The PSA mentorship program aims to connect students (mentees) with advanced doctoral students, faculty, or applied sociologists as mentors. To participate in the program, both mentees and mentors need to be current members of PSA. Mentor/mentee pairs are generally expected to have contact at least once a month, in a form agreed upon (like email, video chat, etc.), for at least one year or until the goals set for the relationship have been met.
Matching of mentors and mentees
Matching considers a variety of factors, based on information provided by both parties. Mentees indicate what they are seeking from a mentoring relationship, while mentors indicate what they can provide to mentees. Both are asked to give information that will assist in matching on areas of personal experience and identity, if this is desired by the mentee and welcomed by the mentor.
To support good matching, it may take some time after a mentee’s application for them to be paired up with a mentor. PSA will work to make the pairing as quickly as possible. Once a pair is matched, they will be introduced and contact information shared.
What does being a mentor involve?
A mentor needs to be committed to the time and energy to share with a mentee. The mentor is asked to make the first contact and take the lead in ensuring the mentoring work continues. The mentor and mentee together should establish goals and timelines for their relationship early in the process, and then review and adjust these goals as time goes on. The mentor needs to be mindful both of what they are ready and able to offer as well as what the mentee is seeking. Mentors are encouraged to engage in self-reflection, to be cognizant of their place within the politics and power structure of the academy and society, and apply this awareness in their relationships with mentees. Although the focus of a mentoring relationship is to support the mentee’s growth, mentors also have much to gain, including an increased understanding of the lives of students that can make them a better teacher, and the experience of being part of building the future. Mentors who identify as white are encouraged to read Marisela Martinez-Cola’s (of Utah State University) recent piece, “Collectors, Nightlights, and Allies, Oh My! White Mentors in the Academy”.
What does being a mentee involve?
Mentees need to be reflective and discuss with their mentor their goals for the relationship—because that is what it is all about! Mentors will ask about mentees’ progress in areas the pair has discussed; one of the valuable parts of a mentoring relationship is to have someone checking in and holding you accountable. To accomplish this, the mentee needs to keep all appointments and respond to communication from the mentor—even when the mentee may be struggling to make progress on agreed upon goals. Mentees should also understand that a mentor cannot provide everything so we recommend having more than one mentor for your professional development.
How is PSA involved?
PSA will check in with mentor/mentee pairs about four months into their working relationship to see how things are going, and then again at about one year to gather information on the success of the relationship. If at any time something is not working well for a mentor or mentee, they are encouraged to contact PSA for problem-solving or to be matched anew.
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