At this year’s convention, Commission on the Status of Women members renewed their commitment to young scholars by supporting a mentoring initiative that will begin in the coming months.
The mentoring initiative includes an annual networking lunch and a coordinated mentorship program. Both activities are aimed at helping junior female faculty succeed in the academy.
“The CSW mentoring initiative will be beneficial to new faculty like me, who are in the beginning stages of publishing, creating teaching portfolios and planning for the tenure and promotion process,” said Katie Place, assistant professor, Saint Louis University.
The networking lunch will be held each year during the AEJMC Annual Convention, and CSW will subsidize the lunch to assure affordability. The goal of the lunch is to build collegial friendships so that women in the association will be better acquainted with each other, know who’s who among us, and establish informal working relationships.
Fifty scholars attended the first networking lunch that was held in Denver during the 2010 AEJMC Convention.
Stacey Hust, incoming chair of CSW, said the lunch is a unique opportunity for convention goers. “There are not too many events at the convention that specifically promote networking” Hust said. “I know a number of assistant professors who left the lunch with the e-mail address of at least one, if not two, senior faculty who are interested in helping them succeed in the academy,” she said.
In the coordinated mentorship program, two people – a senior mentor and a junior mentee — will be matched to achieve something specific. The program will feature an online application process that will be administered by two coordinators. It’s anticipated that it will take 1 to 2 years to formally establish the mentoring program.
Mentoring has long been considered beneficial to new female faculty members, regardless of their profession. Recent results from one of the first randomized trials of mentoring in academia found that the mentored female faculty published at a greater rate and were more likely to publish in top-tier journals than the non-mentored faculty (Blau, Currie, Croson, & Ginther, 2010, American Economic Review).
Erica Weintraub Austin, professor and director of the Murrow Research Center for Media and Health Promotion in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, said it is important for assistant professors to identify a mentor early in their careers.
“I think the most important things young scholars can do to develop leadership skills is to observe and practice,” Austin said. “In many cases, how leaders approach issues can be more important than the decisions they ultimately make.”
The CSW Mentoring Initiative was designed to facilitate such learning opportunities among faculty members. A three person committee developed the initiative and included chair Carolyn Byerly, Howard University, and members Dustin Harp, University of Texas-Austin and Dara Murray, Rutgers.
Check out next year’s program to find out when CSW will hold its networking lunch. If you’re interested in participating in our mentoring program, please look to our Facebook page (Commission on the Status of Women, AEJMC) or our Women’s Words newsletter for an announcement. Details should be coming soon.