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K-State Today

October 30, 2012

Donnelly presents at University of New Mexico mentoring conference

Submitted by Laura Donnelly

Laura Donnelly, assistant professor of dance in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, presented "Mentoring to Mastery, Creating Transformational Relationships Using the Medieval Apprentice-Journeyman-Master Model" at a mentoring conference on Oct. 25.

Donnelly's presentation focused on the interpersonal dynamics that create a successful learning relationship for both students and instructors.

The mentor-mentee relationship is dynamic and fluid. The best experiences create an environment that fosters learning for both the mentee and the mentor. Often this is the beginning of a lifelong friendship and professional association.

How do we create the type of learning environment that leads to mutual growth? The medieval apprentice-journeyman-master model offers important information for both the mentor and the mentee about the stages each relationship passes through and the challenges that can arise as both people grow and change.

Using Roger Lipsey's essay "Joys of the Apprentice, Sorrows of the Journeyman" as a starting point, the presentation looked at history to define a modern template for dynamic mentoring. According to Lipsey, tradition, meaning "the given over" and "the passed on" implies teachers and students, mastery and apprenticeship, authority and receptivity.
"Apprenticeship, journeyman, master; these are the stages of initiation into craft tradition and, by extension, into any tradition that demands effort over long periods of time," Lipsey said.

Using this model to investigate the beginning, middle and conclusion of the modern day mentoring relationship, excitement, anticipation, struggle, growth, dependence and independence, disappointment and self-mastery are explored in Donnelly's presentation.
Discussion questions supported participants as they identified these stages and challenges in their current and recent mentoring relationships. Participants were encouraged to share solutions they have used as well as brainstorm methods for addressing new challenges using this model. An additional goal was to establish a support network for participants who continue to develop mentoring relationships. 

The three-day conference was attended by more than 800 people from both the public and private sectors as well as academia. Presentors from China and Europe brought perspectives from other countries. Donnelly also served as a peer reviewer for conference submissions.