The Contributions of Mentees to Mentors

I saw this blog post today in the Chronicle’s Innovation blog.  It’s so true – we learn a lot from our students and that’s one of the aspects I find most exciting about being a professor.  Thanks mentees!


By the way…I hate the term mentee, but I don’t know of a better one.  Interestingly, this was the subject of a call-in on the NPR show A Way with Words.  The show re-aired in March 2011 and my wife had me listening to a few episodes on our last road trip. A woman in a mentoring program at church called in asking for an alternatives to the term mentee (a student that is mentored by someone) because she thought mentee sounded like manatee. Apparently, mentor comes from the character Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey! Anyway, protégé was suggested as an alternative, but to me that sounds like the mentor is haughty. Apprentice was also suggested, which isn’t a bad analogy for the graduate student/major professor relationship, but somehow that’s not quite right either.  This Chronicle Innovation post really defines the graduate student/mentor relationship regardless of what we decide to call the student or mentee.   We’re part of the same team with common goals and sense of purpose. I do learn so much from my students and I hope they understand how much I appreciate them!