Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mentor-ship: The key to Success

By Farrah Hetata, Layla Ghalleb, and Mariam El Gammal

Malak Zaalouk, from the Middle East Institute for Higher Education, raised awareness of the importance of mentorship as a key to success in a workshop held by the Center of Learning and Teaching, CLT, in The American University in Cairo, AUC library on Nov. 9. The workshop was designed for AUC professors to help them improve their teaching skills.

Dr. Zaalouk defined mentorship as “reciprocal voluntary process” which “touches things like professional, emotional and personal relationships between a mentor and a mentee.” The purpose behind it is continuous professional development to provide support from an experienced and knowledgeable person.

According to CHRONUS, Mentoring and Talent Development Solutions; mentoring improves job placement rates, increases student retention rates, engages alumni and provides an enriching college experience.

During the workshop, Dr. Zaalouk explained that the ideal conditions for successful mentorship requires trust, commitment and respect.

The characteristics of the mentor are very important for successful relationship. Some of the main characteristics are honesty and the willingness to promote others.  

Professor Mohamed Dabbour, who teaches scientific thinking, viewed the workshop as “thought provoking, makes you reflect on different practices related to mentorship.” He adds that AUC could implement the mentorship program,  “With mentorship you are able to boost both teaching and research” which he believes that AUC is paying a lot of attention to.

When asked about how friends who work together should balance between being professional while not harming the friendship, Dr. Zaalouk said, “It is doable but it requires a very high level of maturity, it needs you to be able to differentiate which hat you are wearing at which time.”

Regarding the Egyptian people’s acceptance to the idea of mentorship, Dr. Zaalouk said, “We don’t have this culture as yet. But I have to say that I am so proud of the number of the Egyptian universities who actually managed to build bridges and partnership with surrounding schools through their visits and constant support of these schools.”

For future progress, the institute is planning to widen its horizon, and apply the mentorship program in other universities in Egypt, aside from AUC.

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