In my experinece some of the graduate level mentors lacked patience. Thesee mentors seemed to forget obtaining a graduate or terminal degree is new territory and the student is in need of a patient individual willing to clearly articulate the path that is sometimes filled with potholes. These same individuals seemed to forget someone had the patience to guide them through these uncharted waters to a safe shore that culminated in their completing their educational journey. Education should not be painful but a celebration of finding new horizons and common ground for growth beyond the existing capacity. Without the ability to exercise patience, listening, and everyday conversation the student entering the world of the advanced degree becomes frustrated and a statistic, as it relates to "dropping out" or having the infamous initials behind their name, ABD.
In as much as I think that graduate mentors lack patience, I also think that they are very expensive which is a deterrent to many learners. Given the world economic climate, many students are putting their academic goals on hold in order to meet other more urgent obligations. Graduate mentors need to assist learners to achieve their personal goals by offering several types of incentives; perhaps rather than an exorbitant fee, maybe a corroborative research effort might help both mentor and student in the long run.
I feel there is an unbalance between EQ and IQ with the mentor/mentee relationship. As scholars, I believe we are conditioned to approach our studies from the intellectual mode. We go through a rigorous learning process for 2–3 years and subsequently take a comprehensive exam to demonstrate our learned knowledge. Once we transition into the mentor/mentee relationship, the intellectual mindset guides the mentee through the process of creating new knowledge from their perspective field of study. Mentors possess the “IQ” to assist the mentee; however, the EQ connection is where I perceive the gap. The awareness, presence, openness, connectivity of the mentor and the mentee are important. Cooper & Sawaf refer to this as “emotional literacy.”This is where the mentee is able to express their true feelings about the mentor/mentee relationship or their personal struggles so they can remain focused on their studies. The dissertation is a big step for the mentee to experience and they are looking for the mentor to establish a robust relationship. If the intellectual process is utilized throughout the mentor/mentee relationship, I feel that what could be (completion of the dissertation) will be what is (ABD).
Graduate-level mentors need to consider that the basic dynamics of the mentoring process needs to encompass relationship building, development of trust, and have clear expectations for participation. The graduate-level organizational mentors have to understand the importance of having short and long-term outcome goals, and success indicators that embrace the goals of the organization. Graduate-level mentors need to be cognizant of diversity issues and take notice of the military personnel who tend to be good mentors because soldiers understand group dynamics. Graduate level mentors need to help the protégé by being a good listener helping the protégé focus on and meeting the pre-established goals.
My Graduate-level Mentors have mostly been very helpful to me in my challenges in on-line learning. I don't think I have has as many problems about patience that other students have mentioned, but I have had problem with response time. E-mail has been critical to my and my profession for the last 15 years. I even experimented with e-mail on CompuServe in the early 1980s and had my own BBS site before the Internet was made public by the U.S. government in 1992 (with no service easily available until 1994). Why take three days to respond to a student? The mentor for this class responds immediately and almost all of us use it at work every day. To have a mentor with a blog is another excellent communication tool. In the last few years have taken a few classes at other universities and they have students from around the world interact each week. That would be a nice feature if we could do it in the NCU system and it would be helpful in addition to our monthly telephone conferences. Working on the dissertation is the first time I have done any direct communication with NCU students. It is obvious that NCU continues to make changes to improve our online education and more direct communication with other students around the world would be an interesting addition to our learning procedure.
Graduate mentors should keep in mind the importance of relationship building and effectively communicating with learners, in addition having patiences is also crucial. Other thoughts that come to mind is the importance of graudate mentors being examples for their proteges.
Graduate mentors need to more explicit in detailing their responsibilities to their mentees. I personally feel that when choosing a graduate mentor in an online program, the college/university should give mentor/mentee mixers during the year. The dissertation,which becomes a piece of the students requires a mentor who not only shares that passion but has a compatible demeanor to the student. Similar to having the right boss ... the ones that realizes your potential and steers you down the best path.
