Perceptions of academic staff about mentoring in a Faculty of Dentistry in a public university in South Africa
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INTRODUCTION: Mentoring programs contribute to the development and retention of academics in dental education. OBJECTIVES: To describe the perceptions of academic staff of the Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Western Cape, South Africa, about a funded pilot mentoring process. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, purposive sampling qualitative design. METHODS: Twenty mentees who had engaged in the funded mentoring process were targeted for semi-structured interviews, to describe their perceptions about the ongoing mentorship process, experiences in other mentoring processes, and expectations about future formal mentoring in the faculty. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively, while content analysis of the qualitative data was performed to identify themes FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: Perceptions of eight mentees, aged 37 to 59 years and spent between 3 and over 20 years in the faculty, were categorized into two themes - 'A welcome initiative' and 'Mentorship seen as a holistic experience'. The program provided the much-needed space where mentees felt they could seek guidance for their development. Expectations from a future formal program included assistance in meeting institutional and personal demands. Participants' expectations were broader than what the pilot program offered, though the benefits reported were similar to earlier studies.