Faculty mentoring is consistently noted as a key area of transformation (for individuals and institutions) and is widely accepted as critical to professional success. Formal mentoring programs are often organized the around the goal of facilitating individual career success and a common model has been to pair senior and junior faculty and assume the senior scholar has all of the answers and can guide the junior partner to success. More recent research indicates that other models might be more useful. Faculty mentoring programs must identify the needs of a diverse faculty, prioritize those needs, and then create the means to alleviate those needs.
While faculty mentoring programs (rightly) focus on supporting individual faculty, the significant under-representation of women and members of other historically marginalized groups in higher education is not primarily a problem personal choice or individual discrimination (though this is certainly prevalent), but a consequence of gendered (raced and classed) institutions and cultures. As a sociologist, I am interested in how innovative faculty mentoring programs might also might contribute to institutional change in higher education. How can we transform the institution by developing structures that help individual faculty thrive and thus literally change the ways our institutions look and encourage cultures that not only welcome, but expect diverse people?
This scholarly work combines an assessment of mentoring models and promising practices from around the world with in-depth interviews and focus groups with faculty. These conversations reveal many common needs that cross a wide range of boundaries (both individual and institutional), while exposing experiences and challenges that are more prevalent among those who are members of marginalized social groups.
Dr. Laube pays particular attention to the needs and challenges of faculty at institutions where they are expected to carry a relatively heavy teaching load while maintaining an active research agenda. She is committed to expanding programs and support for post-tenure faculty, as well as considering the sometimes unique needs of lecturers (part-time and contingent faculty).