In an essay entitled “Making Mentors,” written by Bey-Ling Sha, Dean of the College of Communication at Cal State Fullerton, for the Journal of Public Relations Research, Sha shares her philosophy on mentoring.
Mentoring often takes the form of advice given by one person to another, usually on an issue or situation in which the giver of the advice has more experience than the recipient, Sha wrote in the 2021 essay.
However, and this is key, the power to transform a counselor into a mentor belongs to the counselee, by acting on or considering the counsel, or by “assimilating it into his way of thinking, seeing, or being.” .
Other mentors don’t offer advice at all, Sha wrote, but are “passive mentors,” meaning the “mentor is simply acting as an example within a discipline, community, or institution.”
Sha herself has been granted the title of Mentor by several high-performing peers in her field and by alumni who have followed her advice and been influenced by her actions.
Sha received the Milestones in Mentoring Award from the prestigious Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations for her profound impact on others in academia.
The Plank Center is a global resource for professionals, educators, and students interested in advancing their careers in public relations professions.
Sha receives the Plank Center’s Bruce K. Berger Mentor Award, which honors educators who have been instrumental in mentoring students and future educators.
Sha is one of six Plank Center honorees to be honored at the Milestones in Mentoring Award Gala on November 3 in Chicago.
“I was just touched … to think that the information I was offering to people was something they found helpful,” Sha said upon receiving the award. “I really see mentoring as a two-way process. It’s not just about the person giving the advice. It’s also about the person receiving the advice and what they do with it.”
Sha was nominated for the award by two longtime colleagues: Patrick Ford, a professional in residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, and Juan-Carlos Molleda, a professor in the university’s Edwin L. Artzt Dean School of Journalism and Communication from Oregon.
Molleda, who has known Sha for 20 years, primarily through attending the same conferences, sitting on boards together, and working in the same professional organizations, said Sha has been a “student advocate” in the two decades he has known her. been.
“I’ve been fortunate to join Bey-Ling in various activities in different parts of the nation,” Molleda said. “We share our know-how and experience with others.”
When Sha accepts her award at the gala, she will be introduced by Jemalyn Chavez Griffin, a former student of Sha and now an assistant professor of practice at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Sha was Griffin’s professor at San Diego State, where Griffin was a public relations major from 2008-2011.
Sha was also Griffin’s advisor in the Public Relations Society of America.
Griffin said Sha has served her as a mentor both by example and by providing good advice.
“As a first-generation Filipino-American student and as an Asian American, it was just inspiring to me to be able to relate to someone who is part of my same culture and that’s why I really look up to her, not just her academic career, but as a female leader in higher education.”
When she takes the stage to introduce Sha during the gala, Griffin plans to tell a story from her time at San Diego State, when she was about to drop out to get a job and take care of her ailing mother to serve.
“I was struggling to pay bills and Dr. Sha was the one who said, ‘You have to stay in school because it’s the best way to change your family’s development,'” Griffin said. “I was about to drop out and she really convinced me to stay on the course and without that I wouldn’t be a professor today. I was so honored when she asked me to be her mentee presenter in Chicago.
Approximately one week after receiving the Milestones in Mentoring Award, Sha will travel to Texas to be inducted into the Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows, one of the PRSA’s highest honors.
Sha has received numerous awards in her field and is active in a variety of mentoring programs, including the Institute for Diverse Leaderships, a collaboration between the Association for Education and Journalism and Mass Communication and the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Sha contributed to the 11th edition of Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations, one of the world’s leading textbooks in the field for 70 years.
Before becoming a full-time teacher, Sha worked as a public affairs officer for the US Census Bureau, where she helped oversee the advertising campaign for the 2000 census.
The campaign won PRSA’s 2001 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence.
“I’m eternally optimistic that the world can be a better place and that requires each of us to be the best person we can be both to ourselves and to other people and I think that’s it, what really drives me,” Sha said. “It’s been an incredible journey.”