Research highlights the role of mentors for students in higher education

Mangione, L., Borden, K. A., Nadkarni, L., Evarts, K., & Hyde, K. (2018). Mentoring in clinical psychology programs: Broadening and deepening. Training And Education In Professional Psychology, 12(1), 4-13. doi:10.1037/tep0000167

Summarized by Cyanea Poon

Notes of Note: Academic mentors shaped the academic experiences of graduate students. This article specifically explored the role of mentors in clinical psychology programs, especially in understanding the role of the mentoring relationship via the students’ perspective. It is worthy to note that while some participants indicate a single mentor, others mentioned receiving guidance from multiple mentoring relationships in their academic pursuit. This suggest that broadening of graduate student support as they sought out mentors in their graduate studies.

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

Mentoring has received much attention in the research and training literature for several years and has been increasingly described as important in the teaching and training enterprise. Questions about the definition of mentoring, where it does and does not take place, its association with different psychology training models, and the growing diversity of graduate students who may have different mentoring needs than previous cohorts, have all been addressed in the literature and inform this study. This exploratory research adds to the understanding of mentoring by gathering data from current more culturally diverse mentees from scientist–practitioner and practitioner–scholar training programs in psychology. A survey was sent to graduate programs, and responses from 290 participants were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Mentors were highly valued by mentees, even though they defined and described mentors in a variety of ways. There was little to no difference depending on one’s training model, and several respondents discussed the needs of culturally diverse students. Mentees often mentioned 2 broad categories as critical to mentoring: pragmatic support, such as help managing graduate school and finding jobs, and emotional support. Overall, aspects of the relationship competency seemed to be the foundation for all mentoring activities for many of the participants.

Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)

Mentoring continues to be a valued aspect of the experience of clinical psychology graduate students. Our data demonstrate that students value a supportive relationship with mentors serving different roles (supervisor, advisor, etc.), and find the relationship particularly helpful when it involves mutual respect and genuine caring about both personal and professional development. However, there is probably a range of ways to be a true mentor, and to be mentored well as a student, such that those in positions to mentor students might want to become more intentional and aware of cultivating such relationships that fit the range of students in clinical psychology.

To access this article, click here.