Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Robert W. Hendersen, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA


How can seasoned faculty members share their experience in ways that help new faculty members develop confidence, good judgment, and problem-solving skills? One approach to mentoring is for experienced faculty members to provide illustrative vignettes that describe, in some detail, particular challenges they have faced, then to hold discussions in which new faculty members consider how they would approach such challenges. Such vignettes can alert new faculty members to some of the shoals they may have to navigate in the early years of their careers. Discussing the vignettes gives new faculty members a sense of how they can use their training and judgment to deal with unexpected challenges. These discussions also provide an opportunity to show new faculty members that, far from being alone, they are part of a social network that provides considerable support when challenges arise. Similarly, new faculty members can learn, through such discussions, how various are the ways to achieve teaching effectiveness, and this can encourage faculty members to develop their own, distinctive approach. Such problem-based mentoring can reassure new faculty members that they have the skills, as well as the institutional support, to handle thoughtfully and responsibly the range of challenges that faculty members may face in their first years of teaching.

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© 2008 Victor Karandashev