Running Head: MENTORING BY DISCIPLINE MENTORING BY DISCIPLINE: A MOTIVATION PERSPECTIVE ON “NON-INTRUSIVE” FACULTY MENTORING PRACTICES Vicente M. Lechuga Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration Texas A&M University 562 Harrington College Station, TX 77843-4226 email@example.com (979) 219-9697 Mentoring by Discipline 1 ABSTRACT Scholars have offered numerous approaches and best practices for mentoring faculty, many of which have provided valuable insight into the complex nature of the mentoring process. Yet, little attention has been paid to how faculty mentoring can influence intrinsic motivation. Through a series of 15 interviews with faculty members from various STEM disciplines – including mathematics, engineering, and life science – coupled with the use of the motivation framework of self-determination theory, the author argues that the manner in which faculty are mentored and socialized into their respective disciplinary norms influences their intrinsic motivation to engage in scholarly work. The author highlights three themes that speak to the notion of “non-intrusive” mentoring practices that can help foster and sustain motivation; each theme demonstrates how particular forms of mentoring can influence an individual’s sense of intrinsic motivation. Findings imply that we ought not overlook how disciplinary norms affect faculty mentoring and motivation. Keywords: Faculty, mentoring, motivation, STEM, higher education Mentoring by Discipline 2 MENTORING BY DISCIPLINE: A MOTIVATION PERSPECTIVE ON “NON-INTRUSIVE” FACULTY MENTORING PRACTICES Faculty mentoring is a complex and multifaceted process that plays a critical role in fostering the success and retention of faculty (Blackwell, 1989; Boice, 1993; Stanley, 2006; Stanley & Lincoln, 2005; Tillman, 2001; Turner, 2002). Research has attempted to outline the various components of successful mentoring, in general, and faculty mentoring, specifically (Holland, 1998; Kram, 1985; Welch, 1996). Yet, as Stanley (2006) asserts, “more work needs to be done to ascertain the nature and effectiveness of mentoring relationships” (p. 705). For example, research on faculty mentoring has yet to examine the extent to which mentoring can foster or infringe upon one’s motivation to engage in work activities. In what follows, I discuss findings from a pilot study that sought to understand the research motivation of 15 underrepresented faculty members in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This article, however, will focus specifically on participant’s perspectives of faculty mentoring, its purpose and function, and the extent to which it should play a role in fostering the success of faculty. In using self-determination theory (SDT) and research on faculty mentoring as a conceptual framework, I take the perspective that faculty members are learners and mentoring is a learning process that socializes faculty into their respective disciplinary norms. One caveat: my point is neither to present findings as generalizable across the numerous STEM-designated fields, nor to suggest that the perspectives of faculty participants are emblematic of all or even most faculty regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, etc. Rather, my goal is to offer an alternative method of exploring faculty mentoring practices by demonstrating how mentoring can be examined from a motivation perspective. I begin by providing a brief overview of the mentoring literature, focusing specifically on issues pertaining to faculty mentoring. I discuss the motivational framework from which data were gathered and analyzed before outlining the qualitative methodology and research design for this study. Data are organized by category and reflect three major areas of importance: 1) Mentoring by Discipline 3 Carving one’s path, 2) Establishing professional identity, and 3) Negotiating independence. I offer an analysis of the findings from a self-determination perspective to demonstrate the significance of exploring faculty mentoring from a motivation lens before discussing the study implications, arguing for a more fluid approach to mentoring practices that take into account disciplinary norms and practices. Faculty Mentoring Education scholars have offered numerous definitions of mentoring; however, space limitations do not allow for a thorough examination of this body of literature. What is clear is that no single comprehensive definition of mentoring exists. This is not to say that mentoring has not been thoroughly defined; rather, the term has numerous definitions, making it difficult to identify the primary roles and responsibilities of the mentor and mentee. Moore and Amey (1988) define mentoring as a form of professional socialization whereby an experienced individual serves as a guide and role model to a less experienced organizational member for the purposes of developing their skills, abilities, and cultural understanding of the institution. Hill, Bahnuik, and Dobos (1989) focus on the communication aspects of the relationship. Stanley and Lincoln (2005) argue that mentoring is a relationship “characterized by trust, honesty, and a willingness to learn about self and others, and the ability to share power and