, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 173-188

Being Mentored: The Experience of Women Faculty

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Abstract

Mentoring has been proposed as a means to enhance the career success of women faculty in the academic environment. This phenomenological study was undertaken to understand and describe the essential nature and meaning of the experience of being mentored for women faculty. In-depth conversational interviews were conducted with nine women faculty who stated that they had been mentored while in a faculty role. Their mentoring relationships were formal and informal, with male and female mentors of varying ranks, and both internal and external to the protégés' institutions. Through an analysis of the interview text, five essential themes of the experience of being mentored for women faculty emerged. These essential themes are (a) having someone who truly cares and acts in one's best interest, (b) a feeling of connection, (c) being affirmed of one's worth, (d) not being alone, and (e) politics are part of one's experience.