Mentoring in Literacy Education: A Commentary from Graduate Students, Untenured Professors, and Tenured Professors

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This commentary continues a dialogue which began among literacy teacher educators attending an alternative format session about mentoring in the academy at a national conference. Literacy teacher educators participated in an informal discussion centered on the nature of mentoring in the academy for doctoral students, untenured professors, and tenured professors. Doctoral students focused on their changing identities and roles in the academy, their concerns about navigating the political infrastructure of academia, and the importance of assuming a proactive stance towards obtaining mentoring, especially for part‐time doctoral students. Untenured professors focused on the ways they were inventing and reinventing themselves within the power and politics of academia and their need for more holistic mentoring during these turbulent times. Tenured professors were able to embed mentoring experiences into their scholarly work and find ways to benefit or learn from mentoring experiences. These mentors also found comfort in more informal mentoring that included self‐initiated endeavors centered on mutual interests. Our commentary draws on these discussions as well as the professional literature on mentoring to describe the importance of mutual trust and reciprocity in mentoring throughout all stages of academia with attention to cultural and linguistic diversity.