Global and cross-cultural perspective on mentoring in higher education

Year: 2012

Author: Johannessen, Gloria Guzman, Zajda, Joseph

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Globalisation as a neo-liberal and bourgeois hegemony, legitimates an exploitative system (Apple, 2002; McLaren, 2005; Zajda, 2005; Zajda, 2010). The changes and challenges posed by the global economy and the knowledge society have resulted in four kinds of responses in the higher education sector. Firstly, the competitiveness-driven reforms, which are productivity-centred (Carnoy, 1999 ) were prompted by changing demands for knowledge (credentialism) and skills. Secondly, finance-driven reforms were due to cuts in public-sector and private sector reduced funding and resources available for financing the IHE sector. Thirdly, equity-driven reforms were designed to improve equity and social mobility. Fourthly, excellence and quality-driven reforms and the quest for higher learning standards in teaching and learning were due to globalisation of education and training (OECD, 2008; Zajda, 2010). All of these have implications for faculty mentoring in higher education in the global economy. Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) in the United States and in universities abroad face new challenges posed by the new global society of the twenty first century. Among these challenges, one of the most crucial is how to maintain and continue to build these institutions' intellectual capital. To meet these challenges, these institutions' leaderships should pay attention to the individual and collective wisdom of their faculties because they are the bridge between their institutions' missions and student and regional, national, and world communities. The researchers discuss the impact of globalisation on education and its impact on faculty at Institutions of Higher Education, particularly on new faculty. The article examines the type and quality of faculty mentorships for new faculty currently implemented in institutions of higher education. A mixed-method research design served to investigate mentoring practices and faculty experiences in formal and informal mentoring in the United States. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) were utilized to determine if significant difference existed in responses from faculty across different academic rankings and ethnicities. A survey was used to gather information on faculties' perceptions on the effectiveness of formal and informal mentoring in their own institutions and across institutions. The respondents had the opportunity to provide comments and to narrate their own mentoring experiences. Statistical analyses corroborated current findings from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 2010, which showed the continued marginalization of women and minorities. It was found that IHEs that incorporate, support and actively engage formal and informal faculty mentoring as a priorities and as a vital part of the professional infrastructure of their faculties' development, benefit from their faculties intellectual capabilities. The results from the survey and the body of literature that was reviewed showed that women and minority faculty continue to have their talents and knowledge more likely minimized, and marginalized (Zajda & Freeman, 2009). Recommendations are given for the enrichment of IHEs' faculty mentorship programs that may meet the demand of the global society of the 21st. century and for equitable opportunities for new faculty, with particular attention to women and minorities.