Francesca Arnone, Baylor University
Chair, Committee on Academic Careers
The 2014 National Conference in St. Louis marked our debut of a new format, “Lightning Mentoring Sessions,” meant to be a very fast-paced opportunity for mentees to quickly summarize their needs and acquire succinct feedback from mentors. Due to the time limit imposed, a friendly rotation occurred to allow each mentor and mentee to work with a maximum number of parings within the allotted time. Akin to “speed-dating,” this proved to be a very lively and dynamic session of great use. Although the Academic Careers Committee submitted this as a conference proposal, we plan to offer this on a regular basis at our conferences in response to the enthusiastic support this received from both mentees and mentors. Stay tuned for announcements for participation on both ends for 2015.
Perhaps because of this new format, we received no requests for live mentoring sessions, either for candidate or tenure material review or as a mock interview. We urge you to contact us if you would like to participate in this opportunity at our conferences, and eagerly solicit feedback from our membership regarding awareness of these opportunities, suggestions for other formats, or experience in a session.
We seek ways to heighten membership awareness of the options we present, such as our live mentoring sessions to our distance mentoring services. Both are volunteer-based, yet offer services available to each and every member. Topics addressed can extend beyond the customary employment search and tenure/promotion strategies, to include career options, challenges facing adjunct professorship, academic freedom, teaching strategies, developing and navigating professional relationships, and careers outside the academy. If you would like to serve as a mentor or request mentoring services, please see our CMS Mentoring Services page to register. We believe this is an important opportunity on both sides, and one of the aspects that makes CMS an invaluable resource.
We have received excellent feedback from our Student Advisory Committee. Among their requests is increased activity on our behalf to promote further growth for our undergraduate student members, both in conference content and overall activities. A webinar series to outline professionalism strategies for current students could be a useful option to initially address this need. This is a very timely and important consideration we encourage our membership to be mindful of as well. Another request they issued was the establishment of an academic-based mentoring ListServ through CMS, which they sited as an effective way of discussing topics quickly and efficiently, even in preference to social media.
Again, we thank our members for their support in our activities and welcome your feedback at any time.