The Plank Center is committed to developing the next generation of leaders and advancing the profession. It is our honor to recognize six leaders whose commitment to mentoring generates a powerhouse of influence and accelerates success in our profession.
Our question and answer series introduces the 2015 Milestones in Mentoring award recipients.
Meet Dr. Glen T. Cameron.
Dr. Glen T. Cameron is a professor and the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research at the Missouri School of Journalism. He also is founder and co-director of the Health Communication Research Center at the University of Missouri.
Dr. Cameron is this year’s recipient of the “Milestones in Mentoring” Educator Award. This award goes to educators who have been instrumental in mentoring students and future educators. This award is named in honor of Dr. Bruce K. Berger, an exceptional public relations leader and educator. Dr. Cameron shares his role and advice to mentees.
What does it mean to you to be honored with the “Milestones in Mentoring” Award?
I have experienced many walks of life in and outside academia, but the most important work in my own mind has always been to teach and mentor.
When did you first realize you were a mentor and a leader?
As a Little Leaguer, I was lucky enough to get a summer job as an assistant coach for Pee-Wee Baseball. I was hooked on coaching at that point and never relented.
Describe your role as a mentor.
I make myself available in large blocks of the week and from my office, I serve as a cheerleader for discovery and a door-opener for an opportunity.
What is your biggest mentoring challenge?
I have to be honest and say it has been the sheer number of mentees. But over time, my Dean and Graduate Dean have recognized mentoring as my major contribution to building a program in public relations at a school historically known as a bastion of news reporting.
What advice would you share with new mentors?
Believe in your student’s ability to step up and work independently with close guidance. Put another, don’t take work away from students and then do not take credit for their success.
What is your advice for mentees (young professionals, students, etc.)?
Ironically, academia can be a lonely place involving solitary work in the midst of thousands. One counterforce to that isolation is to seek and develop a trusting relationship with a mentor.
What inspires or motivates you to be a mentor?
In lofty terms, it is truly a calling – what I was meant to be. Day to day, the relationships with students drive me to grow along with them so that they succeed.
What advice did you receive from your own mentor that you will always pass along to others and why?
Take your work seriously, but do not take yourself seriously.
More from Dr. Glen T. Cameron: