Why Male Mentors in the #MeToo Era Must ‘Engage More, Not Run for the Hills’

By Katherine Mangan JUNE 06, 2018

Afew years ago, David M. Yousem thought nothing of having a closed-door mentoring session with a young female scientist. Now, he asks if she would be more comfortable with the door open or closed.

A naturally effusive person, he knows better than to compliment a woman on her springlike attire or to offer a congratulatory hug for a paper that’s been accepted in a prestigious journal when a thumbs up will do.

For Yousem, a professor of radiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, such precautions are "fairly simple and appropriate" adjustments he’s happy to make as a male mentor in the #MeToo era.

National surveys have pointed to a skittishness on the part of some senior men to mentor young women at a time of heightened awareness about sexual harassment. As they watch powerful men get knocked off their perches, they wonder whether an inadvertent slip could jeopardize their own careers. Some are distancing themselves from female graduate students and junior professors. And that troubles educators already worried about the leaky pipeline for women as they attempt to move through the academic ranks.

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If men, who dominate the senior positions in many academic departments, shy away from mentoring women, those women will miss out on opportunities to enrich their studies or advance their careers, says Kim M. Elsesser, a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Women at the University of California at Los Angeles.

"Even before the whole #MeToo movement brought such heightened awareness to the issue, many male professors were reluctant to meet alone with a female student, particularly in the evening, or have a student of the opposite sex join them for lunch or coffee or anything that could be misconstrued," says Elsesser, author of Sex and the Office: Women, Men and the Sex Partition That’s Dividing the Workplace.

On the other hand, a professor who throws up his hands and says it’s no longer safe to mentor women — either as students or junior colleagues — may be simply justifying his longstanding lack of interest in doing so.

"Guys who would use #MeToo as an excuse to not engage are probably the typical old curmudgeons you wouldn’t want mentoring women in the first place," says W. Brad Johnson, a professor of psychology at the United States Naval Academy and a faculty associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins. 

"It’s probably not a great loss."

Johnson and David G. Smith, an associate professor of sociology at the U.S. Naval War College, tackled such issues in their 2016 book, Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women. Johnson says men may hold unconscious biases about women, seeing them "as nice, but not real leadership material, or in the grad-school context, ticking time bombs of maternity that are not as good an investment."

Compared to the workshops he and Smith offer in corporate settings, Johnson doesn’t hear as much #MeToo backlash from professors. But in STEM fields, where there are fewer women, men who mentor sometimes worry how others view the time they spend alone with junior women.

If they’re feeling somewhat sidelined by the national discussions about sexual harassment, Johnson says, "the one thing men can do to demonstrate that they have their female colleagues’ backs is to engage more, not run for the hills."

Surveys that have focused more on corporate than academic culture have found that too many men are heading for the hills.

The ‘Pence Rule’

A survey conducted this year for the women’s-empowerment group Lean In found that the number of men who are uncomfortable mentoring women has more than tripled, rising from 5 percent to 16 percent, since the recent media coverage on sexual harassment.

And in a poll conducted last year for The New York Times, about a quarter of the respondents said private work meetings with colleagues of the opposite sex are inappropriate. Nearly two-thirds said people should take extra caution around members of the opposite sex at work. An extreme example of such nervousness was the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, who told The Hill that he won’t dine alone with a woman other than his wife. Critics of the #MeToo movement, including conservative bloggers, predicted that fear of crossing some invisible line would prompt others to follow what became known as the "Pence rule."

That could exacerbate problems that predate the current national discussion. That’s because faculty members are already more inclined to mentor male students — particularly white men — than women or minority students, some researchers have found. In one study that involved emails from supposed doctoral students, faculty members were much more likely to respond to requests for guidance from people with names that were easily identifiable as male and white.

Even when men agree to take on female mentees, unintended slights can occur. Mentors who are hyper-aware of their behavior sometimes unintentionally treat women with more formality while developing more chummy connections with men. Taking a protégé to a baseball game or on a fishing trip is no big deal if he’s a man, but could potentially raise eyebrows if she’s a woman, some fear. The same holds true for asking mentees about their personal lives — something a mentor might not hesitate to do if a man was struggling. Researchers whose field work takes them to remote locations might balk at bringing along a junior woman, particularly given the federal government’s recent threats to yank fundingfrom sexual harassers.

