April 26, 2021

How mentorship can unleash innovation and entrepreneurship

Conference May 3-5 on Post-Secondary Learning and Teaching explores the power of positive mentoring
TI with Lorelli Nowell
Taylor Institute with Lorelli Nowell (inset).

“When people think about mentorship, they often think about it being a structured one-on-one relationship between someone with experience and someone with less experience,” says Dr. Lorelli Nowell, PhD, assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing.

“However, mentorship can take many forms and can be valuable across career stages and levels of experience. Various mentorship models can be used in higher education to engage in meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships that support growth and development. I am hoping that through my keynote we can explore the ways in which various mentorship models might be introduced and strengthened in different stages and personal contexts in higher education.”

Nowell, pictured above, will present as one of the keynote speakers at the 2021 University of Calgary Conference on Post-Secondary Learning and Teaching, Mentorship in Higher Education. The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning will host this conference from May 3 to 5, and Nowell’s presentation will address possibilities for new mentorship models and evolution of existing models within higher education.

The conference will examine mentorship as a relational process that exists in both formal and informal academic contexts. With over 80 sessions across six threads, the diverse range of presenters will present on topics ranging from digital pedagogies to mental health and wellness to Indigenous perspectives on mentorship.

Mentorship in Higher Education will position its topic as one that is relational, evolving, and multifaceted. Presentations will consider mentorship not only within post-secondary environments, but also as an avenue toward entrepreneurial innovation and career development.

Mentorship is dynamic, evolving

In the summer of 2020, Nowell met Sandra Carless, when Carless was applying to the PhD program in the Faculty of Nursing. Nowell became Carless’s supervisor in September 2020, and the pair now meet every two weeks to discuss research. Nowell also helps guide Carless with strategies for navigating the newly online social contexts of post-secondary education. This mentor and mentee share a passion for teaching, which plays into their research interests.

In September 2021, Nowell will be mentoring two new PhD students, both whom Carless has offered to serve as a peer mentor. Nowell sees this as a meaningful enactment of mentorship as a dynamic, evolving concept.

Like Nowell, Carless believes mentorship plays an integral role in higher education, specifically in allowing students to prepare for opportunities after graduation. 

Mentoring, within post-secondary teaching and learning, fosters career improvement and development as mentees explore their options and develop new skill sets,” she says. “I view mentorship as a type of symbiotic relationship where the mentor and mentee are able to learn from each other's experiences and perspectives.”

She sees Nowell as an exemplary mentor.

“Dr. Nowell demonstrates an approach to mentorship that allows me to explore the frontiers of nursing research/practice and engage in safe and meaningful dialogue, with her, about my experiences,” Carless says. “She leads by example, offers advice and guidance, gives honest and supportive feedback, and role models the epitome of nursing leadership at every interaction.

She is there in my times of strife and celebrates my accomplishments along the way.

Nowell believes that “if teachers and institutional leaders all engage in and support mentorship to foster growth and development, then students become the ultimate beneficiaries. Mentorship in post-secondary learning and teaching can also help create communities committed to helping one another develop personally and professionally while mitigating feelings of isolation that can occur in higher education.”

Conference on Post-Secondary Learning and Teaching May 3-5

Psychology of optimal mentorship, May 4
Dr. Laura Lunsford, Campbell University, North Carolina

What if every mentoring interaction you experienced was energizing, uplifting and motivating? How might such interactions improve your students’ experiences and teach them how to become effective mentors? This interactive lecture highlights the importance of evocative environments, which can rejuvenate and re-energize mentoring participants. Learn how you can develop and promote optimal mentoring relationships through rapport, collaboration and high-quality interactions. Delegates will explore ideas about how they can enhance their ways of knowing, doing and connecting through optimal mentorships.

Beyond tradition: Innovative mentorship models for higher education, May 5
Dr. Lorelli Nowell, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary

Mentorship can be valuable across career stages and disciplines in higher education. Various mentorship models can be used to engage in meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships that support growth and development. During this keynote, we will explore a variety of evidence-based mentorship models that can be used across higher education and identify ways various mentorship models might be introduced and strengthened in different stages and personal contexts. Participants will develop the tools to reflect on their mentorship experiences while exploring how to identify and embrace various types of mentorship to foster productive growth and development across higher education.

Registration deadline: Apr. 29. Register here.