privilege” (p. 46). Whereas Tillman (2001) provides numerous characteristics that define faculty mentoring stating, Mentoring has been described as a process within a contextual setting; a relationship between a more knowledgeable individual and a less experienced individual; a means for professional networking, and sponsoring; a developmental mechanism (personal, professional, and psychological); a socialization and reciprocal relationship; and the opportunity for identity transformation for both the mentor and the protégé (p. 296). The overarching goal of faculty mentoring is to help ensure a faculty member’s current and future success; yet, the means by which to accomplish this task varies. Some view mentoring as a career development process (Holland, 1998) in which a mentor provides training, stimulates Mentoring by Discipline 4 the acquisition of knowledge, and socializes their mentee into the norms, values, expectations, and culture of academe. This process can take place over a number of months or years. Others suggest that the mentoring process varies depending on the type of mentoring relationship, e.g., formal vs. informal mentoring (Tierney & Bensimon, 1996). Nakamura and Shernoff (2009) discuss how the mentoring literature has described the tasks of the prototypical mentor stating, “the ideal mentor [is] someone who serves as advisor, sponsor, host, exemplar, and guide for a relative novice who is moving from dependence and inexperience to independence and proficiency” (p. 2). More recently, scholars have discussed the importance of mentoring underrepresented faculty members to improve their retention and success, and have suggested including additional mentoring components such as providing additional emotional support and decreasing feelings of isolation, among others (Padilla, 1994; Stanley, 2006; Turner, 2002; Verdugo, 1995). Although my purpose is to focus on faculty mentoring in general, it is important to acknowledge that underrepresented faculty face certain barriers to success of which mentoring can assist. As Tillman (2001) asserts, productive mentor-protégé relationships accrue benefits for underrepresented faculty protégé’s, including higher publication rates, greater research collaboration, and support for promotion and tenure. What has yet to be explored is the extent to which mentoring can be either a benefit or hindrance to one’s intrinsic motivation. To extend our understanding of the influence that faculty mentoring has on motivation, I offer data from a pilot study that examined the research motivation of 15 faculty members, utilizing self-determination theory (SDT) as a motivation framework. For the purposes of our discussion here, I focus on the motivational aspects of faculty mentoring and define mentoring as a process where an experienced faculty member serves as a guide to an individual with lesser experience for the purposes of the socializing them into disciplinary norms, fostering their acquisition of institutional and scholarly knowledge, providing professional opportunities, and personal and/or professional support. Mentoring by Discipline 5 Self-Determination Theory Edward Deci and Richard Ryan developed and later expanded upon self-determination theory (1985; 2000), a motivation framework that focuses on factors that contribute to individual’s sense of intrinsic motivation and self-regulation. SDT emphasizes how social settings can promote an individual’s intrinsic motivation when three basic individual needs are met – the need for competence, autonomy and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Competence refers to an individual’s need to feel efficacious or accomplished, autonomy refers to an individual’s need to feel as if his or her behaviors and actions are derived from the “self” rather than by means of coercion or other external forces, and relatedness focuses on the need to feel connected to others in a given social context. The goal of utilizing SDT as a theoretical framework is to formulate an understanding of how mentoring can maximize a faculty member’s intrinsic motivation to engage in their work activities with minimal need for extrinsic rewards. SDT is premised on the notion that when an individual’s actions and behaviors are internally determined rather than externally “coerced”, they will be intrinsically motivated to engage in activities at optimal levels (Deci & Ryan, 2000). A central feature of self-determination theory is the notion that an individual’s basic psychological needs are met when they perceive them as being met, regardless of any external motivators or forces that may be present. An individual’s perceived locus of causality (PLOC) influences intrinsic motivation, and the location (i.e. locus) from which an individual’s actions and behaviors are derived – either internally (determined by the self) or externally (determined by external forces) – affects their perceived level of intrinsic motivation. Deci (1975) asserts that, “intrinsically motivated behavior represents the prototype of self-determined activities. Such activities have…an internal perceived locus of causality” (p. 234). Said differently, when behavior is determined by the “self” actions are intrinsically motivated