I recently made a /mentoring page in response to an intriguing idea Diana Kimball launched into cyberspace a few days ago. I loved the idea immediately — in part because it celebrates, and makes explicit, a form of interaction which doesn’t always get formal due in academia: we build on the insights, wisdom and guidance of those who came before us, and pay the blessings forward to those who come after us. I learned this not by being told about it, but by being shown time and again, by mentors, that it was true. I love the insight that this isn’t unique to any one field or discipline or pursuit, but intrinsic to the way we develop as individuals and groups. I also love that, like real-world mentoring, /mentoring can occupy the whole spectrum of guidance, from a helpful one-off coffee or email all the way to the deep and meaningful collegiality of equals. I’m excited to see what happens.
In that vein, here is a great article on how to review journal articles, which junior academics may find useful (I certainly did). Take-home message: be nice, be prompt. Pay it forward, pass it on.