Research suggests that small mentoring groups (rather than 1:1 relationships in which one person is the “expert”) can be powerful and effective for professionals like faculty, especially when members of these groups set their own goals. This approach has been coined “mutual mentoring.”
CATL’s mutual mentoring program is open to full-time faculty. If you volunteer to be part of a mutual mentoring group, you and 2-3 faculty colleagues will meet together roughly four times each semester, with meeting times established by group members. During each of those meetings, every participant will identify a specific goal or issue which she or he wants to discuss with the group. Other group members serve as mentors by listening, asking questions, and offering either support or challenge, as appropriate, to help each person achieve her or his goals. (See the following document for more details of how the groups work.)
Each group will have access to a small budget for the academic year to use as they see fit to cover expenses of food or coffee for group meetings or to purchase items related to the group’s professional development goals (such as books or a shared webinar) for group members.
Occasionally, CATL facilitates mutual mentoring groups or communities of practice around a specific teaching or learning topic of interest. These communities are composed of people who share a common interest and who convene to exchange and expand their knowledge, promote learning, and solve problems together. Unlike committees or task groups, communities of practice are fairly informal, non-hierarchical, and are open to interested people at all levels of knowledge and expertise from novice to expert.