Mentoring: Some ethical considerations
Cite this article as: Weil, V. SCI ENG ETHICS (2001) 7: 471. doi:10.1007/s11948-001-0004-z Abstract
To counter confusion about the term ‘mentor’, and address concerns about the scarcity of mentoring, I argue for an “honorific” definition, according to which a mentor is virtuous like a saint or hero. Given the unbounded commitment of mentors, mentoring relationships must be voluntary. In contrast, the role of advisor can be specified, mandated, and monitored. I argue that departments and research groups have a moral responsibility to devise a system of roles and structures to meet graduate students’ and postdoctoral fellows’ needs for information and advice.
Keywords mentor advisor role model voluntary ethical duty collective responsibility department research group laxity scarcity transmission ethical standards
An earlier version of this paper was presented at a conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation on Mentoring and Research Values: Students as Vital Human Resources, Chicago, March 1995.
Swazey, J.P & Anderson, M.S. (1996) Mentors, advisors, and role models in graduate and professional education. Association of Academic Health Centers, Washington, D.C.
Barondess, J.A. (1995) A brief history of mentoring (President’s Address).
Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association
, 106. 1–24.
Stern, J.E. & Elliott, D. (1997)
The ethics of scientific research: A guidebook for course development
, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH.
Vance, C. (1982) The mentor connection,
Journal of Nursing Administration
Fried, Charles. (1976) The lawyer as friend: The moral foundations of the lawyer/client relation.
Yale Law Journal
CrossRef Google Scholar
Darling, L.A. (1986) What To Do About Toxic Mentors,
CrossRef Google Scholar
Weil, V. & Arzbaecher, R. (1995) Ethics and relationships in laboratories and research communities.
Anderson, M.S., Louis, K.S., and Earle, J. (1994) Disciplinary and departmental effects on observations of faculty and graduate student misconduct,
The Journal of Higher Education, 65 (3).
Broome, Taft H. (1996) The heroic mentorship,
Djerassi, Carl. (1991) Mentoring: A cure for science bashing?
Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), November 25, 30–33.
Swazey, J.P. (1993) Teaching research ethics: needs, opportunities, and barriers in graduate programs. Paper presented at meeting of NSF Consortium Project: The production of educational modules for the teaching of research ethics, Lake Bluff, Il.
Buchanan, A. (1996) Perfecting imperfect duties: collective action to create moral obligations.
Business Ethics Quarterly
Henderson, J. & Welch, O.M (1993) Mentoring in higher education and industry: Is there a paradox? Paper presented at American Education Research Association, Atlanta, GA.
© Opragen Publications 2001