Research Mentor Training

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Research Mentor Training

It is fully recognized that the laboratory environment and the quality of mentoring a predoctoral student experiences are important factors and have direct effects on the student’s success in graduate school, in completing a PhD degree in a timely manner, and in transitioning to a career as a research scientist. See NIGMS statement about Evidence-Based Mentoring here.

Since 2010, the GCC has been a leader in offering Research Mentor Training workshops, not only for faculty but also for postdoctoral fellows, in order to broaden the exposure to good mentoring skills in the lab community. This evidence-based and well-received workshop is designed for participants to develop skills and insight in mentoring graduate students and fellows and to provide the opportunity for interactions and discussion between mentors at different institutions and in different disciplines. All faculty and postdoctoral fellows from GCC member institutions may attend at no charge and receive a certificate of completion. In most cases, this evidence-based workshop satisfies departmental or T32 recommendations or requirements.


Robert Tillman, PhD, a Master Trainer with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), is the lead facilitator for the GCC workshops and trainings. The mission of NRMN is to provide researchers across all career stages in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences with the evidence-based mentorship and professional development programming that emphasizes the benefits and challenges of diversity, inclusivity and culture.


GCC Research Mentoring Workshops are usually held twice a year, in late fall and late spring. Topics include

1) maintaining effective communication,
2) addressing equity and inclusion,
3) aligning expectations,
4) promoting mentee self-efficacy,
5) fostering independence and promoting professional development.

Faculty Mentor Training – Feb 2, 2024

(Feb 2 workshop is currently full with a waitlist)

Research Mentor Training for Faculty
NOTE: These workshops are typically held in May/June and in late November/early December.

This important workshop helps participants to develop skills and insight in mentoring. It is specifically designed for postdocs and non-faculty PhD participants who mentor young scientists.

Topics include:

  • Maintaining Effective Communication
  • Aligning Expectations
  • Promoting Self-Efficacy
  • Addressing Equity and Inclusion
  • Fostering Independence & Promoting Professional Development

FacilitatorRobert Tillman, PhD, Director of Faculty Development at Baylor College of Medicine

Bob has 20 years of experience building and leading academic programs, organizational development and workforce training strategies. He is a Master Trainer with the National Research Mentoring Network. Bob received his PhD in Immunology from Washington University.

Location:  BioScience Research Collaborative, First Floor Event Space; 6500 Main Street, Houston; parking available in the BRC garage, entrance on Dryden.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Other GCC-sponsored workshops, such as Managing Mentoring Conversations and Rigor and Reproducibility, are offered annually. All workshops are publicized on the GCC News email, sent weekly during the academic year. To receive these emails, please email Elizabeth Lawrence at el53 <at>

Questions or for more information: Vicki Alger, GCC Training Administrator: va22 <at>


NRMN Resources:

Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER):

What previous participants had to say about GCC Research Mentor Training workshops:

“Facilitating effective communication and actively thinking about lab culture is important and this was brought out well in the workshop.”
– Faculty, December 2019

What did you like best about the workshop?: “The part of the training where you learn about how to identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and how to use them to make the most of the mentoring experience. I also liked the team works, as well as the interaction with Faculty.”
– Postdoc, May 2019

Faculty Survey, December 2019: 91% reported it was a valuable use of their time; 91% reported they were likely to recommend the workshop to a colleague; 100% reported they planned to make changes in their mentoring relationships as a result of this training.

One key learning you will take away or apply: “Speaking is not only important for communications but also helps us to reorganize our thoughts.”
– Faculty, June 2022

“I think it’s important to foster independence in a mentee and to maintain awareness of the mentee’s goals and make sure I’m helping them as much or more than they’re helping me.”
– Faculty, June 2019

“Overall I really believe this training was the most useful I’ve attended. I’ve already recommended it to my colleagues and brought back some of the activities to my own lab.”
– Postdoc, December 2022

“The workshop was very helpful. Thank you!”
– Postdoc, May 2019

“This was an exceptional training program! The greatest strengths were the fact that we were provided with activities that we can use with our mentees (mentor/mentee compact, IDP, etc.). The active listening exercises were also extremely helpful. The only weakness is that some of the sessions had to be rushed. This was only because the group was very engaged and we had a lot of good discussions. The facilitators did an exceptional job of keeping everyone on task and keeping to the schedule.”
– Faculty, June 2018

“I liked reading about scenarios involving interpersonal conflict and having discussions about the specific scenarios. It made the course feel more applicable to real life than if we had just talked about the content as if we were in a classroom lecture.”
– Postdoc, December 2022

“I personally like the case study part. For each section, a case study will help me to understand better and help me practice more effective in real life. So if I have to pick a part that should be improved, I would say maybe more real cases.”
– Postdoc, December 2019

“I wish I had had this training 20 years ago. As PhDs we are often just put in front of a recitation or lab class and expected to teach with zero training!”
– Faculty, June 2019

Postdoc Survey, December 2018: 75% never participated in any research mentor training; 100% reported the facilitators were effective or very effective in guiding the discussions; 100% reported the training was a valuable use of their time; 93.8% plan to make changes in mentoring relationships as a result of the training.