The current investigation was designed to examine faculty perceptions and practices of mentoring in the faculty–TA (teaching assistant) relationship. A survey of faculty members at a large Midwestern research institution revealed that most faculty members considered themselves to be, or wished to be, mentors to their teaching assistants. The faculty members’ actions as ‘mentors’, however, often were not congruent with the practices of effective mentorship. The survey indicated a great need for faculty guidance in how to forge and maintain mutually beneficial mentoring relationships with their teaching assistants. An examination of faculty and TA handbooks and departmental guidelines from large research institutions further underscored this point; while handbooks directed to TAs abound on this subject—generally placing the burden of maintaining an effective faculty–TA relationship on the TA—very few faculty manuals even mention TAs. These findings are interpreted through Nyquist and Wulff’s model of TA development and faculty interaction.
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