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Enhancing university teaching and learning through mentoring: A systematic review of the literature

Gabriela Pleschová (Centre for Development of PhD. Students, Institute of Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Lynn McAlpine (Oxford Learning Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 8 June 2015

735

Abstract

Purpose

Mentoring has been increasingly used in educational development to facilitate transfer of knowledge from programs for higher education teachers to their pedagogic practice. However, studies are missing which would critically assess the outcomes of mentoring in programs for university teachers. The purpose of this paper is to systematically review existing research on mentoring in the context of educational development in higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a careful search strategy, 17 relevant scholarly sources were selected and analyzed to document the results of mentoring at individual, departmental and institutional levels.

Findings

Among the striking findings was the lack of clarity or definition surrounding mentoring and similar terms, coaching and tutoring and the lack of methodological rigour in many studies. However, those methodologically more advanced studies suggest that mentoring can become a valuable component of educational development programs. As reported by previous research, mentoring can: enhance university teachers’ cognitive abilities, beliefs and attitudes; improve the effectiveness of teaching; increase teachers’ capability to research teaching and learning; enhance mentoring skills; and improve the overall teaching climate at universities.

Practical implications

Categorization of different types of outcomes of mentoring in educational development can help the practitioners engaged in introducing or re-designing educational development programs with a mentoring element.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic review of the studies discussing the process, value and outcomes of teacher mentoring to improve pedagogical practice at the university level.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This publication was supported by the European Union and the European Social Fund. Modern education for the knowledge-based society/Project is co-financed from EU resources. The authors would also like to thank Frances Kochan for her useful comments on the earlier versions of this study.

Citation

Pleschová, G. and McAlpine, L. (2015), "Enhancing university teaching and learning through mentoring: A systematic review of the literature", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 107-125. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMCE-06-2014-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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