in that individuals engage in a given activity without the need for external prods, promises, or threats. However, when extrinsic motivators are introduced as rewards for engaging in intrinsically rewarding activities, external rewards shift an individual’s intrinsic locus of causality to one that is Mentoring by Discipline 6 externally controlled resulting in individuals feeling less intrinsically motivated (Lepper, Greene, & Nisbett, 1973). Arguably, mentoring can be considered an activity in which a perceived locus of causality, from the perspective of the mentee, is external, given that member(s) of an organization can influence a mentee’s actions, behaviors, and developmental processes. In other words, mentoring can partially be viewed as an externally imposed practice that socializes or “compels” a mentee to understand and accept the norms of their socializing group or risk being denied permanent entry (i.e. tenure). In viewing the issues of mentoring through a selfdetermination lens, one can begin to understand the importance of fostering an individual’s success through a mentoring (external) process that does not infringe upon their (internal) need for autonomy. Research has demonstrated that an enhanced sense of internal PLOC positively enhances intrinsic motivation and influences one’s perceived competency in their performance (Tafarodi, Milne, & Smith, 1999). Conversely, an individual’s intrinsic motivation is undermined when PLOC is externally located, which infringes on one’s need for autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000). One can argue that the intended outcomes of self-determined behavior for faculty members – feeling connected to others, functioning autonomously and effectively, developing a reputation for excellent scholarship – resemble many of the outcomes that faculty mentoring also aims to achieve. Thus, viewing the role of mentoring through a self-determination framework allows for an understanding of how mentors can achieve a proper balance between ensuring that a mentee’s basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are being met while aiding in their career development. Because self-determination focuses on meeting individual needs, it provides a multi-faceted approach to explore the relationship between an individual’s motivation, their self-determination needs, and the amount (and type) of mentoring that is required to foster their success. Mentoring by Discipline 7 Methods Data for this article were drawn from a qualitative study that utilized a constructivist paradigm of naturalistic inquiry. The intent of the study was to explore the motivation of underrepresented faculty members to engage in research activities within the STEM fields. Findings related to research motivation have been highlighted elsewhere (Author, under review). Data presented here focus on motivational aspects of participants’ current and/or previous mentoring experiences. I chose to highlight mentoring practices because, during our interviews, it became clear that participants’ shared similar narratives with regard to faculty mentoring. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews that ranged in length between 50-90 minutes, with the majority lasting about an hour. Interviews were chosen because of the fluid nature of the study, which allowed for variations in participants’ responses and researcher probes regarding areas related to motivation and faculty work (Patton, 1990). Potential participants were identified using publicly available information on university/department websites. A total of 53 emails were sent to faculty members in engineering, life science, and mathematics departments at one public research university in the southwestern U.S. Of the 21 faculty members who responded, 15 participated in this study, with disciplinary specialties either in engineering, mathematics, or biology. Table 1 provides a breakdown of faculty by rank, discipline, and/or sub-discipline. Table 1. Distribution of Faculty Participants by Discipline and Rank Number of Participants 1 4 2 1 2 1 1 Discipline Aerospace Engineering Biological Science Chemical Engineering Civil Engineering Electrical Engineering Engineering Technology Industrial & Systems Engineering Rank Assistant 1 1 1 1 - Associate 1 3 1 - Full 2 1 Mentoring by Discipline 8 1 2 Total – 15 Mathematics Mechanical Engineering 1 5 5 1 1 5 The university was chosen for primarily for two reasons. First, the institution is a member of the Association of American Universities, a 63-member association of the top research universities in the U.S. and Canada, and second, the university’s programs from which faculty were drawn consistently ranked in the top 20 among public universities (see Table 2). Most recently, the College of Engineering was ranked among the top 10 in the 2010 U.S. News & World. Table 2. List of Participating Departments and their National Rankings among Public Universities Program Area Biological Science Aerospace Engineering Civil Engineering Industrial & Systems Engineering Mechanical Engineering Chemical Engineering Electrical Engineering Mathematics National Ranking (among Public Universities) Top 5* (among all U.S. institutions) Top 5 Top 10 Top 10 Top 10 Top 20 Top 20 Top 25 Source: U.S. News and World Report, 2009 except *Source: Chronicle of Higher Education- rankings of specific program areas by tenure/tenure-track faculty publication rates. Participants interviewed belong to that program area(s). Interviews were audio taped and subsequently transcribed for analysis. Protocol questions focused on understanding the ways in which faculty participants fulfilled their three basic psychological needs required to feel self-determined and intrinsically motivated. Subsequent communication took place either by email or by telephone when clarification of data was needed or additional probing was necessary. Data were subjected to a line-by-line analysis and were initially coded based on broad concepts and experiences participants discussed. I analyzed data within these initial coding groups to develop multiple sub-codes and categories. After sorting and reorganizing sub-coded data, I focused on refining codes and categories before “reassembling” data into broader themes (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). For example, participants referred to the need for autonomy within such categories as “innovative research”, Mentoring by Discipline 9 “independent researcher”, and “research competence”. Thus, the categories were collapsed into a theme labeled “Importance of Autonomy”. I used the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) during the analysis phase, in which data were continually analyzed and compared to one another, and categories were integrated in numerous ways to offer the researcher multiple perspectives from which to make meaning of the data. I ensured credibility and trustworthiness of data by reviewing multiple data sources, evaluating data across interviews, logging ideas subsequent to each interview, and rechecking data with participants during and after the interview period (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). This reassured that data were not misread or misinterpreted (Merriam, 1998). Moreover, this triangulation process allowed me to “examine conclusions (assertions, claims, etc.) from more than one vantage point” (Schwandt, 2001, p. 257) and to ensure that findings were “worth paying attention to” (Guba & Lincoln, 1989, p. 290). Findings In presenting findings from the study, I examine three important areas of the mentoring process, as described by participants, which specifically pertain to the conditions that allowed participants to display their scholarly abilities while maintaining their independence. Data were grouped into three themes: 1) Carving one’s path, 2) Establishing professional identity, and 3) Negotiating independence. What follows is an examination of each area. Carving One’s Path An important theme frequently discussed by participants is best expressed by the phrase “let them figure it out”. Tenured and untenured participants expressed the delicate balance between mentoring faculty and facilitating them. Some faculty members were quite clear about their approach to mentoring. For instance, a [full] professor in chemical engineering explained that, “Some departments consider that mentoring is an important component. I am okay with mentoring, but not extensive mentoring because I consider that the individual has to Mentoring by Discipline 10 become independent, and independent of anyone.” She explained that one aspect of mentoring included providing practical advice such as how to set up a computer account and, Those things, or other things like, let’s say, choosing health insurance and things like that, but not [about] their research. Let them do their research in their own way….In my opinion, we have to leave him or her alone. An associate professor of biology illustrated this point by explaining that when a new tenuretrack faculty member is hired, You’re given a big pot of money to start up your lab and for the most part they say, “In five years show us what you’ve got and if you impress us, you can be one of us. [If] you don’t impress us, you need to go somewhere else.” It’s like they support you, like they don’t stand in your way. Untenured faculty participants expressed similar sentiments. An assistant professor of civil engineering, for example, discussed his department’s approach to mentoring junior faculty. You are completely autonomous in your research in the department. The only thing the department does is give you the resources, and then it’s up to you. Everything else is up to you, and that’s the way it should be. He further explained that he was happy with the wide boundaries set by his department in that, “You can do whatever you want. You are completely autonomous in your research in the department.” He discussed how his department was “not really interested in getting involved at all…they are expecting you to have a research problem…and to be successful in your research area, and that is the only thing they care about.” A biology professor provided an alternate perspective of the amount of autonomy given to junior faculty. He explained how assistant Mentoring by Discipline 11 professors try not to seek assistance from senior faculty about their research because such acts might be viewed as a display of ineptness by others. There is no way an assistant professor would open himself up or herself to them…one of the requirements of an assistant professor is to develop individuality and in the process of doing that, an assistant professor’s mind is oriented towards being independent. Tenured and untenured respondents seemed to understand the rationale behind creating broad boundaries and viewed them as vital to the mentoring process, even while acknowledging potential detriments. When asked about the amount of professional autonomy his department gave him, a biology professor jokingly stated, “I’ll put it this way. They give me enough rope to hang myself four times over.” Establishing Professional Identity The amount of professional autonomy provided to faculty came with a great deal of responsibility. Faculty often spoke about the need to explore areas of research that were different from what they had conducted as doctoral and postdoctoral students. Individuals who are unable to do so will eventually be thought of as inadequate. “If you stay, within my field, as a postdoc for more than five years you may be very good, but then you start losing credibility. People will start to wonder why you haven’t made the jump”. This respondent, and associate professor of biology, further explained that, “Initially, when we are hired, we are hired partially based on the productivity when we were postdocs, but we are not hired to do the research we did as postdocs.” A chemical engineering discussed how a senior faculty member explained the importance of quickly establishing her professional identity as separate from that of her Ph.D. advisors. She was told, “You cannot be connected anymore to your [Ph.D.] advisors. You have to break that connection. You have to be you”. An assistant professor similarly remarked, “I explored other avenues very different than the ones that I had done during my dissertation and that, I think, was also a good point too because I could build my own [area of] expertise and be different from others….”. The freedom to succeed (or fail) on one’s own merits was seen as a Mentoring by Discipline 12 valuable mentoring tool that allowed participants to prove their worth, both to themselves and others. Establishing a professional identity as a scholar with sub-disciplinary expertise was essential for promotion and tenure, and required participants to conduct what they referred to as “innovative” research. A biology professor explained, “I constantly re-evaluate [if] what we are doing was successful yesterday…. and read other people’s stuff and saying ‘Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t see that coming. I gotta do something different.’” Another respondent similarly explained, “First, [you need] to know what everyone is doing, second, [you need to know] how to integrate available knowledge. That, to me, is innovation.” An engineering professor suggested that faculty who do not seek to be innovative could be endangering their careers. “As long as you find your niche, your own innovative area of work, then you’re safe. I think everywhere it’s the same, I can tell you.” Others discussed how pursuing innovative research agendas served to stimulate motivation and productivity. “I am interested in some topics and I want to expand on those, you know…. Trying to increase knowledge in one particularly tiny area in my field. I think it is motivating to me.” An assistant professor of computer engineering also linked innovative research to productivity stating that one “component of a productive researcher is innovation. If you really want to be productive there is something that has to trigger that, and I think it’s innovation.” Implicit in the idea of pursuing new and unexplored areas of research was the importance of faculty autonomy. Not surprisingly, participants considered autonomy to be one of the most important characteristics of their work that allowed them to pursue innovative research areas. Negotiating Independence At times, participants considered attempts by others to offer advice and mentoring as infringements on their autonomy. Despite its availability, all participants expressed a desire to be mentored only “minimally”. Said an assistant professor of engineering, Mentoring by Discipline 13 As for mentoring exactly, I haven’t requested it or I don’t think that I need mentoring at this time because I am into what I do, and it’s my work and I feel like I can do it. And that’s the reason I became an assistant professor. Although he acknowledged that faculty mentoring was important, he explained that it could also interfere with their work. “Mentoring is very important. You should, as an assistant professor, have a mentor [but] that mentoring shouldn’t interfere with your goals as a young researcher.” An associate professor of mechanical engineering similarly discussed the delicate balance between asking for assistance and maintaining a level of independence. “You have to be tough, but at the same time you have to be humble enough so when you actually need advice you go and ask people [for] advise.” A biology professor expressed the complexities of attempting to mentor individuals with highly independent minds. So, if you are trying to tell me to assert