The Importance of Accessibility

April 17, 2014

Frequent and meaningful contact between individuals is essential for the creation of relationships.

All good friendships only exist as a consequence of the time and energy spent developing them. The first step towards the creation of this bond this is openness. A mentoring relationship is very similar in many ways to a friendship. Mentors who are open and easily accessible are usually the most effective. In his book On Being a Mentor (2007), W. Brad Johnson (a former speaker at the UNM Mentoring Conference) provides some tips for academic mentors on the importance of accessibility.

  • Maintain physical availability in the form of real office hours

  • Engage students in conversations by seeking them out and “checking in” from time to time

  • Be prepared to share more of oneself than is required by law, university policy, or course syllabi

  • Manifest an attitude of invitation and interest that encourages student contact

(Johnson 46-47)

His points seem to promote the importance of the personal side of a mentoring relationship. Mentors who are more accessible and spend more time with their protégés likely know them better. As a result, the mentee is able to be more open with the mentor, and the mentor is able to provide better help and advice. According to Johnson, Mentors who place their protégés first increase the chances of having a successful mentoring experience. 



Johnson, W. B. (2007). What Mentors Do: Mentoring Functions. On being a mentor: a guide for higher education faculty. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.