Educational leadership faculty explores mentoring practices in times of crisis




Photo submitted

John Pijanowski, Kara Lasater, Kevin Brady and Christy Smith

Faculty of the University of Arkansas Pedagogical direction say intimate, caring mentor-mentee relationships are crucial — especially during a crisis — in their preparation courses.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, four professors from the program conducted a self-assessment of their mentoring practices, and their findings were recently published in the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education. The article, titled “Redefining mentorship in times of crisis: Responding to COVID-19 through compassionate relationships“, explores mentoring practices in times of crisis and examines how mentoring could be improved to help students earn educational leadership degrees.

“When mentorship is grounded in mutual compassion, intimacy, vulnerability, and support for the holistic well-being of others, it can strengthen and support mentees and mentors during times of immense stress and difficulty,” said said Kara Lasater, co-author and assistant professor. in the program. “COVID-19 has challenged us and our students in unprecedented ways. But it has also created great opportunities for us to connect with each other in deeply meaningful ways.”

U of A professors Christy Smith, John Pijanowski and Kevin Brady, all in the College of Education and Health Professions, are also co-authors. Smith said it was powerful to reflect on the impact of faculty mentoring practices on the wider educational community.

“Each of our graduating students are educators who work in schools as teachers or administrators, so they’re on the frontlines of the pandemic,” she said. “The realization that how we supported our students would have a ripple effect on their ability to help the teachers and students they work with was nothing short of humbling.”

For the final version of the article, the editor asked the authors to describe their working relationship that made this kind of collaborative thinking possible. As the authors stated in their article, “Without a doubt, we respect everyone’s professional abilities, but, more importantly, we value everyone’s kindness, humility, support, reliability and caring. . These relationships manifest in our co-construction of the curriculum, mentorship around teaching and collaborative research efforts. Thanks to our trusted relationships and history of working together, we easily fell into dialogue about our experiences with students during the pandemic.

The educational leadership graduate program prepares students for various leadership roles such as principal or school superintendent, as well as federal and state government positions in education and faculty positions in education superior.

The program was recently ranked #27 in the country among “Education Administration and Supervision” programs in 2021 US News and World Report’s “Best online programs” ranking.

Brady, program coordinator, is pleased with the increase in the national ranking. He believes the program’s intentional focus on innovative online teaching, combined with quality mentoring interactions with students, are two main factors in the program’s growing reputation as a leader in the field of education. educational administration and supervision.

Pedagogical direction is one of the largest graduate programs at the U of A College of Education and Health Professions. As of fall 2020, 125 students were enrolled in the following programs:

Janice G. Ball