Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Guidelines for Research Mentorship: Development and Implementation

Article excerpt

The authors describe guidelines endorsed by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision for research mentorship, including characteristics of mentors and mentees. Suggestions for implementing the guidelines at the individual, program, institution, and professional levels are focused on enhancing mentoring relationships as well as mentees' research quality and productivity. Research on research mentoring, based on the guidelines, is encouraged.


There is growing evidence that research mentoring has a critical and distinct role in enhancing the research productivity of graduate students and new faculty members (e.g., Briggs & Pehrsson, 2008; de Janasz & Sullivan, 2004; Dohm & Cummings, 2002; Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002; Okech, Astramovich, Johnson, Hoskins, & Rubel, 2006). Hollingsworth and Fassinger (2002) found that research mentoring mediated the relationship between the research training environment and counseling psychology students' research productivity, suggesting that "a research mentoring relationship is the vehicle through which the training environment has greatest impact on individual students' research production" (p. 327). In counselor education, research mentoring was highlighted by new faculty members in a 6-year longitudinal study. Magnuson, Norem, and Lonneman-Doroff (2009) reported that, at each stage of data collection, faculty members indicated that supportive mentoring relationships were critical to their success and satisfaction. Such support is vital because the development of an independent research program is a challenging task for new faculty (Evans & Cokley, 2008).

Not all graduate students and new faculty members, however, have a research mentor, or an effective mentor in any area (Johnson, 2002; Okech et al., 2006; Rheineck & Roland, 2008; Rice, Sorcinelli, & Austin, 2000). In a survey of 139 pretenured counselor educators (Briggs & Pehrsson, 2008), 77% of the participants reported that they received research mentorship, but only 30% said the relationship was focused on their needs. Respondents also indicated that they received more guidance about the promotion and tenure process than they did about research methodology, data analysis, and scientific integrity. Lack of research mentoring is particularly an issue for female and African American faculty, including counselor educators. In a survey of 115 tenured and untenured female faculty (Hill, Leinbaugh, Bradley, & Hazier, 2005), 70% said that there was little or no research collaboration in their programs, and only 45% reported that mentoring programs were available to them. Similarly, tenured and untenured African American counselor educators reported that the lack of mentorship and collegial support was a major barrier to attaining promotion and tenure; they rated research and publishing as their highest source of stress. Low research productivity for some counselor education faculty and doctoral students (Benishek & Chessler, 2005; Bradley & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004; Hill et al., 2005) could be linked to the lack of effective research mentoring.

Several authors have suggested reasons for "the discrepancy between the promotion and the practice" (Black, Suarez, & Medina, 2004, p. 44) of research mentoring: Research mentoring is poorly defined (Black et al., 2004) ; guidelines and criteria for evaluating effectiveness of research mentoring are limited (Brown, Daly, & Leong, 2009) ; and few professionals have received training to be a mentor, which could lead to negative outcomes for mentors and mentees (Johnson, 2002;Johnson & Huwe, 2002). Some authors have offered preliminary suggestions for addressing these deficits. Regarding mentoring counseling professionals in general, Black et al. (2004) presented a set of questions to guide mentors and proteges through a self-assessment of their strengths and limitations related to their respective roles, their knowledge about mentoring, expectations, and goals for the mentoring relationship. …