Leveling the Playing Field

A Conceptual Framework for Formal Faculty Mentorship in Social Work


  • Dana Holcomb Ferris State University




formal mentorship, Relational Cultural Theory, NASW Code of Ethics, CSWE EPAS, social work faculty


Despite the numerous benefits of formal mentorship for all faculty, it remains underutilized within the academy. Specifically, this lack of critical support leaves historically marginalized groups, particularly women, underrepresented minorities, as well as part-time, intermittent, adjunct, or non-tenure track faculty, to struggle with navigating the challenging climate of higher education. To counter these inherent power differentials, this article asserts that formal mentorship is the responsibility of social work educators. This article presents a conceptual framework that integrates Relational Cultural Theory (RCT), the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics’ core values, and the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) as a mechanism to support faculty through formal mentorship practices. This article advocates for an amendment to the EPAS to include formal faculty mentorship within accredited programs.


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