my independence as an independent investigator and you come and make a comment about the way I am in my lab…that is perceived as an attack on my effort to be myself as an independent investigator. So, how do you do that? It’s a very complex problem… Adding, “So, anything like that has to come in a very subtle way, a very subtle way…” An associate professor expressed similar sentiments, offering his views on the potentially intrusive nature of faculty mentoring, “It would be highly insulting to that mind, for someone to give a piece of advice to a person. I think the normal reaction is to reject that idea because…you are trying to generate your own individuality”. In speaking to participants about participating in formal mentoring programs offered through their department or college, many faculty were not opposed to the idea but pointed to problems that could arise. One respondent explained that his department, Mentoring by Discipline 14 …tried to implement a formal mentoring system here and it was widely refused by the assistant professors. That was perceived of as insulting. It was rejected, I mean fully rejected. I mean people here told us we were patronizing and so on. An assistant professor discussed his apprehension with the idea of a senior faculty member assisting him with his research so early in his career. “The whole point of doing research is that you do things something that no one has done before. So, if you rely on other people for advice over and over again, you might not be that original in your research…” Later adding, “You are setting yourself up for failure if you over rely on people.” An associate professor expressed similar opinions. Say you’re having problems writing grants. And so some faculty member teaches you how to write a grant and constantly does for the whole five years, for me that is enabling because I kind of believe that you are hired to perform a service. There is an assumption that you already know how to do this kind of stuff or they wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. Participants viewed faculty members who sought “too much” mentoring as unsuited for faculty work. “If you need a lot of directions for your research then you may not be in the right place, right?” He continued, “[If] you are asking people, ‘Well, what do I have to do now?’ then you don’t have the right things to be a faculty member”. As an associate professor aptly put it, “My department gives me complete autonomy and it’s dangerous for some people. Some people can’t do this free form sort of thing”. Discussion In discussing findings within the framework of self-determination theory, it is important to remind the reader about the foundation from which this motivation framework is based. SDT focuses on understanding the ways that individuals can meet their basic psychological needs within a given social context (Brophy, 2004). SDT considers the degree to which an individual’s Mentoring by Discipline 15 social context is able to fulfill or thwart their needs (Deci & Ryan, 2000). For the purposes of our discussion, the participants’ disciplines are considered the social context and the mentoring process is the phenomenon that is being investigated to understand how faculty members’ satisfaction needs are being met. The discussion that follows will focus on two specific areas of significance, a need for autonomy, and the inter-play between autonomy and competence. Autonomy An important issue repeatedly discussed as an important aspect of mentoring was a relatively strong desire for autonomy. Tenure-track faculty often spoke about the need to establish their professional identities and areas of research, whereas tenured faculty discussed the importance of providing junior faculty with the autonomy to accomplish such a task with minimal interference. Discussions about mentoring often related to providing junior faculty the freedom to determine how to approach their work. Research has demonstrated that having “choice” enhances an individual’s internal PLOC and sense of intrinsic motivation, resulting in positive outcomes (deCharms, 1968; Deci & Ryan, 2000). Offering assistant professors options or providing them with choices during the mentoring process, as opposed to intentionally or unintentionally influencing their behavior, can increase their chances of successfully completing a given task. What is also important here is that, rather than speaking about a lack of feedback or input about their scholarly endeavors, participants discussed how offering advice or providing too much mentoring could infringe on their autonomy. Moreover, participants’ goals were focused on either establishing their professional identity or conducting innovative research, both of which required them to feel a sense of autonomy to be able to do so. Deci and Ryan (2000) argue that autonomous behavior forms the basis for intrinsic motivation and self-determined actions; thus, meeting one’s goals requires a degree of autonomy that fosters success and feelings of competence. Here, participants equated faculty success with faculty independence. Mentoring by Discipline 16 Linking Autonomy to Competence Deci and Ryan (2000) assert that a need for autonomy is often linked to