Research Mentor Training

Key Themes

The key elements listed below provide the basic foundation for the research mentor training program. These elements are inter-related, yet each one draws attention to a particular aspect of the mentor-mentee relationship.

Establishing expectations

One critical element of an effective mentor-mentee relationship is a shared understanding of what each person expects from the relationship. Problems between mentors and mentees often arise from misunderstandings about expectations. Importantly, expectations change over time so frequent reflection and clear communication about expectations are needed on a regular basis.

Learning Objectives for Expectations:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to:

Maintaining effective communication

Good communication is a key element of any relationship and a mentoring relationship is no exception. As mentors, it is not enough to say that we know good communication when we see it. Rather, it is critical that mentors reflect upon and identify the specific characteristics of effective communication and take time to practice communication skills.

Learning Objectives for Communication:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to:

Assessing understanding

Determining if someone understands you is not easy and yet knowing if your mentee understands you is critical to a productive mentor-mentee relationship. Developing strategies to assess understanding is an important part of becoming an effective mentor.

Learning Objectives for Understanding:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to:

Fostering independence

An important goal in any mentoring relationship is helping the mentee become independent; yet defining what an independent mentee knows and can do is not often articulated by the mentor nor the mentee. Defining what independence looks like and developing skills to foster independence are key to becoming an effective mentor.

Learning Objectives for Independence:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to:

Addressing diversity

Diversity along a range of dimensions offers both challenges and opportunities to any mentor-mentee relationship. Learning to identify, reflect upon, and engage with diversity is critical to forming and maintaining an effective mentoring relationship.

Learning Objectives for Diversity:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to:

Dealing with research ethics

Mentors play an important role in both teaching mentees about ethical behavior and modeling ethical behavior. Moreover, there are many ethical issues to consider when entering a relationship with a mentee based on the power dynamic that exists between mentors and mentees. Reflecting upon and discussing ethical behavior is an important part of becoming an effective mentor.

Learning Objectives for Ethics:
Mentors will have the knowledge and skill to: