Journal of Dental Education
Thikriat Al-Jewair, Amy Kristina Herbert, V. Leroy Leggitt, Tawana Lee Ware, Maritzabel Hogge, Cynthia Senior, Rebecca K. Carr and John D. Da Silva
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the faculty mentoring practices in seven dental schools in the U.S. A 34-item survey was administered electronically to dental faculty members of all ranks, tracks, and job categories in seven dental schools using faculty listservs. Survey questions addressed current mentoring practices in which the faculty members were involved; their perceptions of those mentoring practices; their perceived characteristics of an ideal mentoring program, mentor, and mentee; perceived best practices; and respondents’ demographics. The survey was conducted from October 2017 to February 2018. A total of 154 surveys were completed (response rate 22%). Over 58% (90/154) of the respondents reported receiving no mentoring; 31.9% (49/154) said they received informal mentoring; and 9.7% (15/154) received formal mentoring. Of the 64 respondents who received mentoring, both formal and informal, 92.2% (59/64) were full-time faculty, and 7.8% (5/64) were part-time faculty (p=0.001). Approximately 39% of the respondents indicated that their mentoring program was not overseen by anyone and that participation was voluntary. The top three perceived benefits of mentoring were increased overall professional development, development of a career plan, and increased professional networks. The three most important characteristics of an ideal mentoring program for the respondents were a program based on the needs of the mentee, a mentor who has the desire to help the mentee, and a mentee who is eager to learn. The results of this study showed a very low level of formal or informal faculty mentoring programs in the dental schools surveyed. Future studies are needed to determine best practices and strategies to expand and enhance mentoring of faculty members.