one’s competency needs, and argue that experiencing autonomy and competence is necessary to feel intrinsically motivated. A unique aspect of mentoring that participants spoke about pertained to the delicate balance between seeking advice without appearing to rely on others in order to succeed. While most participants appreciated practical advice or scholarly input, respondents were somewhat apprehensive about asking for assistance on how to improve upon specific aspects of their research or teaching. On the one hand, literature pertaining to faculty mentoring often discusses the importance of senior faculty providing junior faculty with some direction on how to succeed in academe suggesting that “leaving faculty alone” to navigate the publishing, teaching, research, and tenure process is problematic (Stanley & Lincoln, 2005; Tierney & Bensimon, 1996; Tillman, 2001; Turner, 2002; Verdugo, 1995). Participants, on the other hand, were not interested, and at times were reluctant, to either ask for or offer advice. In cases where assistance was needed, participants were careful in either soliciting or offering advice primarily for two reasons. Relying on others for suggestions infringes faculty autonomy and also does not allow faculty to demonstrate nor fulfill their competency needs. One might perceive of mentors who take this approach to cause more harm than good; yet, allowing faculty the freedom to seek help only when needed creates an autonomous environment that permits them to demonstrate their abilities and to feel competent. In such instances, autonomy provides faculty members the freedom to self-organize their work so as to engage in appropriately challenging work activities that satisfy their competency needs upon successful completion. The key lies in how much autonomy mentors ought to provide their mentees to create autonomy-supportive environments. When mentees are afforded too much freedom, they may perceive of their work to be overly challenging, resulting in work environments that undermine intrinsic motivation and potentially leads to decreased productivity. Mentoring by Discipline 17 Participants viewed the many positive attributes of mentoring, as described in the literature (Angelique, Kyle, & Taylor, 2002; Barnett, Gibson & Black, 2003; Jackson, 2004; Noe, 1988; Tillman, 2001; Stanley, 2006), as potentially problematic. For example, faculty rejected the idea that proper mentoring ought to consist of stimulating the acquisition of knowledge, offering advice to improve research and/or teaching skills, improving self-confidence and feelings of competence, providing emotional support and positive reinforcement, among others. They considered such actions to be overly intrusive, resulting in potential deleterious affects on their success. For example, when discussing grant-writing activities, participants believed that they should not expect assistance in learning how to navigate this process. Seeking feedback on a proposal was acceptable, but seeking input from others in developing it was not. Superb grant writing and external funding skills contribute to a faculty member’s ability to succeed, especially in disciplines where external funding plays a significant role in whether tenure is granted. Were they to receive assistance from senior faculty members in obtaining external funding, participants believed that there was a high potential for failure once that assistance was no longer available. Implications for “Non-Intrusive” Mentoring To be sure, the needs of faculty with regard to mentoring are diverse and wide-ranging (Angelique, Kyle, & Taylor, 2002; Fagenson, 1989; Kram, 1985; Tierney & Bensimon, 1996) Tierney and Bensimon’s (1996) work on promotion and tenure illustrated the importance of faculty mentoring during the pre-tenure process. Their study of over 200 faculty members from various disciplines revealed that a majority of their participants felt they lacked mentoring. The authors discussed the various facets of successful mentoring, which included offering junior faculty substantial feedback on manuscripts, providing specific advice on teaching (including sitting in on a junior faculty’s class), and offering emotional support, among others. Although they conceded that a small minority of faculty either declined mentoring or felt they did not require it, the majority of their participants “usually had more to say about the lack of [mentoring] than they did about what took place” (p. 54). The inadequate amount of mentoring their participants received sheds light on the many and diverse needs of a broad spectrum of Mentoring by Discipline 18 faculty. Yet, what participants meant by “mentoring” was unclear, and given that only 22 of their participants were from hard (and applied) sciences – all were from engineering disciplines, to be specific – it is unfair to paint the notion of faculty mentoring, and its many facets, with a broad stroke. Said differently, what faculty members in the social sciences might consider proper mentoring others in the hard sciences may perceive of as intrusive or enabling. Findings from this study suggest that the notion of mentoring is fluid; thus, it is important to recognize how faculty members are socialized into