peers - senior experienced colleagues, etc.

The original mentor was the faithful friend of Odysseus who tutored Odysseus' son Telemachus in Homer's The Odyssey.  The tutoring went beyond traditional subject matters addressing virtue and integrity, responsibility, and character development -- all attributes that today associate with a concept of a mentor.

In Greek mythology, Mentor was the teacher and guide of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. “Mentor” actually was Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in disguise. The archetype of a mentor, then, is one of benevolent, guiding wisdom.

A mentor, in relation to a mentee, is a person of higher ranking within an organization or profession, with greater experience or knowledge and a commitment to supporting the development of a mentee’s career.
A mentor serves as a role model who offers acceptance, confirmation, protection, and even friendship to the mentee. A mentor listens, observes, asks, counsels, coaches, challenges, and sponsors the mentee.
Among the advantages of a mentor relationship for the mentee are the following:
  • Greater career and job satisfaction
  • Greater sense of efficacy in one’s professional skills
  • More predictable career advancement

 

The benefits for mentors include the following:
  • Satisfaction and fulfillment from seeing a protégé advance
  • Renewal of interest in and commitment to one’s own career
  • Recognition of one’s own professional skills by the mentee
  • Increased satisfaction in one’s own job or position
  • Recognition from peers and administrators for service

 

Universities benefits experienced by the mentee and mentor:
  • Reduced faculty turnover
  • Increased sensitivity to issues of gender, culture, and diversity
  • More systematic socialization to university culture
  • Greater loyalty to the university mission
 
Effective mentors promote an interdependent relationship with their mentees that involves a developmental perspective. That is, effective mentors assume a position of respect and patience, guide rather than tell, model learning by learning from the mentee, and provide challenges that stretch the capacity of the mentee. The mentor does all this by listening, reflecting on experiences, asking questions, encouraging a sense of ownership, gently challenging, and affirming the experience of the mentee.
Effective mentees learn to observe with a minimum of bias; to communicate and listen effectively; to increase in self-knowledge about strengths, needs, learning styles, weaknesses, and “blind spots”; to be open to feedback rather than defensive, and to maintain an interdependent rather than a dependent or autonomous relationship with their mentor.
Effective mentoring occurs in an environment of confidentiality in which both mentee and mentor can be candid and self-revealing to each other without fearing for the publication of the content of their conversations. Effective mentoring is devoid of summary judgments and evaluations about personality and character. Instead, mentoring focuses on skills and personal qualities effective for career success. Although it shares some features with therapy, mentoring is not a form of therapy per se and should not be used to address problems of adjustment or personality integration.

 

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Page Updated 01/31/2014