Mentorship is rewarding at all points in your life. As I’ve shared with many of you, I was a first-generation college graduate. Although I had extremely supportive parents, I relied on my faculty to guide my academic journey. My professors encouraged me at every step—helping me to develop the skills I needed to pursue graduate school and, once there, guiding me in the development of my research and clinical psychology skills. Ultimately, my faculty mentors supported me as I entered the competitive academic field. Their guidance helped strengthen my career and has inspired me to mentor others.
When I reflect on what I considered to be the best characteristics of the mentors I have had, I believe that it was their ability to both clarify my goals and support me. As a mentor, I think the relationship works best when my expertise aligns with my mentees’ overall goals and also supports their success in their workplace or community.
As president, I view mentoring in terms of individual success and how that individual can contribute to the success of the university. The development of our faculty and staff has a powerful impact on our institution. As people grow and take on more responsibilities, we provide more services and expertise for our alumni and students.
Our collective reward is that the university becomes stronger academically: Alumni and students gain fresh insights and build new partnerships for their careers; and in turn, we all share responsibility for continuing the transfer of knowledge in our community.
As you think about your own roles as either a mentor or a mentee, I recommend you read the stories of three alumni who motivate others in very different ways. I hope you’re inspired by their passion and renew your dedication to mentorship.
Cynthia G. Baum, Ph.D.