What does mentorship mean to you? #CLDE16

By Claire King, EdD, Assistant Professor, Experiential Education, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College at CUNY and CLDE 2016 Planning Committee Member

People always raise their eyebrows when I say that Martin Luther King and Gandhi were my mentors in college. Like, “You knew them?!” Now, I am “old” by some standards, but no, I’m not that old and neither Dr. King nor the Mahatma knew I existed.  But, I can say with emphatic certainty, I knew them and was—and continue to be- deeply influenced by their words and actions.

Being a mentor or a mentee doesn’t always have to assume a relationship—it can be a unilateral study of character, values, works and example. But imagine how much more powerful that type of mentorship would be if I were really able to have sat down with King even one afternoon for coffee or had the chance to ask Gandhi a single question about his practice. Mentorship doesn’t have to be a lifelong balance on a tall pedestal, nor does a mentee have to assume the role of a supplicant naïf to an all-knowing oracle. Sometimes the best “ment-ing” (both “or” and “ee”) happens when we arrive at a shared destination with a question or an experience and the open disposition to respond or receive.

In recognition of the fact that the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meetings have been known to attract some of the best thinkers and doers in civic engagement in higher education around, let’s think globally and act locally on our belief in collective wisdom.

Become a Mentor / Mentee at the #CLDE16 Meeting in Indianapolis this June 2-4, 2016.  Mentorship is a reciprocal relationship built between two individuals – one possessing knowledge and experience in a particular field who is willing to share and one who has the enthusiasm and awareness of the need to gain such experience and knowledge. Much like our relationships with community partners, a successful relationship is one that is meaningful, reciprocal, sustainable, and equitable.

To be a mentor or mentee at the 2016 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting in Indianapolis, submit your interest below. The #CLDE2016 Planning Committee will do its Match.com-best to link questions to experience, mentor to mentee.

Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Mentor/Mentee Interest Form