Dawson Toward a Framework for Designing and Specifying Mentoring Models

Dawson, P. (2014). Beyond a definition: Toward a framework for designing and specifying mentoring models. Educational Researcher, 43(3), 137-145.

Summary: This article argues that the concept of mentoring, especially in higher education, has multiple definitions for mentoring and lacks a common framework. Dawson proposes 16 design elements that should be included when describing mentoring. Those 16 items include : Objectives, Roles, Cardinality, Tie Strength, Relative Seniority, Time, Selection, Matching, Activities, Resources and Tools, Role of Technology, Training, Rewards, Policy, and Monitoring.

  1. Objectives: The Aims or Intentions of the Mentoring Model

    1. What are the objectives or purposes of the mentoring model?
  2. Roles: A Statement of Who is Involved and Their Function

    1. The specific responsibilities of each party should be described.
  3. Cardinality: The Number of Each Sort of Role Involved in a Mentoring Relationship

    1. Although mentoring relationships are assumed to be one-on-one, that is not always the case. Researchers need to articulate the cardinality of their relationships.
  4. Tie Strength: The Intended Closeness of the Mentoring Relationship

    1. Researchers need to articulate the degree of closeness in a mentoring relationship because that degree varies.
  5. Relative Seniority: The Comparative Expertise, Expertise, or Status of Participants

    1. It is often assumed that the mentor has the seniority, but “seniority” does not equal expertise in all cases. It should not be assumed that the older individual or the individual with more years of employment is the mentor.
  6. Time: The Length of a Mentoring Relationship, Regularity of Contact, and Quantity of Contact

    1. Those time elements should include intended amount of time, length of a relationship, and regularity of contact.
  7. Selection: How Mentors and Mentees are Chosen

    1. The selection process, although always present, varies depending upon the mentoring model. Examples of selection processes include application forms, interviews, and selection criteria.
  8. Matching: How Mentoring Relationships are Composed

    1. The matching process varies depending upon the model. For instance, mentor choice, mentee choice, randomness, algorithms, alternative criteria, and a more knowledgeable other’s, such as a coordinator, choice are examples of different matching processes.
  9. Activities: Actions that Mentors and Mentees Can Perform During Their Relationship

    1. Mentors and mentees engage in different activities, and the degree of structure of these activities also varies. These kinds of activities should be described.
  10. Resources and Tools: Technological or Other Artifacts Available to Assist Mentors and Mentees

    1. What tools and resources exist for the mentors and mentors? Are there requirements in using any of these resources or tools? For instance, meeting rooms, stationary, workbooks, and online forms are all examples of tools and resources that are used in some mentoring models.
  11. Role of Technology: The Relative Importance of Technology to the Relationship

    1. To what extent is technology involved in supporting or facilitating the mentoring relationship?
  12. Training: How Necessary Understandings and Skills for Mentoring Will Be Developed in Participants

    1. How are mentors prepared or trained for their roles and what ongoing professional development is there to support their professional learning?
  13. Rewards: What Participants Will Receive to Compensate for Their Efforts

    1. In addition to intrinsic rewards, what extrinsic rewards are provided for mentors?
  14. Policy: A Set of Rules and Guidelines on Issues Such as Privacy or the Use of Technology

    1. What policies govern the mentoring context? “By specifying the policy context that mentors and mentees operate within, we may better understand how their actions and experiences are supported or constrained; clearly specified policy may also aid a reader in assessing if a model is replicable to their context” (p. 143).
  15. Monitoring: What Oversight Will Be Performed, What Actions Will Be Taken Under What Circumstances, and by Whom

    1. Who monitors or oversees the mentoring model? What governance structures are in place?
  16. Termination: How Relationships Are Ended

    1. How are the relationships ended? Are they formal? Informal?