Mentoring matters

“In some ways, mentoring is just good teaching,” said Will Benedicks, a professor of history at Tallahassee Community College, as part of a panel at the American Historical Association meeting in Boston.  From Inside Higher Ed:

At its best, mentoring should be tailored to each student, and be open, honest and direct, the panelists said. Benedicks described how he shares with his students his own life story as a Vietnam veteran who returned to college at 30 — when he was ready to do so. It is a way to show struggling traditional-age students that they need to think about college in the context of their life’s path. “For many students, you are the first adult-to-adult relationship that they’ve had,” said Benedicks. “Essentially, mentoring at a community college is helping students establish the template for their academic career — somewhere else.”

Faculty members are seldom rewarded by their colleges for mentoring students, the panelists agreed.  Instructors may feel a deep sense of satisfaction, but shouldn’t expect a raise or a favorable tenure decision.