The differences matter, because when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation, a student who’s forged a close personal connection with a professor might receive a more enthusiastic endorsement. The dynamics, of course, can change when the professor or the mentee is gay and the same concerns about inappropriate entanglements are raised.

"Mentor relationships often develop like friendships, and you don’t get that opportunity if you’re on guard and watching your behavior," Elsesser says. "But it’s a double-edged sword." To the extent that a little more formality stops offensive behavior, it’s a good thing, she says, but when it means that women aren’t getting the same access as their male counterparts, it’s bad.

Some people complain to her that women can’t have it both ways; they can’t tell men to behave more cautiously around them but then object that they’re feeling left out.

Elsesser doesn’t buy that. "We can have it both ways," she argues. "We can figure out where the lines are so women can have a safe place to go to work where they are not sexually harassed, but at the same time, have good working relationships" that will help them reach parity with men.

Burden Falls to Senior Women

Andrea S. Kramer writes and speaks about gender-based discrimination alongside her husband, Alton B. Harris. Both are adjunct professors at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.

"Women need to be assured the same opportunities to advance in their careers as men," says Kramer. "This includes being mentored by senior men in their departments without the fear of predatory or inappropriate conduct." At the same time, she says, "Men cannot refuse to mentor young women because they fear allegations of sexual harassment."

If they do, the burden falls to the relatively small number of senior women in the department who may already be spread thin.

One way to overcome such reluctance is for universities to require senior men to mentor young women, Kramer says. Her husband, Harris, agrees that formalized mentor programs that come with an expectation of private, one-on-one meetings could remove some of the discomfort a senior man might feel working with a junior female colleague or graduate student.

"One of the drawbacks, given the reaction to the #MeToo movement, is that men of good will are hesitant to become involved in situations where there could be any suspicion that something improper is going on," Harris says, "It’s not politically correct to mention, but I think there’s a female sensitivity to behavior that, while it may be flirtatious or inappropriate, is a long way from predatory."

Mentors may opt to meet their mentees in groups, or over coffee instead of a beer. "If the complaints we’re hearing from women on their way up are correct," Harris says, maybe that’s a necessary step.

‘A Message of Mistrust’

Double standards can be hard to avoid. Take, for instance, the question of whether to leave the door open or closed during one-on-one meetings. The cautious approach is to leave it at least partially open, but that shouldn’t be influenced by the student’s gender, says Jonathan A. Segal, a partner at the Duane Morris Institute, which advises colleges and businesses on harassment and other legal issues.

Opening it only when meeting with a woman could send her the message that the professor is worried she’s going to claim something untoward happened, Segal says. That also creates barriers to confidential discussions. "If you send a message of mistrust," Segal says, "that creates mistrust."

Some faculty members are changing their behaviors in subtle ways, like ditching the office couch for a couple of comfortable chairs and a table. If a student breaks down crying, say, over a prolonged bout of writer’s block, a mentor may be less likely to offer a reassuring hug.

Sometimes, the lines are obvious. If you’re meeting with a protégé at a conference hotel, Segal says, "stay out of the hotel room. That’s why there are lobbies."

Anne Hedgepeth, director of federal relations for the American Association of University Women, says this is a good time to reassess mentoring practices.

"I don’t think it’s a bad thing for everyone to be evaluating the practices or tactics they put in place to guide and support students," she says. Mentors, she says, should look at their own unconscious biases about what they expect from men and women and should make sure they’re building relationships that are "professional and respect the boundaries of their mentees."

Yousem, the Johns Hopkins radiologist, has helped lead a Master Mentor program at Johns Hopkins that was started on the premise that not everyone is good at mentoring and that those who are should be encouraged and supported. Participants have to be nominated and attend up to 12 hours of workshops on giving meaningful feedback, handling conflicts, and encouraging growth and risk taking. They in turn agree to help their colleagues become better mentors.

