Mentoring Up (Mentee Training) for Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Scholars

Mentoring is collaborative. Ideally, mentees and mentors engage as partners through reciprocal activities such as planning, acting, reflecting, questioning, and problem-solving. Successful mentoring relationships are those in which mentees reach the individual milestones that allow them to progress to the next stage along the trajectory for a sustainable career.

Mentee success is defined as mentees having gained…

  1. Personal and professional competencies necessary to define their research goals.
  2. Experience for that career.
  3. The ability and opportunity to progress toward that chosen career goal. 

The content of each session in this curriculum is designed to address some of the challenges and concerns that mentees might encounter throughout their career. In this mentoring up series, mentees will develop the knowledge and skills to proactively and effectively address these challenges and navigate their mentoring relationships and career progression.

Workshops

Date & Time: To be announced

Location: To be announced

RSVP: To be announced

A shared understanding of what each person expects is critical to establishing effective mentor-mentee relationships. Challenges arise when mentors and mentees have misunderstandings about expectations in the relationship, which naturally change over time. Therefore, ongoing reflection and communication about expectations are needed to maintain a positive and productive mentor-mentee relationship. During this workshop, participants will utilize case studies and small-group discussions to build key mentoring competencies that support aligning expectations with their mentor.

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Effectively establish mutually beneficial expectations for the mentoring relationship.
  2. Clearly communicate expectations for the mentoring relationship.
  3. Align mentee and mentor expectations.

Date & Time: To be announced

Location: To be announced

RSVP: To be announced

Good communication is a key element of any relationship and a mentoring relationship is no exception. It is critical that mentors and mentees seek to understand their own and the other’s communication styles and agree on the preferred modes, frequency, and relative responsibilities for communication. During this workshop, we will use evidence-based methods to help participants develop skills to maximize the effectiveness of their mentoring relationships. Trainees will utilize case studies and small-group discussions to build a key mentoring competency, effective communication.

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Communicate effectively across diverse dimensions including varied backgrounds, disciplines, ethnicities, positions of power, etc.
  2. Accept and use constructive feedback. 
  3. Identify different communication styles/ approaches. 
  4. Use multiple strategies for improving communication (in person, at a distance, across multiple mentors, and within proper personal boundaries).

Date & Time: To be announced

Location: To be announced

RSVP: To be announced

Self-efficacy is the perceived confidence people have in their ability to perform a specific task or skill. Participants will gain strategies for bolstering their research confidence and minimizing self-doubt. 

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Identify signs of self-efficacy that resonate when conducting research related tasks 
  2. Define self-efficacy and its four sources 
  3. Articulate their role in building their own research self-efficacy 
  4. Assess the influence of others on their research self-efficacy 
  5. Devise strategies to support others’ research self-efficacy 

*This workshop is also a part of the Leadership Training Program for Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Scholars 

Diversity, along a range of dimensions (cultural, racial/ethnic, sexuality, gender, neurotype, disability, etc…) offers both challenges and opportunities to any relationship. Learning to identify, reflect upon, learn from, and engage with diverse perspectives is critical to forming and maintaining both an effective mentoring relationship as well as a vibrant learning environment. 

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Improve and expand understanding of equity and inclusion, and how diversity influences mentor-mentee interactions. 
  2. Recognize the impact that conscious and unconscious assumptions, preconceptions, biases, and prejudices bring to the mentor-mentee relationship and how to manage them.

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A goal in any mentoring relationship is for the mentee to achieve independence. Defining what independence looks like in a particular field and at various career stages is essential. Dialogue between mentor and mentee about what an independent mentee knows and can do are important conversations to have throughout the mentoring relationship. 

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Define independence, its core elements, and how those elements change over the course of a mentoring relationship 
  2. Identify the benefits and challenges of fostering independence, including the sometimes conflicting goals of fostering independence and achieving grant-funded research objectives.

Professional development activities are sometimes seen as distractions from the core business of doing research, but are critically important to identifying and successfully meeting the mentee’s long-term career objectives. 

Mentees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Identify the roles mentors play in their overall professional development 
  2. Develop or revise their individual development plan IDP 
  3. Recognize and engage in open dialogue on balancing the competing demands, needs, and interests of mentors and mentees, e.g., research productivity, grant funding, creativity and independence, career preference decisions, non-research activities, personal development, work-family balance, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

This curriculum is designed for those conducting academic research. While the individual activities included in the curriculum may focus on a specific type of research or a specific aspect of a mentoring relationship, the curriculum as a whole is designed to include activities relevant to a broad range of mentees across diverse areas of research and varied stages of their mentoring relationships.

You must be a graduate student or postdoc.

Yes. See priorities list for who is chosen for the course.

RSVP opens at the start of each quarter.

This series can be completed in any order.

  1. First priority will be given to graduate students and postdocs who are in the biosciences.
  2. Second priority will be given to graduate students and postdocs of any discipline.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please email Dr. Diana Azurdia (dazurdia@mednet.ucla.edu) if you’re a graduate student and if you’re a postdoc you should email Dr. Lynn Talton (ltalton@mednet.ucla.edu).