Dean’s Corner

The Value and Impact of Mentorship in SNHS
The literature is clear on faculty mentorship. When faculty have a strong mentor and mentoring infrastructure, this positively influences career guidance, faculty advancement, faculty retention, career satisfaction and attachment to academic institutions. The literature is also clear about student mentorship. When students have outstanding faculty mentorship, this improves their probability of academic success, helps to guide students through their career trajectory, improves retention of women, under-represented minority students and sexual minority students and also builds students’ personal life trajectories.

The School of Nursing and Health Studies embraces mentoring intensively as both an art and a science. Each faculty member is assigned 2 faculty mentors who form a mentorship team and meet monthly with faculty members for the course of their career. Our faculty and staff also deeply engage the mentorship of students and have experienced numerous successes in this arena. For example, Dr. Jody Early, Associate Professor won the 2019 Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) award that is a national award recognizing her excellence as a mentor to students. Dr. Early was also recently featured in UWB news in a powerful video which reveals her impressive ethos of mentoring at UWB, where students are seen as equals and faculty work hard to make important connections with students.

A few other examples include Dr. Andrea Stone, Assistant Professor in the School who won the 2019 Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research & Creative Practice Mentor of the Year Award. Here, her leadership and work on the CROW (Campus Research and Observational Writings)—a campus research journal features the published research articles of students. Dr. Stone walks students through the process of writing and publishing their research in the journal–but she also empowers them to act as Associate Editors and reviewers of the journal, mentoring them with her patient and nuanced guidance. She simultaneously mentors the students in writing, research methods, the content and structure of journal articles, and fosters an understanding of numerous disciplines across Schools (the journal is open to all disciplines and Schools). She mentors the students on producing not just the research but the journal itself–the students market it and they made the website too!

Finally, faculty members mentor one another outside of formal mentoring committees. Dr. Selina Mohammed will co-teach BNURS 520, Translational Research I in Spring quarter with Dr. Claire Han, who is a new faculty instructor in SNHS. Selina is a senior faculty member who is team-teaching with our newest faculty instructor, illustrating her dedication not only to mentorship in pedagogy and technology but also to student success.

There are many more examples of powerful mentoring successes in our School including our interdisciplinary fieldwork mentoring in the Master’s of Nursing program, our monthly Scholarship meetings where a faculty member presents their pedagogical or scholarly work and receives feedback on it, or our Health Care Advisory Board members setting up time for students to shadow employees on the job and expose them to what life is really like in various health care and community health occupations. All of these stories are perfectly reflective not just of our excellence in mentoring, but are reflective of our core values that include interdisciplinarity, community engagement and social justice.

Shari L. Dworkin, PhD, MS
Dean and Professor