Asked what advice he would give another senior man who is uncertain about the appropriate way to mentor a woman today, Yousem, who is also an associate dean of professional development, advises following common-sense rules and being more self aware. The rewards of mentoring, he says, are worth the added reflection. "There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a faculty member — be it a man or woman — take medicine and the profession further than me." Some faculty members whose careers he helped nurture are in positions now, he says, "where I could turn to them as mentors."

Katherine Mangan writes about community colleges, completion efforts, and job training, as well as other topics in daily news. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineMangan, or email her at katherine.mangan@chronicle.com.

Don’t Rescue Women: Be a Reciprocal Mentor

By David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson

When women are mentored by menthey make more money, receive more promotions, and report greater satisfaction with their career trajectories. As importantly, cross-gender reciprocal mentorship relationships are also beneficial for men’s careers.

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For both men and women to benefit, you’ll need to change the standard approach of a mentor being an all-knowing guru who dispenses knowledge. These typically hierarchical, one-way relationships frame men who mentor women as championsheroes, even rescuers. In this model, the mentor shares wisdom, throws down challenges, and when necessary, protects his protégé from all malignant forces in the organization. Enter the chivalrous knight-damsel in distress archetype. As Jennifer de Vries has astutely observed, painting male allies and mentors as heroic rescuers actually strengthens the gendered status quo, inadvertently reinforcing male positional power while framing women as ill-prepared for serious leadership roles.

So what’s a decent guy to do? Happily, there is a promising alternative to the traditional, hierarchical, unidirectional mentoring model. We call it reciprocal mentoring.

Cross-gender reciprocal mentorships are essentially partnerships in which men and women play complementary roles leading to career and personal development for both parties, and ultimately, greater gender equality in the workplace.

In her research on reciprocal mentorship, Belle Rose Ragins discovered that mentorships with the greatest life-long impact are more mutual. In these relationships, there is greater fluidity in expertise between members.

1. High-impact reciprocal mentorships deal with more than career advancement and compensation and include discussions about concerns that include: professional identity, work-family integration, and personal confidence.

2. The best mentoring relationships between men and women are based on:

  • Mutual listening and affirmation
  • Humility
  • Shared Power

3. The most effective mentoring relationships occur when they challenge each other and provide direct specific feedback. Too many men are averse to pushing their female mentees the way they push their male protégés. The best mentors don’t harbor stereotypes about women’s capabilities or resilience in the face of challenge. They confront their mentees when they avoid challenges or perform below potential.

reciprocal-mentor.png

Here are two examples from our research:

When Navy Lieutenant, Tabitha Strobel, one of the first women assigned to a U. S. Navy submarine, reported for duty, her male mentors were deliberate about pulling no punches. She got the same tough assignments and challenging watches as her male counterparts, all of it designed to immunize her for the operational challenges ahead.

It took Susan Chambers, Vice President at Walmart, some time to appreciate that her mentor’s constant challenges were a clear expression of care and commitment: “He set such high standards and expectations; he expected me to move so much faster and to achieve so much more than I ever had before. At the time, I felt it was unfair. But it’s only as I look back that I realize I wouldn’t be in my current role without it. I wouldn’t have been able to get through the difficulties I’ve been through if I had not had someone who cared and expected that much early in my career.”

Inclusive leaders are learning that women and men perform better, advance faster, and choose to stay in their organizations when they are reciprocal mentors to each other.

Originally posted on https://thewaywomenwork.com/2018/06/dont-rescue-women-be-a-reciprocal-mentor/

Men Learn How to Be ‘Allies,’ Without Fear, to Female Colleagues

Navigating the rules of office engagement in the #MeToo era, males seek guidance on mentoring women without crossing a line; avoiding ’man-terruptions and ’bro-propriations’

 The Male Ally Summit in New York featured workshops, panel discussions and role-playing exercises. PHOTO: BRIANA ELLEDGE

The Male Ally Summit in New York featured workshops, panel discussions and role-playing exercises. PHOTO: BRIANA ELLEDGE

By John Simmons

Being a male ally in the era of #MeToo takes some practice.

Jeremy Sussman, a Google product manager, recently told a young woman sitting beside him, “I’ve noticed your work and you’re very good.”

