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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.54 – Mentoring and Research Assistantships: Stories of Professional Growth

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In this session, we report on our application of the Adaptive Mentorship© model (Ralph & Walker, 2010; 2011) to encourage a mentoring culture to facilitate the professional growth of each of us (research assistants (RAs) and faculty) whilst undertaking a collaborative research project.

The interaction between faculty and graduate students are potentially critical in a student’s educational and professional development (Girves & Wemmerus, 1988). RAships can benefit the graduate students through developing their research skills and gaining a publication record. Equally important is the potential for faculty to receive support for their research projects (Pearson & Brew, 2002). Scholars agree that meaningful research training includes opportunities to connect content of research courses with research practice (Anderson, 2003; Piercy et al., 2005). Therefore, seeking ways to provide graduate students with an RAship to develop their research skills through appropriate support has significant potential benefit.

Participatory action research (Patton, 2002) facilitated our study in three main ways: first, we examined our individual contributions to the research project; second, we considered how we supported each other to complete the research project; and, third, we reflected on how using the Adaptive Mentorship© model stimulated improved interaction and achievement within our triad. The faculty member acted as mentor for both students (the protégés), and the doctoral student acted as mentor for the master’s student.

The application of the Adaptive Mentorship© model was a valuable tool for supporting the social, competence-based, and experiential needs of the students. We used the Adaptive Mentorship© model in a multiple mentoring structure to address the three distinct levels of experience. Our findings show how the application of the model to graduate RAships with multiple participants might lead to enhancement of the working environment and professional growth due to multiple contact-points and exposures to specific tasks or skill-sets around which the work is organized. We recommend that the model should be further refined and applied in shared and or co-mentoring situations so that such benefits to mentor’s development can be further exploited.



Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm
A339 McArthur Hall