Mentoring circles in higher education

Darwin, A. & Palmer, E. (2009). Mentoring circles in higher education.  Higher Education Research &Development, 28(2), 125-136.

This article discussed a different model of mentoring than typical dyadic relationships between more senior staff and junior staff. Mentoring circles were described where one or two senior academics mentor a group of less experienced academics, or where peers mentor one another in a group. This study involved a trial of mentoring circles at The University of South Australia and followed the development of three circles. Before the circles began academics perceived that career development would be the biggest benefit, whereas after the trial ended they reported that interacting with others and sharing experiences was the most beneficial aspect. Post-circle comments indicated that participation had helped to break down feelings of isolation from colleagues. Factors useful to supporting mentoring circles were identified in the article, including adequate time, a non-competitive atmosphere, a list of themes to discuss, and a source of information. Cross-faculty circles were considered to be most beneficial and additional incentives such as the involvement of senior staff and career advancement opportunities were considered desirable.

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