The visibly uneasy Mr. Sussman, who is 49, continued to explain that he has mentored other women in the past. “And if you want to have that kind of conversation, I’m willing to do it,” he said.

The woman responded positively, but Aloke Desai, a 24-year-old software developer on Google’s Docs team, interrupted the conversation. “I don’t know,” Mr. Desai said. “I got a little date-y vibe from it.”

The exchange was part of a training exercise at last week’s Male Ally Summit, where 90 men, predominantly from the tech industry, gathered for a day of workshops, panel discussions and role-playing sessions at an event space in New York. The conference, organized by the nonprofit women’s organization AnitaB.Org, was designed to help men who want to serve as mentors and advocates for female co-workers but also want guidance in navigating the supercharged atmosphere some workplaces have become for male-female working relationships.

#MeToo has a lot of men watching their step—but not always in ways that are helpful to women. After a number of powerful men lost their jobs over sexual-misconduct allegations, many others—unsure of how to engage with women at work—are responding by distancing themselves from female colleagues. They are sidestepping one-on-one meetings, ducking out of after-work drinks and, in some cases, leaving women out of the day-to-day interactions that build professional relationships and further careers.

Nearly half of male managers said they were uncomfortable joining a woman in a common work activity, such as mentoring, working alone or socializing together, according to a recent survey of about 3,000 employed adults from LeanIn.Org, a nonprofit organization that aims to support women’s careers. And 55% of American men said the increased focus on sexual harassment and assault has made it harder for them to know how to interact with women at work, according to a new Pew Research Center Poll of more than 6,000 adults.

Men like the 90 gathered at the Male Ally Summit in New York say they are doubling down on their commitment to help women advance by coaching them and calling out biases. Most attendees said they found out about the event through friends or co-workers. Many said they were expensing the $250 admission fee for the event to their employers.

The conference’s keynote speakers were Brad Johnson and David Smith, co-authors of “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women,” published by Routledge in 2016. They said instead of pulling away from female co-workers, men should actively pursue more equality at the office.

“What that means is more coffees, more dinners, more mentorship,” Mr. Johnson said, adding that men need to find a way to offer help without simply opening with “I’d like to be your mentor.” Any offer of mentorship should always be accompanied by a concrete observation about the potential mentee’s work performance, he said.

The two authors noted that women receive less mentoring when men wait for those relationships to form in an organic way and now some men are reticent to extend the offer.

“They truly are scared that they’re going to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, but some men are using this as an excuse,” said Mr. Smith.

 Panel discussion as part of a conference, organized by the nonprofit women’s organization AnitaB.Org, designed to help men who want to serve as mentors and advocates for female coworkers but also want guidance in navigating workplace dynamics. PHOTO: BRIANA ELLEDGE

Panel discussion as part of a conference, organized by the nonprofit women’s organization AnitaB.Org, designed to help men who want to serve as mentors and advocates for female coworkers but also want guidance in navigating workplace dynamics. PHOTO: BRIANA ELLEDGE

Panel discussion as part of a conference, organized by the nonprofit women’s organization AnitaB.Org, designed to help men who want to serve as mentors and advocates for female coworkers but also want guidance in navigating workplace dynamics. PHOTO: BRIANA ELLEDGE

Kyle Fritz, a software development engineer at Audible, said he isn’t comfortable assuming the mantle of male ally just yet. He has been training as a manager with a team of four men and one woman at the Amazon Inc.-owned audio entertainment company for six months. In that time, he says he has been putting male allyship into practice, mostly by employing calculated strategies to involve women more.

Early on, Mr. Fritz noticed a pattern in his team’s unstructured brainstorming sessions: “The guys would get animated, snatching pens out of each other’s hands to write on the whiteboard,” he said. Meanwhile, the team’s only female, who has more experience than the men, would withdraw.

To give her more of a voice, Mr. Fritz ditched the whiteboard, which created a dynamic where men jockeyed for position, and now holds meetings around a table.

Jamy Barton, a senior director of program management at Audible—and one of about 20 women in attendance—said she simply wants colleagues who want the best people in the room to get the best results.

