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Thursday, June 18 • 3:45pm - 4:15pm
CON08.05 - Examining the role of friendship in mentoring relationships between faculty advisors and graduate students

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There is considerable disagreement among authors regarding the critical functions employed by faculty advisors in the effective mentoring of graduate students. Some of this ambiguity relates to the dubious role of ‘friendship’ in these mentoring relationships. Kram’s (1988) seminal research, which was conducted in a business setting, but has been widely (and perhaps blindly) adopted within academia, identified friendship as being an important psychosocial function of mentoring. However, Johnson (2008), among others, has questioned the possible incompatibility of faculty mentors serving as friends while maintaining their roles as objective evaluators of their students’ work. In a recent study examining mentoring between faculty advisors and graduate students, Beres and Dixon (2014) found elements of mutual respect and collegiality, which may be precursors to friendship. For example, these authors found that mentors treated protégés like equals, downplaying the power and status differences between them. Despite these insights, and given the retrospective nature of their study, it remains unclear whether friendship was present at the start of the mentoring relationships, whether it developed during the students’ journey through graduate school, whether it developed after the active mentoring relationships had ended, or if it developed at all. Following a discussion of the existing literature regarding the tenuous role of friendship within mentoring relationships between faculty advisors and graduate students, we will engage participants in individual and group activities that will foster a deeper exploration of this topic, while helping participants (re-)consider the possible role of friendship in their past, present, and future mentoring relationships.

Beres, J. L., & Dixon, J. C. (2014). Exploring mentoring functions within the sport management academy: Perspectives of mentors and protégés. Sport Management Education Journal, 8, 14-26. doi:10.1123/SMEJ.2012-0007

Johnson, W. B. (2008). Are advocacy, mutuality, and evaluation incompatible mentoring functions? Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 16, 31–44. doi:10.1080/13611260701800942

Kram, K. E. (1988). Mentoring at work: Developmental relationships in organizational life. Boston, MA: University Press of America.

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:45pm - 4:15pm PDT
Seymour Room

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