Group Mentoring And The Professional Socialisation Of Graduate Librarians: A Programme Evaluation
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The Group Mentoring Programme which is the subject of this evaluative research was developed and implemented under the auspices of the Australian Library and Information Association by the author and a colleague. The main aim of the Programme was to facilitate the transition of new graduates in librarianship into the profession. The objectives of the research were: (1) to conduct an impact evaluation of the Programme; (2) to explore and develop the conceptual and theoretical bases of mentoring; and (3) to identify sources of stress anticipated and experienced by new graduates in their transition into the profession. This evaluative research represents the first report in the research literature to date in which a group mentoring programme of this kind has been evaluated using a quasi-experimental research design. The population comprised all graduates in librarianship from the two Western Australian universities offering these courses in 1996. Subjects in the experimental group were self-selected, and the remainder of the population made up the comparison group. (This was divided into two groups - those who did not have a current mentor, and those who had a current mentor.) Data were collected by means of pre- and post-test questionnaires, and analysed by multiple regression analysis. The main outcome variable was measured by Hall's Professionalism Scale, a validated measuring instrument. Results indicated that the Group Mentoring Programme was effective in only one of the five domains of professionalism as measured by this scale (that is, in having a sense of 'calling' to the field). This suggested that a group mentoring programme, by itself, is not a sufficient strategy for new graduates to attain a professional identity. A four-stage model of mentoring as continuing professional development is suggested as a strategy for teaching professionalism in a more formal, structured way. Results also showed that career-development outcomes were significantly higher in the Group Mentoring participants than in the two comparison groups, indicating that group mentoring is an effective career development strategy in the first year of such a programme. The concept of mentoring is extended to include group mentoring, which incorporates the essential characteristics of mentoring; it is also suggested that group mentoring includes the potential for practising three forms of mentoring relationships: individual, peer and co-mentoring. Two broad areas for future research are suggested: longitudinal studies examining the outcomes of group mentoring, and studies extending the theoretical and conceptual bases of group mentoring.
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