“I just want someone who has my back, listens to me communicate in my own way,” she said.

In meetings, male allies can help women guard against two common occurrences–“bro-propriations,” or instances where a man takes credit for restating an idea previously raised by a woman in the same meeting, and “man-terruptions,” which is just what it sounds like, said Karen Catlin, a former vice president of engineering at Adobe Systems Inc., who now helps technology firms find ways to attract and retain more women.

Her suggestion: Pipe up and say something like, “I see you agree with a point Ana made earlier in the meeting” or, “I’d like to hear Emma finish her thought.”

Daniel Wong, a 24-year-old consultant for Microsoft Corp. based in Phoenix, helps companies implement the software giant’s Azure cloud computing service. Lately, he said, he has been coaching a female co-worker on ways to establish credibility with clients who doubt her expertise.

“That kind of thing never happens to me,” Mr. Wong said.

Originally posted on https://www.wsj.com/articles/men-learn-how-to-be-allies-without-fear-to-female-colleagues-1522849814

Men Mentoring Women: Can It Change the System?

By Melissa Richardson

Like many women (and men), I believe that ‘the system’ itself needs to change before the female half of our population will be appropriately represented in the echelons of power.  (By the system, I mean the ingrained habits, behaviours and rewards in place in most work environments – they are the invisible ‘rules’ that have been made mostly by men because men have been in positions of power.)

Even as an advocate for the power of mentoring, I do not believe that mentoring women is magically going to fix ‘the system’. However, if men in positions of power mentor women, and do so in an appropriate and empowering fashion, then more women may rise to the top and feel confident in positions of power.

The more women comfortably inhabit the top ranks, the more likely the system will change. In addition, men who mentor women often experience a change in their understanding of what it is like to be a woman in their business or profession, and this in turn can influence how the rules continue to be made.

The key words there are “appropriate and empowering”.  We do not want to mentor women to behave just like men.

The goal instead must be to enable them to deal with power confidently, while still remaining women.

I recently finished reading Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women.  The authors are two men with military and academic careers, who have personally witnessed some of the most male-dominated workplaces.

Although women were interviewed as part of the research for the book, it ultimately brings a very male perspective to the art of mentoring women.

Some of the 46 dos and don’ts listed in the book really resonated with me as important in truly empowering women through mentoring.  So if you are a man who is mentoring a woman and you don’t have time to read the whole book, here are my top eight from the list.

The first three relate to confronting feelings about and behaviour toward women that you may not even be aware are happening.

 

Know Thyself: Confront your Gender Biases

I agree with the authors on the importance of recognising those unconscious assumptions we make about each other every day.  Attitudes and expectations about women are so deep-seated that you may not even be conscious of them.  Work to recognise your own beliefs before the relationship begins.  (The book has a few good exercises you can try.)

 

Let her cry if she needs to cry

It is so important that tears are not seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence.  Women do tend to cry more than men, but as the authors put it, “Tears are not inconsistent with excellent work, including first-rate leadership.”

 

Make Sure She Gets Included

The book very well describes the phenomenon of women being excluded, while men are completely impervious to their isolation.  As a man mentoring a woman one of the most valuable contributions you can make to her career is simply ensuring that she is included in key meetings, has access to key information and does not allow herself to be taken for granted.

The next points relate to “male” behaviour that needs to be kept in check when mentoring women.

 

Be honest, direct and unconditionally accepting

Men are socially conditioned to believe it is ungentlemanly to hurt a woman or make her cry.  While noble, this attitude can be limiting to a female mentee.  In order to facilitate growth, a mentor must not pull punches with a mentee, regardless of gender.

 

Help her construct a rich constellation of career helpers

As the authors so beautifully put it, “for goodness sake, don’t do the guru thing”.  Men are encouraged to avoid protective and possessive behaviour with their female mentees.  Instead open doors to your networks and allow her to collect a range of career helpers.

These next two points are particularly relevant when mentoring a woman in a very male-dominated environment.

 

Don’t promote her before she’s ready

This advice seems counter-intuitive, but touches on a very real trap for many women.  In organisations with a dearth of women at the top, there can be pressure to push a mentee up the chain as quickly as possible.  The authors correctly identify this as “benign sabotage”.  Push too hard or too fast and you will set your mentee up for a fall.

