Document Type

Contribution to Book



Publication Date



Parlor Press

Source Publication

Stories of Mentoring: Theory and Praxis

Source ISSN



Mentoring relationships, those meaningful and often affective connections that characterize our work with students and colleagues, by their very nature, defy quantification. Even as we use the banking metaphor to describe our “investment” in others, the “return” for our time, and the “credit” we deserve, many of us who value mentoring for its qualitative and interpersonal nature resist putting our work into numeric terms. Yet, in an academic culture that asks us to measure our contributions and quantify our merit, we must prove cultural capital: that we have the currency to back our reputation and contributions. Like business models that illustrate income and expenses, the curriculum vita communicates to others how we spend our professional time and energy. We must demonstrate our worth within the academic world if we are to secure tenure and promotion (like funding for a business). While we certainly believe that academic review should move away from such business and banking models, we recognize that to make such change, we must establish ourselves within this system by conveying our worth to others. To do so, we propose ways of changing the curriculum vita and review portfolio to make mentoring count and to establish the value of mentoring as a scholarly activity that must be valued because it is valuable to the academy.


Published version. "Making It Count: Mentoring as Cultural Currency," excerpted with permission from Stories of Mentoring: Theory and Praxis. Eds. Patricia Sullivan, Catherine Hobbs, Thomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2008: 301-305. Publisher Link. © 2008 Parlor Press. Used with permission.