Because Mentoring Works: The Mentoring Initiative at Georgetown

Have you ever had a mentor—someone who took the time to meet with you, to let you know that they believed in you, to share inside information about higher education generally and the field more specifically? If you’re successful and satisfied in your work, the answer is probably yes; many academics have at one time or another depended, both professionally and personally, on someone further along to give them a boost.

That’s because mentoring works. As experts find again and again (and again and again and again and again), mentorship helps students succeed and thrive not only in school but also well beyond. And yet, perhaps because of time constraints on faculty or a lack of institutional support for reaching out to students in this way, mentorship is still the exception, not the norm, for most students.

And so, with the generous support of Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) and donors Alida and Christopher Latham, CNDLS and NHS launched the Mentoring Initiative this past fall. This initiative sponsors events open to the whole Georgetown community, including talks this year by U.S. Naval Academy Psychology professor W. Brad Johnson and Director of Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning Peter Felten, and has also enabled an ongoing cohort of faculty who are meeting to explore ways to encourage more mentorship on campus. Learn more about our Mentoring Initiative here!

We’ve also created a Mentoring Students page on the Teaching Commons for all the faculty who want to make this a bigger part of their work with students. You’ll find an outline of some of the research on the power of mentoring as well as tips for how to mentor effectively (even when time is scarce), resources for further reading, and a list of opportunities for actively taking this role on here at Georgetown.

As many of us know from our own experience, good mentorship can be the key to students finding their best paths and stepping onto them with confidence. We hope the Mentoring Initiative and the resources we’re gathering online will support faculty as they, in turn, give students crucial support themselves.

As always, if we can help, please reach out to us at cndls@georgetown.edu!