Abram Anders

Research and Media

Inclusive Mentoring: Self-Directed and Strength-Based Methods

Anders, A. and Walton, A. (2022, March). Inclusive mentoring: self-directed and strengths-based methods for supporting graduate teaching assistants. 2022 CCCC Annual Convention. Virtual.

In this interactive session, participants will explore innovative methods used for a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) mentoring program. Our approach is based on “intentional change theory,” “compassionate coaching,” and “strength-based feedback” research which offer evidence-based approaches for promoting self-leadership and professional development. Participants will create self-directed learning plans for developing teaching skills based on a guided exploration of their ideal selves, strengths, and personal goals. Additionally, we’ll collaborative design mentoring case studies and communication strategies for compassionately coaching our colleagues. The facilitators will also briefly present reflections and research results from a study based on this methodology involving 3 cohorts of GTA mentees teaching in a first and second-year multimodal composition program.

Human-centered design for inclusive mentoring

Anders, A., Walton, A., ​​Cabada, C., Deam, N., Dux Speltz, E., Guskaroska, A., Everett, R., Muhammad, A., Payton, C., Weber, J. (2022, March). Human-centered design for inclusive mentoring of graduate teaching assistants. The Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity (ISCORE). Iowa State University. Virtual.

This presentation will report on a human-centered design process used to redesign a mentoring program for first-year graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in the English Department at Iowa State University. This spring semester program serves 20-24 new GTAs each year. It is based on a self-directed approach to personal development and a strengths-based approach to peer coaching. In our annual review, we identified opportunities to further strengthen inclusivity and promote participant engagement.

To further these goals, the program leaders invited previous mentoring program participants and current mentors to participate as co-researchers and co-designers in a review and redesign of program activities. This process was supported by a review of research on inclusive mentoring and faculty development with an emphasis on issues of race and ethnicity. Our team explored relevant research findings and collectively reimagined the mentoring program structure and activities through a design sprint employing human-centered design methods.

This presentation will share the details of our redesigned mentoring program as well as recommendations based on the research literature. It will also feature reflections from peer mentors and project participants on the ways in which inclusive approaches to program design can further the goals articulated in Iowa State’s principles of community.

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