Mentorship of Novice Lecturers at the University of Zambia and the Copperbelt University
This article draws on the findings of a study conducted in 2011 to examine perceptions of lecturers towards mentorship of novice lecturers at the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University. Data were collected from 47 respondents. Two separate self-completion questionnaires, one for senior academic staff and another for novice lecturers, both with quantitative and qualitative elements, were used to the collect data. Data revealed that both the senior academic staff and novice lecturers perceived mentorship to be necessary for the professional development of novice lecturers. However, the data further revealed that the absence of policy on mentorship of novice lecturers, indifferent attitudes by senior academic staff, overrunning programme schedules encountered by both senior academic staff and novice lecturers and unwillingness by some novice lecturers to be mentored negatively affected the mentorship of novice lecturers. Those who provided mentorship did so informally on humanitarian grounds. On the basis of these findings, the study recommends that the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University should develop policy on mentorship and that mentorship be included among the duties of senior academic staff to avoid unscheduled work overloads. In so doing, the two universities might establish mentoring of novice lecturers as a norm. To achieve this the paper recommends that senior academic staff should be trained in various aspects such as purposes of mentorship, needs of novice lecturers and benefits of mentorship. Lastly, the two universities should consider making mentorship of novice lecturers count towards one’s promotion.