role model

Higher Ed: Couldn’t We All Use A Little Help? The Impact Of Effective Mentoring

What comes to mind when you hear the word “mentor?” Perhaps a bespectacled older teacher or other professional offering sage advice to a younger student? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton  discuss what makes a good mentor (and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with age or specific experience).

Ed wants to make a few things clear about mentors and mentoring up front.

First of all, mentors and role models are not the same thing.

“When I think of a role model, that person can be far away, could be someone who I don’t even know but I aspire to be, or I see and see elements of that I want to replicate, ” says Ed. “A mentor is much closer. There is a person who not only do I know, but the person has taken the time to know me and then to offer wisdom, counsel, advice, guidance and so forth.”

Secondly, mentors of any age – not just more seasoned teachers and other professionals – have something to offer.

“I don’t think that a mentor necessarily has to be someone who is older than you,” Ed believes. “It’s the perspective they bring and the questions they ask and the inspiration they offer.”

Ed believes a strong mentor-mentee relationship entails much more than the exchange of information and advice.

“It’s a safe relationship where no one’s going to be judgmental,” says Ed. “But in fact, listen – ideally open mindedly – and then ask questions. Then start to say ‘Okay, let me probe you. If you really want to do that, what about this? Why are you thinking that way?’ Then all of a sudden, it provokes thought, which is of course what all things should do.”

Listen to the full episode to hear about some of Ed’s experiences being a mentor and having a mentor. He firmly believes people can benefit from a mentor’s guidance at any age or stage of school and work. It is also time to gear up for the solution to the most recent puzzler.

This episode was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.

Higher Ed: The Teacher-Student Relationship

A college student requested a “Higher Ed” discussion about meaningful student-teacher relationships – both how to form them, and how those relationships could impact grades and behavior. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how students and teachers can best engage each other to insure that dynamic goes well. The relationship between teacher and student can be complex.  Teachers can be mentors, advisors and role models to students. But teachers also grade students’ work and are thus in an assessor role as well.  And, as Ed points out, those two roles can sometimes be in conflict. Ed and Jennifer discuss  ways that students and teachers can build relationships that go well for both sides. Ed’s tips for teachers: don’t play mind games or play favorites with students. His tips for students: engage teachers about the material and show  enthusiasm and curiosity.  Listen to the full episode to hear more about teacher-student relationships and the one student behavior Ed won’t tolerate. It is also time to solve the mystery from the last episode about the scarf, carrot and coal.

This episode was recorded Feb. 28, 2018.