Sunday, February 27, 2005

Choosing a Great Mentor

Last night I gave a very well attended floor program in Letts 4S on Choosing a Great Mentor. We began by talking about great mentors we had found. Several students (they were mostly freshmen and sophomores) had found great mentors in high school. They were caring considerate teachers who related to them as whole human beings. None had yet found a mentor at AU and they were puzzled about how do this. Several told stories of faculty whom they had tried to approach, but who seemed inconsiderate or uncaring.

Its late as I write this so here is a very brief synopsis of my advice. Stop during my office hours, now held in 101 Anderson from 6:00 until 9:00 for more (but I have an appointment with a student from 8 to 9).

1. To find a great mentor, be a great mentee (that may not be a word but you get the point). Be an interesting, interested individual that a professor would want to mentor.

2. Make finding a mentor a priority – a goal – and don’t give up until you have attained it. The great mentors are out their, but don’t expect them to drop into your lap.

3. To get to know a professor who you might want as a potential mentor, find out about her or his research – by reading one of their books or articles – and seeking out a discussion about that. (Students who approach me wanting to talk about Sri Lanka, Global Modeling or the relationship between conflict and development will find a very receptive potential mentor in my office or apartment).

I have been blessed with a number of great mentors. I have all of their pictures framed in my office. In another blog, I’ll tell you about them.

I made plans to hang out with my daughter in Florida at the end of Spring break (and celebrate my birthday). This is always great fun.


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