‘Will you be my mentor?’ Feminist mentoring at mid-career for institutional change

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This collaborative paper written by mid-career and senior faculty employed in public and private institutions explores the challenges of feminist mentoring at mid-career. We engage this problematic using dialogical writing as a means to highlight our experiences and needs for mentoring, while simultaneously co-mentoring one another to protect each other from cynicism and despair. Placing these experiences and dialogues in conversation with the existing literature on mentoring, we address the ways that mentoring can both reproduce and transform the neoliberal university, while simultaneously exploring the tensions these possibilities produce in the context of mid-career feminist mentoring. We discuss particular challenges associated with mid-career mentoring, focusing primarily on our roles as feminist, anti-racist mentors to non-traditional students and junior faculty. While recognizing that there is no clear solution to the challenges of feminist mentoring and institutional change, we examine various models of mentoring, highlighting both the potential and limitations of informal mentoring in producing institutional change. Our intention is that this dialogical piece of writing allows us to support each other as we share our own reflections, while offering mentoring advice for colleagues at different career stages. While mentoring can open up the possibility for minor disruptions and is an essential coping mechanism, it is just one small part of the struggle to challenge the structural inequality of the academy.




Curran, W., Hamilton, T., Mansfield, B., Mountz, A., Walton-Roberts, M., Werner, M., & Whitson, R. (2019). ‘Will you be my mentor?’ Feminist mentoring at mid-career for institutional change. Gender, Place and Culture, 26(12), 1721–1739. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1638347

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