Purpose Despite academic medicine's endorsement of professional development and mentoring, little is known about what junior faculty learn about mentoring in implicit curricula of professional development programs, and how their mentor identity evolves in this context. The authors explored what faculty-participants in the Educational Scholars Program implicitly learned about mentoring and how the implicit curriculum affected mentor identity transformation. Method Semistructured interviews with 19 of 36 former faculty-participants were conducted in 2016. Consistent with constructivist grounded theory, data collection and analysis overlapped. The authors created initial codes informed by Ibarra's model for identity transformation, iteratively revised codes based on incoming data patterns, and created visual representations of relationships amongst codes to gain a holistic, shared understanding of the data. Results In the implicit curriculum, faculty-participants learned the importance of having multiple mentors, the value of peer mentors, and the incremental process of becoming a mentor. The authors used Ibarra's model to understand how the implicit curriculum worked to transform mentor identity: Faculty-participants reported observing mentors, experimenting with different ways to mentor and to be a mentor, and evaluating themselves as mentors. Conclusions The Educational Scholars Program's implicit curriculum facilitated faculty-participants taking on mentor identity via opportunities it afforded to watch mentors, experiment with mentoring, and evaluate self as mentor, key ingredients for identity construction. Leaders of professional development programs can develop faculty as mentors by capitalizing on what faculty-participants learn in the implicit curriculum and deliberately structuring postgraduation mentoring opportunities.
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