Mentoring Online Faculty: Minimal Interactions for Maximal Effect

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

This conversation will focus on strategies for mentoring online faculty that find the balance between strategic, just-in-time support and over-engagement that may distract faculty from focusing on supporting and facilitating student learning.  The goal of the conversation will be to identify minimal techniques and communication patterns for effective faculty mentoring.


Dr. Bonnie Mullinix is currently Core faculty in the PhD Education Program at Walden University. She has worked in Education for nearly 40 years and in Higher Education for over half of that time working as faculty and particularly with faculty and curriculum development efforts. She is also Sr. Associate with the TLT Group, an affiliation that has been in place since 2008. Bonnie holds a doctorate and masters in Education from the Center for International Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a focus on Adult and International Education and her Bachelors from University of California, Santa Cruz in an individualized major in Transdsiciplinary Studies. Since 1986 Dr. Mullinix has presented more than 60 professional papers at national and international conferences and designed, produced, edited and/or published over 50 articles, chapters, books, monographs, manuals and training guides since 1981. She has been active in multiple professional organizations presenting, reviewing, chairing and/or holding multiple officer positions (Professional and Organizational Development(POD) Network in Higher Education, American Educational Research Association - AERA SIGS: Chair, Faculty Training, Evaluation and Development, Co-secretary/ treasurer/ webmaster, Adult Education and Adult Literacy, and Research Focus on Africa and the Caribbean; Society for Research in Adult Development (SRAD), and the Comparative and International Education Society).

Extended Abstract

The presenter will describe the challenge of mentoring online faculty in a way that addresses the need to strategically support faculty without distracting them from focusing on supporting and facilitating student learning. Examples of a structure that proposes to manage this balance will be shared along with a tentative framework of considerations to guide the discussion.  Key questions will then be posed to participants to guide the discussion:

  1. What are the critical components of just-in-time mentoring support?

  2. What are the potential issues of over-engagement that might distract faculty from their primary focus on effective teaching and student learning?

  3. How do you find the ‘sweet spot’ of balance between these two?

  4. What criteria, indicators and/or considerations should guide mentoring interactions?

  5. What other considerations are relevant to this discussion?

Ideas generated during the discussion will be recorded and shared with participants. Participants will conclude the conversation by identifying the new ideas they have discovered that can be applied to their individual institutional contexts.