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, Director of Education and Training at MD Anderson Cancer Center and 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.
To maintain safety and social distancing requirements, we have revamped the workshop into 3 sessions specifically for on-line teaching, break-out discussions and interaction. Sessions are now held virtually via Zoom, usually over 3 days for a total of about 6 hours. Advance registration is required.
Research Mentor Training Workshop for Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD Research Staff, February 3, 10, 17
This evidence-based workshop is designed for PhDs (non-faculty) working in labs with undergrads and/or grad students to develop skills and insight in mentoring young scientists and to provide the opportunity for interactions and discussion between mentors at different institutions and in different disciplines. Topics include Maintaining effective communication with mentees; Aligning expectations; Fostering independence; Cultivating self-efficacy; and Addressing equity & inclusion. The workshop has been revamped into 3 sessions specifically for online teaching, break-out discussions, and interaction. Sessions are Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1:00-3:00pm CST; Wednesday, Feb. 10, 1:00-3:00pm CST; and Wednesday, Feb. 17, 1:00-3:00pm CST. Please register for this workshop by Jan. 29.
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 Shannon Mohrman, GCC Communications Specialist, csm4 <at> rice.edu.
Questions or for more information: Karen Ethun, GCC Executive Director: kethun <at> rice.edu.
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.
“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
“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 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.