The role of a mentor in supporting early career academics: the relationship is more important than the label

Haddock-Millar, Julie and Sanyal, Chandana (2015) The role of a mentor in supporting early career academics: the relationship is more important than the label. In: Mentoring away the glass ceiling in academia: a cultured critique. Marina, Brenda, ed. Lexinghton Books, Lanham. ISBN 9781498515306

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Abstract

The authors’ experience of both being mentored and, mentoring others reflects many of the issues women face (although not exclusively), when making the transition from working in professional practice (e.g as a human resource manager) to academia. First, taking a ‘non-traditional’ route of a professional doctorate qualification immediately put the authors at a ‘perceived’ career disadvantage to others that have taken the ‘traditional’ route of a research doctorate. Second, selecting a ‘professional practice career track’ rather than the ‘research fellow’ career track can mean narrowing down the range of career network and academic publication opportunities. Third, the development of ‘informal’ mentoring relationships rather than a ‘formal’ programme which seeks to align career aspirations and needs with competence and capability is lacking. What sits behind these issues is the changing United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education (HE) strategic focus and structure and the impact this continues to have on the career transitions in academia.
Haddock-Millar and Sanyal are in unique positions: they both work with their own mentors, mentor colleagues and students, in addition to leading and championing a range of diversity and employability mentoring schemes internal and external to the academic institution (Haddock-Millar, Rigby and Sanyal, 2013; Haddock-Millar and Rigby, 2013). This multi-layered perspective provides them with the opportunity to identify the factors which have the greatest influence on successful mentoring relationships (Haddock-Millar and Rigby, 2014; Haddock-Millar et al., 2012; Sanyal and Rigby, 2013).
Haddock-Millar’s story focuses on the impact of her decision to undertake a professional doctorate and her career journey to-date in the world of academia. She reflects on the mentors (both male and female) she has worked with over the last five years, what has worked well, what could be improved upon, and the role of mentoring in supporting her career transition.
Sanyal’s experience in the last three years both of having been mentored, supervised and through informal interactions with professors and senior academics has informed Sanyal’s thinking, her views and possibly her prejudices about the world of academic. From a confident Lecturer being able to bring her experience and knowledge to the classroom to becoming an early career ‘academic’ engaged in scholarly activities is her greatest challenge. Sanyal’s story explores her early impressions and encounters with ‘educational leaders’ and how that has shaped her thinking and views of ‘academics’. In the last year, her mentoring experience has provided a different perspective, highlighting the power of mentoring in developing her confidence to start her journey into a new world of academia. Sanyal’s story will exam whether her non-western educational background and ethnicity; her values, beliefs and culture immobilizes her career progression and considers to what extent can mentoring support her continued career development.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Professional Practice group for LWO
Item ID: 18137
Notes on copyright: Access to full text restricted pending copyright check
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Depositing User: Chandana Sanyal
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2015 10:05
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2018 10:11
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/18137

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