What Does it Mean to be a Great Mentor?
Mentoring comes in many forms and many different mentoring styles can be effective. In general, though, great mentoring means that you…
Why Be a Great Mentor?
In addition to the satisfaction of seeing your trainees succeed, being a great mentor has additional benefits for you. For example, being a great mentor can help you…
Where Does Great Mentoring Begin? With a Detailed Plan.
The NIH now requires progress reports to include discussion of how Individual Development Plans (IDPs) were used in the training of any pre and postdoctoral trainees supported by NIH funds. Furthermore, the NIH also expects postdocs to be actively engaged in their career development regardless of their mechanism of support. As if those requirements were not reason enough, a detailed IDP can help your trainees ensure they are acquiring the skills and qualifications they need to transition in their careers.
We encourage all trainees to create a Career Plan or IDP early in their training and to discuss it with you - you can provide extremely valuable insight into what it really takes to move on. Feel free to have your trainees use our online Individual Career Plan (ICP) tool, or any of the resources online (e.g., AAAS's myIDP.)
In addition to a career plan, setting expectations can alleviate future conflict and foster an environment of clear communication. We also encourage you and your trainees to formally discuss expectations, and a great place to start is with the AAMC Compact for graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows. Although this compact was designed with postdoctoral fellows in mind, it is equally valuable for use with predoctoral trainees as well. Finally, the National Postdoctoral Association provides some recommendations for developing a postdoctoral mentoring plan that may be useful.
How We Can Help
The Postdoctoral and Career Development Office is here to support you in your mentoring efforts. We can assist with providing data and boiler-plate documents for your grant applications, serve as an informational resource for the exploration and pursuit of your trainee's career goals, and offer a centralized location to identify career development training events on campus. In addition, we also can provide resources that may help you as you help your trainees prepare for the next stage of their careers. There clearly will be other resources that you would find helpful, and we hope you will let us know how we can provide additional support.
If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help.Although we no longer process HR-related issues, the Postdoctoral and Career Development Office still serves an informational and advisory role for all issues related to postdoctoral fellows. As such, the following documents may be helpful for you, and a good place to begin finding answers to your questions: