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. 2013 Sep;19(3):1267-81.
doi: 10.1007/s11948-012-9366-7. Epub 2012 Jun 3.

Faculty Members' Perceptions of Advising Versus Mentoring: Does the Name Matter?


Faculty Members' Perceptions of Advising Versus Mentoring: Does the Name Matter?

Sandra L Titus et al. Sci Eng Ethics. .


The recommendations, during the past 20 years, to improve PhD scientific training and graduate school success, have focused on the significance of mentoring. It is well established that PhD students with mentors have significantly more success in graduate school as demonstrated by publishing papers before they graduate and by making presentations. Have faculty and academic institutions embraced the mentoring role? This study explores the views of 3,500 scientists who have primary responsibilities to educate PhD and MD/PhD students. Faculty members report they are more likely to prefer being viewed as advisors (54 %) than mentors (38 %). Through an examination of perceptions about specific responsibilities of advisors and mentors, faculty members provide a description of their culture and the expectations they have about themselves and others. One would expect that because mentoring requires additional time and involvement that faculty would report differences between advising and mentoring. However, faculty members perceive few differences between advisors and mentors. We examine the implications of these findings. Future scientists need to be confident their education includes the opportunity to acquire the best possible research skills. To develop advisors who have the ability to provide this training, the process begins by defining role expectations and responsibilities and preparing advisors to interact with doctoral students in ways comparable to mentors. We expect faculty members to know how to teach and how to mentor; yet, we rarely discuss how to develop and shape the necessary skills of advisors so, that they more closely resemble those of mentors.

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