Benefits and Definitions

What is mentorship?

As various definitions and practices exist, mentoring is a fuzzy concept. The ScotELAs Mentoring Scheme embraces the themes of reflection, sharing and helping in non-judgmental ways, and adopt the following definition: 

A mentor is anyone who provides guidance, support, knowledge, and opportunities for whatever period the mentor and protégé deem this help to be necessary.

(Burlew, 1991, p. 214)

In the context of learning development, in supporting mentees in their acculturation to the role, mentors will help mentees to develop best learning and teaching practice, promote reflection, and deal with specific challenges.

Benefits of mentorship

The benefits of mentoring are well documented and highlight the value of peer relationships in allowing mentees to experience a ‘feel equal’ factor (Blackwell & McLean, 1996) and enhanced confidence and self-esteem (Lieberman & Miller, 2000). As indicated below, the benefits of mentoring are not exclusive to mentees; mentors have much to gain too, including the enhancement of interpersonal, leadership and pedagogic skills that can be applied to other contexts (Morton, 2003).

Mentee benefits

Mentor benefits

Develops leadership skills

Enhances learning and teaching practice, and professional development

Expands mentee’s professional network

Enhances interpersonal skills

Increases job satisfaction and effectiveness

Provides sense of satisfaction associated with ‘giving back’

Increases perspective and knowledge

Enhances context-specific teaching skills

Increases self-awareness

Increases self-awareness

Types of Mentorship

Two pathways to recognition: Role-focused and Expertise-focused

Role-focused

  • For colleagues new to learning development

  • Enhances growing into the role

  • Supports development of emerging expertise

  • Supports reflection on own and best practice

  • Provides feedback on own practice where desired

Expertise-focused

  • For colleagues at any stage of their career

  • Develops knowledge and skills in specific areas, e.g. research skills, EAP, pedagogies for specific discipline contexts, digital literacy skills, working with specific student groups

  • Area chosen according to expertise of mentor and area of interest of mentee

Role-focused

Expertise-focused