An observational study exploring academic mentorship in physical therapy

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BACKGROUND: Health professions faculty members often come to the academy without formal training as a professor. A challenge that exists for many new professors is the expectation that they will effectively balance their tripartite roles, which include ensuring teaching excellence, research rigor, and service to the university community Mentoring has been suggested to be a way that new faculty can be supported as they seek to meet these expectations. Currently, there is limited information on faculty mentoring for physical therapy (PT) faculty. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to discover if and to what extent mentoring is occurring in entry-level PT education for new full-time PT faculty. DESIGN: Exploratory, cross-sectional survey research design. METHODS: Using the Health Sciences Faculty Mentoring Survey, the authors gathered descriptive data regarding faculty mentoring across entry-level PT education. RESULTS: Of the 66 respondents in this study only 15 faculty members (22.7%) reported having a faculty mentor, with only 10 of these receiving mentorship from within their own PT department. While the sample size was small, the data provide specific information on current mentorship practices in the PT academic community. CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that the presence of academic mentorship in PT is limited. In light of this finding, the authors sought to provide insight on PT faculty perceptions regarding mentorship in the academy and discuss possible frameworks that can be used to develop and support the tripartite roles of novice faculty as they transition into the academy.

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Journal of Allied Health

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