Graduate mentors lack a personal, profession relationship with their mentees. As an educator in a traditional classroom, it is often important to have a positive, personal relationship with my students. The personal relationship allows the educator to recognize the strenghths andweaknesses of the students in order to help them to grow.
In the online environment I feel that individuals with graduate degrees have a great deal of patience as many have acquired his or her degrees in various capacities. Mentoring in the online capacity takes great skill, emotional patience, and lots of knowledge (research). It does not matter how one obtains a degree, it matters how one thinks outside-the-box. Obtaining a degree in the online environment is not knew and the barriers have to fall for many individuals to accept this format and realize the a great deal of individuals mentor through the online environment, communicate through the online forum, and use social networking.
I believe graduate online mentors lack that personal commitment for success (dissertation completion) when there is not a face-to-face or some type of personal contact (Skype). I also question as to what point the mentor see the mentee as ABD and what measure are taken. It would be interesting to see a study from both perspectives of both mentor and mentee. As for me (mentee), I feel lost and every once in a while I get a glimpse of the path I am to follow. I just wonder am I already a stat to my mentor as ABD or was I always ABD in his mind.
I like the expertise and knowledge a doctoral mentor can offer. A mentor-mentee relationship is powerful when it is a good fit. Like a parent-child relationship, mentors guide, provide knowledge, correct, and provide for the growth, intelligence, and needs (information wise) of a mentee. The mentee in return looks to the mentor for all those things I just described and they both learn from each other. Awesome! But in my experience in having a mentor, I had often questioned the availability of the mentor. My mentor’s time was limited and she had other mentees to deal with. Sometimes she was short and impatience with my in-depth questions, and there were times I had to wait days before receiving an answer from her. I personally think mentors should be severely limited to the number of mentees they can take on, like no more than 2 or 3. What made it worse was the time difference we had living in different states. The time difference only exacerbated the situation because I worked during the day and by nightfall, she was in bed. On the weekends, I could never catch her. Most of the time, I felt like I was just shooting at the wind. I have even heard mentors say they don’t want a mentee who is needy or always asking questions. Hummm! It’s a process that need major tweeking.
It is my belief that Graduate-level Mentors lack the ability to guide their mentees’ careers. Graduate-level mentees need mentors who can guide them in a purposeful but unobtrusive way and most of all with vision. My personal experience with Graduate-level Mentorship was that there was a lack of strong time commitment, availability of proper duration and quality and flexible in frequency of meetings. Mentees needs and appreciate frequent and regular contact with their mentors, as it provides motivation during times of struggle and uncertainty.
In my experience Graduate-level mentors lack the ability to explain the dissertation process to their mentees. Mentees often need guidance in the right direction and the mentor lack the skills to do so. The mentors relationship and patience is invaluable during this stressful time. If the mentor is not able to answer the mentees question it would be helpful to have some references to share with the mentees. These references may be the guidance that will help to guide the mentees. Mentors with a broad range of experience and those who continue to expand and their knowledge are most helpful.
Transformation of the world by graduate-level academic mentors into a nation of learners implies a system or network devoted to learning. The network’s scope would have to extend beyond institutional and geographical boundaries to encompass the world. Although online mentors would likely have the technical skills necessary to build a world-wide network of learners, perhaps they lack the vision to transform the world and are not inspired to build relationships beyond contacts who they are directly involved with. It might also be that academic mentors have so many responsibilities within their institutions and personal lives that they are unable to make time to develop and sustain a network of learners. In my experience, online academic mentors did not build strong relationships either because this was their choice or they lacked interpersonal and communication skills to do so.
Mentoring in the online capacity takes great skill, emotional patience, and lots of knowledge (research). It does not matter how one obtains a degree, it matters. I feel that in online environment, an individuals with graduate degrees have a great deal of patience as many have acquired his or her degrees in various capacities