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“Cloning” in academe: Mentorship and academic careers


Mentor professors were surveyed with respect to their most successful “protégés” regarding scholarly production, the mentorship role, and their careers. Career stage, network stratification, and weak-tie theories provided the conceptual frameworks. The 62 mentors were highly productive professors who were predominantly both graduates and employees of research universities. Mentors overwhelmingly nominated as their most successful protégés those whose careers were essentially identical to their own—i.e., their “clones.” Women mentors named as most successfully protégés more than twice as many females and males than men did. More productive mentors linked with a greater number of protégés but were less knowledgable about their personal lives, as Granovetter's theory would predict. The results also demonstrate the openness of the network within stratified levels.

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Blackburn, R.T., Chapman, D.W. & Cameron, S.M. “Cloning” in academe: Mentorship and academic careers. Res High Educ 15, 315–327 (1981).

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  • Conceptual Framework
  • Education Research
  • Personal Life
  • Academic Career
  • Career Stage