Elements of Effective Mentoring

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Goals of Effective Mentoring Relationships

Primary goals of mentoring for mentee
  • Strong academic, professional environment
  • Develop independence and critical thinking skills
  • Opportunities for career exploration and development
Primary goals of mentoring for mentor
  • Productive colleague
  • Cooperative, inclusive member of academic community
  • Successful career
  • Personal reputation as a good mentor

Recommendations for Effective Mentoring Relationships

  • Align Expectations
  • Effective Communication
    • Regular meetings to review research and career goals
    • Encourage mentees to set the agenda
  • Review mentorship requirements outlined in policies
  • Mentorship training for Trainees and Faculty Mentors
  • Encourage trainees to seek multiple mentors
  • Develop your Mentoring Philosophy and keep building skills

University Responsibilities

  • Maintain high quality research and education programs
    • Oversee foundational knowledge and length of study
    • Provide adequate compensation, benefits, grievance procedures
    • Train for ethical behavior and professional integrity
  • Provide for faculty development related to educational goals
  • Diverse and Inclusive Environment
  • Career development resources
  • Resources to promote wellness

Mentor’s Responsibilities

  • Supportive, transparent, accessible, respectful, encouraging, and equitable for all students and postdocs
  • Provide financial and intellectual support
  • Promote independence and career development
  • Be knowledgeable about institutional and programmatic guidelines and requirements
  • Provide regular feedback on progress, make constructive suggestions and assist in developing a timeline for future development

Mentee’s Responsibilities

  • Acknowledge primary responsibility for training and career development
  • Work with mentor to develop and implement research plan with specific time lines
  • Become familiar with institutional, programmatic and research expectations
  • Conduct research ethically, keep accurate records
  • Be familiar with institutional policies including research ethics, data ownership, and resource sharing
  • Seek regular feedback on progress and time lines for future development
  • Be a collegial member of lab team with shared responsibilities
  • Initiate and participate in fellowship and manuscript preparation
  • Attend program and departmental meetings, seminars
  • Participate in professional meetings in their field
  • Pursue and participate in career development activities throughout time in training

Mentoring Resources

Diverse Careers for PhDs:  https://graduateschool.wustl.edu/diverse-careers

Information for supporting graduate student career choices.  Discover actions you can take in a time of transitioning markets.

iBiology: T​he Practice of Mentoring Scientistshttps://www.ibiology.org/archive/practice-mentoring-scientists/
Drawing from her experiences mentoring scientists, Jo Handelsman describes guidelines that she and her colleagues have developed to help scientists become better mentors. These include listening, asking questions, stating expectations and building independence. Good advice for scientists at all stages of their careers.

iBiology: a conversation on culturally aware mentoringhttps://www.ibiology.org/nrmn-resources/mentor-training-improve-diversity-science/​
Most mentors don’t feel prepared to address diversity matters with trainees from historically underrepresented (HU) backgrounds. To improve mentoring relationships and support the persistence and success of HU individuals in science, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) has developed new mentor training to equip mentors with the skills and knowledge necessary to support a diverse scientific workforce.

HHMI: Mentoring and Being Mentored (Chapter 5)http://www.hhmi.org/developing-scientists/making-right-moves
Based on workshops co-sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and HHMI, this book is a collection of practical advice and experiences from seasoned biomedical investigators and includes chapters on laboratory leadership, getting funded, project management, and teaching and course design.

HHMI: Entering Mentoring
The goal of the seminar outlined in this manual is to accelerate the process of learning to be a mentor. Effective mentoring can be learned, but not taught. Good mentors discover their own objectives, methods, and style by mentoring. And mentoring. And mentoring some more. Most faculty learn to mentor by experimenting and analyzing success and failure, and many say that the process of developing an effective method of mentoring takes years. No two students are the same or develop along the same trajectory, so mentoring must be continually customized, adjusted, and redirected to meet each student’s needs. A skilled mentor’s decisions and actions are guided by a reflective philosophy, a well-developed style, and an ability to assess student needs.

Mentor-Mentee Compact & Expections Form:  Mentor-Mentee Compact and Expectations Form.pdf
These guiding principles are intended to support the development of a positive mentoring relationship between the pre-doctoral student and their research advisors. A successful student-mentor relationship requires commitment from the student, mentor, graduate program, and institution. This document offers a set of broad guidelines which are meant to initiate discussions between all those invested in a successful graduate experience.

NASEM: 2019 The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM

WUSM Office of Faculty Affairs Mentoring Resourceshttps://facultyaffairs.wusm.wustl.edu/library-item-type/mentoring/
The Office of Faculty Affairs has a wide variety of career development resources to aid faculty at all stages of their careers.

National Research Mentoring Networkhttps://nrmnet.net/
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a nationwide consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions collaborating to provide all trainees across the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences with evidence-based mentorship and professional development programming.​​​

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