Resistance to Mentoring…is futile? or too easy?

  • Faculty often complain that graduate students are unwilling to take their advice, are passive-aggressive, or otherwise exhibit “resistance to mentoring”.   This is often interpreted in the sense of  “resistance to being mentored”, as meaning the student “doesn’t care”, and is the source of disappointment and resentment on part of the faculty member.
  • Resistance to being mentored might have many explanations, including genuine lack of interest.  Stereotype threat is a well-documented process that might make students distrustful of their research advisors, but there could well be other psychosocial mechanisms that induce resistance to being mentored.
  • But the other sense is “resistance to mentoring others”, in which the might-be mentor actually resists mentoring the protege, or sees mentoring in a very narrow way that inhibits or precludes effective mentoring.

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