their respective disciplines to understand how they characterize mentoring. Becher (1989) asserts that disciplinary cultures affect how faculty are socialized into their specific academic communities, influence the types of knowledge faculty choose to discover and the methods they utilize to undertake research. He argues that, “…the ideals and the practices of academic communities are intimately bound up with the nature of the knowledge they pursue” (p. 169). Within the scope of this study, faculty socialization into fields of engineering, mathematics, and biological sciences is highly influenced by the norms and practices of their respective disciplines. What is more, “Socialization into a particular form of academic life involves a number of different elements” (Becher, 1989, p. 25), which include appropriate research practices, teaching methods, and other professional disciplinary norms. In extending Becher’s idea, I contend that the manner in which faculty members are socialized into their disciplines may also influence what they view (and do not view) as appropriate mentoring practices. Disciplines socialize scholars – from the time they are graduate students, through their postdoctoral posts, and finally as newly minted professors – to view their autonomy and competency needs in specific ways. Which is to say, the socialization process transmits the appropriate manner in which individuals should satisfy their (SDT) needs within a given discipline. Inghilleri (1999) contends that basic psychological needs play a role in how different groups assimilate and maintain memes. One can argue that participants assimilated and maintained particular cultural norms and practices based on how they were socialized and taught to satisfy their basic needs. Senior faculty members are key in transmitting the cultural Mentoring by Discipline 19 norms of their disciplines during the socialization process of junior faculty, of which a certain amount of autonomy is warranted to self-regulate one’s behavior. As Kennedy (1997) argues, “The faculty member’s understanding of his or her academic responsibilities are not prescribed by contract or institutional rule…It is, rather, part of an inherited culture, and the route of transmission is thus of vital importance” (p. 97). It may behoove us to move away from thinking about “mentoring” as an umbrella term that brings together an array of components that apply to faculty regardless of their disciplines. Instead we ought to consider mentoring to be an adaptive practice that is based on disciplinary norms and practices and faculty socializing groups. Becher (1989) asserts that the culture of the academy ought not be viewed as monolithic, and illustrates how the various “academic tribes and territories” (i.e. disciplines) function within a single university. Similarly, I suggest that scholars may benefit from viewing faculty mentoring as fluid in nature by exploring its meaning and purpose within specific environments and disciplines. Additional data from this study, for instance, reveal that the pre-faculty (postdoctoral) posts may play a role in how faculty participants view the socialization process. Engineering and biological science fields implicitly “require” faculty to complete postdoctoral work before entering the professoriate, whereas education and other social science disciplines do not (Tierney & Bensimon, 1996). Moreover, findings suggest that scholars might consider the implications of “over-mentoring” faculty members, and the potential deleterious effects on their future success. More research is needed to address whether “non-intrusive” mentoring is helpful in some disciplines over others, and whether providing faculty with increased freedom to self-organize their research and scholarly work fosters their future success. Nevertheless, providing faculty with additional autonomy to “figure things out” is only appropriate if that autonomy is supported. As suggested by the literature (Brophy, 2004; Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2000; Kasser, 2002; Koestner & Losier, 2002), autonomy supported environments enhance intrinsic motivation, confidence in one’s performance, and health and well-being (Deci & Ryan, 2000). It may be beneficial to approach the mentoring process with the intention of creating autonomy Mentoring by Discipline 20 supported environments that allow faculty to experience their work responsibilities as selforganized and internally regulated, which provide them opportunities to demonstrate competence and feel efficacious. Moreover, faculty members need autonomy-supported environments that make it acceptable for them to ask for help when needed and receive meaningful assistance when it is sought out. An environment that provides faculty with a great deal of autonomy is problematic when faculty feel that seeking help from more experienced colleagues results in little or poor advice and/or a perception of them as dependant on others to perform successfully. In the end, more work is needed to ascertain whether data will support these multiple hypotheses. Mentoring by Discipline 21 References Angelique, H., Kyle, K., & Taylor, E. (2002). 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