 

Affirm that she belongs (over and over)

I wish it were otherwise, but the authors are correct in identifying that woman can suffer imposter syndrome in a male-centric environment.  Sometimes a woman’s biggest barrier to success is her own self-doubt.  Male mentors need to understand this phenomenon, be sensitive to the signs and look for every opportunity to confirm that she belongs at the top.

 

This final point is my personal favourite.

 

No cloning allowed!

This advice is relevant in almost any mentoring relationship.  After all, we mentor to enable mentees to grow and become empowered, not to create a bunch of Mini-Mes.

It is particularly important that men not try to mould their female mentees in their own image.  What is needed, both for women as individuals and for the goal of a gender-balanced workplace, is for women to develop as authentic leaders – not as male mimics.

7 Key Ways to Make Student Mentoring Matter

By Laura L. BehlingMaureen Vandermaas-PeelerPaul C. Miller and W. Brad Johnson

Although the practice of undergraduate research, scholarship and creative work has long been a fixture in American higher education, several developments within the past couple of years have drawn much-needed attention to the role of the undergraduate faculty mentor. The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index identified that only about two in 10 college students strongly agreed that they had a mentor who encouraged them in their goals. In 2015, Purdue University administrators announced their plans to make mentoring undergraduate students a point of emphasis in tenure reviews. And since then, scores of articles and studies have appeared about the role and importance of mentoring.

Our interest in those developments is in the way they are focusing attention and conversation on the crucial practice of mentoring undergraduate students. For three summers, we co-led a seminar at Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning on mentoring undergraduate research for faculty members and undergraduate research program directors from institutions in the United States and abroad. The work of experts in the field of mentoring, as well as George Kuh and the American Association of Colleges and Universities, has identified undergraduate research, scholarship and creative work as among 10 high-impact practices and provided the foundation for our seminar. Yet we’ve pushed one step farther. Our seminar participants have identified one key to this high-impact practice: the mentor who works closely with a student engaged in a research or creative project.

Guided by our own knowledge and experiences of mentoring that, in turn, have been enhanced by our seminar participants' studies of mentoring practices, we’ve learned a few things about what excellent mentoring is, and what it's not. And along the way, we have acquired a better idea of what institutions can do (and in some cases, what they shouldn't do) to enhance the well-mentored undergraduate experience.

Mentoring relies on quality relationships that endure over time. An intensive summer or multiyear mentored undergraduate experience, for example, supports students’ developing expertise in a field of study as well as their personal growth. And as a result, mentoring connotes a relationship that transcends mere assigned roles such as advising and teaching.

Yet good intentions and the proliferation of programs for undergraduate research do not guarantee that good-quality mentoring happens. Even when students, faculty members or administrators label these assigned relationships "mentorships," there is no guarantee that such supervision will reflect effective mentoring practice. Student involvement in undergraduate research or creative work alone offers no guarantee of good mentoring.

We instead suggest that colleges and universities better emphasize quality mentoring relationships and develop strategies and practices that assist faculty members and students alike in aspiring to and developing an excellent mentoring experience. Specifically, they should:

