September 5th, 2017

Mentoring and Communities of Practice

As indicated in the objectives for this Orientation, we hope to facilitate one or more mentoring relationships and the development of one or more communities of practice. Both types of activities have been shown to be effective in supporting professional development across a range of fields. And both of these activities are ones that have the potential to become somewhat self-sustaining and continuing beyond this one-semester Orientation.


The UH Center on Teaching Excellence offers a Faculty Mentoring Program.  New faculty are contacted by the Mentoring Program in their first semester and are offered to be paired with a mentor — a UH tenured faculty member, typically from a unit other than your department and other than College of Education.  Having a mentor who is not a faculty member in the College provides an outside perspective from another UH academic. The outside relationship can be particularly important if difficulties arise within a faculty member’s department/unit.  If you have not been assigned a mentor yet or contacted by the Faculty Mentoring Program, you may contact them at

In addition to the UH Faculty Mentoring Program, new faculty are encouraged to develop a mentoring relationship with a faculty member within their own department, or within the College of Education.  Experiences from other mentoring programs indicate that supporting and lasting mentoring relationships are most likely to develop when the mentor and mentee (or protege) share some common personal and/or professional characteristics and interests, such as gender, marital status, profession, hobbies, and family. Try to select someone you respect and view as “like yourself,” along some dimension(s) that you value.

Activity #2 (complete by 9/20/17)

Get together with a COE Colleague who may serve in the role of mentor for you. Take a walk, meet for coffee, etc. and begin planning a scholarly activity that you will conduct together (e.g., paper, study, grant proposal).  Be sure to set your follow-up meeting time before you conclude your get-together.

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice are groups of individuals who come together to develop knowledge and skills in a common area of interest. Throughout the semester you’ll be asked to contribute to Discussion Forums for the primary purpose of getting to know one another. As you come to know each other — your personalities, skills, and talents — hopefully you’ll forge some pairings or small group relationships that function as Communities of Practice.

Activity #3 (complete by 9/20/17)

In the Discussion Forum link on the Laulima site for this Orientation, contribute two posts:

  1. Describe how your get together went with your potential COE mentor.  How did you feel about it afterwards?  What could have you done differently to yield a more satisfactory interaction?  What will you do next time to help support the development of a mentoring relationship?
  2. Comment and provide feedback to another faculty member’s post in this Discussion Thread.
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