  1. Define the relationship. The farther we progressed in our seminar, the more complicated the meaning of mentoring became. Not every student-faculty assignment or interaction results in mentoring, even if it is labeled as such. An intentional focus on high-quality mentoring requires a critical definition of the developmental relationship we have in mind. Colleges and universities would be well served to articulate:
    1. what good mentoring is on their campuses (and how it differs from the other important roles a faculty member plays for students),
    2. how it is operationally defined,
    3. what the appropriate expectations are,
    4. what its best practices are, and
    5. what its distinct manifestations are among the disciplines.
  2. Train faculty members over time. Holding the occasional workshop for faculty on mentoring will not alone advance an institutional culture of high-quality mentoring. Rather, institutions should commit to a prolonged and robust system of mentor selection and training, one that begins with a faculty-faculty mentoring program, incorporates the importance of recognizing and engaging the variety of student developmental needs, and includes regular assessment of mentoring effectiveness with students.
  3. Provide adequate support. Undergraduate research offices, and the people who occupy them, need clear direction from campus constituencies about the role and value of mentoring at the institution. Likewise, those offices should have financial backing -- not only funds available to support students and faculty in undergraduate research experiences but also to support consistent programming and training about what makes a high-quality mentor.
  4. Make it a priority. Chief academic officers play a key role in making good mentoring a priority on campuses. They must allocate the resources and create the infrastructure to fully support undergraduate research offices. They also should support diverse pathways for faculty members to be involved in undergraduate research, following appropriate training and perhaps even supervised experience in the mentor role.
  5. Focus on competence. Perhaps most politically sensitive, we suggest colleges and universities pay more and better attention to competence of those in the mentoring role, and recognize that not every faculty member is a good mentor to undergraduate students at every stage in their career. It would be helpful to assist faculty members in thoughtfully working to balance the various expectations and aspirations of their own careers with associated activities related to high-quality mentoring of undergraduate students. One important element of such planning is that faculty members consider when they can (and when they cannot) invest in a high-quality mentoring relationship with an undergraduate student.
  6. Recognize and reward good mentoring. Colleges and universities need to consider how mentoring undergraduate students in research fits into the evaluative standards used for the promotion and tenure processes, and how other kinds of tangible supports can be offered to those who excel in such activity. Given the vital learning opportunity such experiences offer to students -- not to mention the considerable time and effort required of the faculty member -- we believe that faculty work in this high-impact practice should be recognized, rewarded and formalized in institutional practice and policy.
  7. Assess and reassess. Finally, if we are to hold to the belief that good-quality mentoring is inextricably linked with successful undergraduate research experiences, then we need to commit to an honest assessment and evaluation of these experiences that provides the faculty mentor with an opportunity for growth and development in this important role.

What we have come to know about the experience for students engaged in undergraduate research, scholarship and creative work is that it has the potential to facilitate deep and lasting high-impact learning. This potential can only be fully realized when colleges and universities commit to the belief that high-quality mentoring matters -- for students, faculty members and their institutions over all -- and they put practices and programs in place to promote, reinforce and celebrate it.

Originally posted by https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/10/27/advice-how-most-effectively-mentor-students-essay?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=38380dc454-DNU20171027&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-38380dc454-197487557&mc_cid=38380dc454&mc_eid=7db4db213d 

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Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged—sometimes stridently—to “find a mentor!” Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations. Organizations that retain and promote top talent—both female and male—are more likely to thrive.

But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. It is a straightforward, no-nonsense manual for helping men of all institutions, organizations, and businesses to become excellent mentors to women.

Co-authors W. Brad Johnson, PhD, and David Smith, PhD, draw from extensive research and years of experience as experts in mentoring relationships and gender workplace issues. When a man mentors a woman, they explain, the relationship is often complicated by conventional gender roles and at times hostile external perceptions. Traditional notions of mentoring are often modeled on male-to-male relationships—the sort that begin on the golf course, involve a nearly exclusive focus on career achievement, and include more than a few slaps on the back over drinks after work. But women often report a desire for mentoring that integrates career and family aspects of life. Women want a mentor who not only “gets” this, but truly honors it.

Men need to fully appreciate just how crucial their support of promising junior women can be in helping them to persist, promote, and thrive in their vocations and organizations. As women succeed, lean in, and assume leading roles in any organization or work context, that culture will become more egalitarian, effective, and prone to retaining top talent.

www.davidgsmithphd.com/thebook
www.amazon.com/Athena-Rising-Sho…men/dp/1629561517

PERCEIVING EVERYDAY ATHENAS

Article Author: W. Brad Johnson, Ph.D.; and David Smith, Ph.D.

Whether at the boardroom table or the break room table, women are more likely to be overlooked or just plain ignored by men. Sometimes, they don’t even get a seat at the table. And when they do get a seat, their ideas and contributions are not always taken seriously. Thinking about her own early career experience at the executive table, Kathy Hannan, partner for diversity and corporate responsibility for KPMG, said, “I had been sitting around the key leadership table. At times, I would make a comment and it would get a tepid response, maybe some head nodding. Then, two or three people down the line, a male says exactly what I just said and everyone says, ‘Wow,’ and starts discussing it like it’s a new idea.” Several women interviewed for this book recounted stories in which their input was dismissed by male bosses; some felt so undervalued that they quit contributing their insights.

In the 21st century workplace, how do we make sense of these women’s experiences? When asked, men often fail to even recognize that these dismissive episodes are occurring. Our tendency as men is to unknowingly sell women at work short, largely as a by‑product of the way we have come to understand men’s and women’s roles in society. Despite the fact that there are almost twice as many women in the workforce today, by percentage, than there were in 1950, we still find persistent stereotypes about women’s roles at work and home. Automatic perceptions and assumptions that women are nurturing, warm, and communal may sound positive, yet they can be limiting and undermine women’s opportunities to compete and excel in the workplace. Our gendered perceptions make it too easy to overlook those everyday Athenas around us.

As you can surmise, our biased man perceptions about women create for them a prickly double bind. On one hand, we may perceive our female mentees as compassionate and caring nurturers, but in so doing we may be unable to envision them as the “take charge and move out” leaders we need for key projects and challenging missions. In a similar vein, men may avoid recommending women for assignments that are too challenging or “in the trenches” because we don’t see them as capable or aspiring to these tasks. Sometimes, our deeply engrained protective man scripts get triggered. When this happens, our efforts to “protect” a talented woman actually sabotage her opportunity to compete and prove herself. In our world, the U.S. military, these stereotypes reinforce the perception that women are better suited for staff or support roles than for operational “combatant” roles that lead to the higher echelons of power and leadership.

Unfortunately, the negative consequences of our man perceptions don’t end there. For instance, women who are directive and authoritative at work often get labeled “dragon ladies” and “iron bitches”; they are perceived to be coldhearted, abrasive, and bossy. As guys, we tend to steer clear of these women, often some of the most promising future leaders for our organizations and our nation. And if we find strong women noxious in some way, what does that say about our ability to see them as potential mentees? What are the chances we’ll seek them out, engage, and begin providing crucial career support? In part 2 of this guide, “Mentoring Women: A Manual for Men,” we’ll challenge you to not reinforce these unrealistic perceptions when women at work demonstrate confident, decisive, and industrious behavior.

Volumes of social psychology research reveal that men evaluate certain behaviors quite differently when exhibited by a man or a woman. If you think you judge John’s behavior the same as Jill’s—even in identical situations—you’re kidding yourself. For instance, as guys we might be comfortable with yelling at work, or give each other a pass when it happens—what dude doesn’t lose his temper on occasion? But what about a woman who yells? Well, she’s got to be overemotional or dangerous—return of the “PMSing dragon lady.” And if a woman cries, well . . . what’s new? But for a dude to cry or tear up when getting critical feedback . . . now, that’s awkward, just plain “unmanly.” Our perceptions about “appropriate” emotions create another double bind for women. If she doesn’t cry, she’s cold and emotionless. But if he is dry eyed we applaud him for controlling his emotions. Getting the picture? Women who aspire to rise through the ranks and assume leadership roles must confront persistent double binds and inconsistent standards for leadership potential.

Just as important for women at work is what men fail to perceive. The perception that women are nurturing and caring is largely based on our experience of seeing women in family roles as primary caregivers. In fact, women in general do perform more childcare and household chores than men. Evidence shows that working women are 60 percent more likely than men to have full-time working spouses. Why is this important? Because dual-career families have more challenges related to childcare and managing a household, and women in these families end up doing the lion’s share of the domestic work. And, of course, mothers are seen as less committed to their careers. This affects wages, promotions, and hiring, a de facto “motherhood penalty.” Effective male mentors must become alert to stereotypical perceptions of women in the workplace and then find strategies for mitigating their effects on the promising women they champion.

Excerpt from “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women,” by W. Brad Johnson, Ph.D.; and David Smith, Ph.D. (reprinted with permission of Taylor & Francis Group).

Originally posted on https://trainingmag.com/perceiving-everyday-athenas