Building Mentoring Skills for an Academic Career

Professor Olena Vatamaniuk (CSS) and postdoc Ju-Chen Chia study rice plants by photographing them in the x-ray beam line at the Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS).

In this series of lunchtime workshops for graduate students and postdocs, you will develop essential research mentoring skills, particularly in disciplines where research is conducted collaboratively in a laboratory or field setting. Effective mentoring of students is a key skill influencing everything from research productivity to personal satisfaction. Learn best practices for mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers, and develop advising and communication skills needed to lead a research team. Interested participants should apply prior to the start of the series with the expectation of attending all workshops. Building Mentoring Skills program completion certificates will be provided for fully participating in at least 4 of 5 sessions.

  • Day and Time: Tuesdays, 12:00-2:00 pm
  • Location: Central Campus Location TBA to accepted participants
  • Contact: Colleen McLinn, CIRTL at Cornell Director, or 607-255-2030
  • Register: by February 1 at

Schedule of Topics for Spring 2019

All sessions are on Tuesdays from 12:00-2:00 pm and include catered lunch.

February 5, 2019 – What Makes a Good Mentor and Mentee? Exploring Learning, Motivation, and Values

  • Understand key principles of learning and theories of motivation that can help you build a strong research group, and even learn more about yourself and values you wish to communicate to mentees.

February 19, 2019 – Aligning Expectations and Guiding Doable Projects

  • How do you design a doable project with a defined timespan for a relative novice in your discipline? Learn how to set expectations for mentor and mentee to make sure the project and relationship stay on track.

March 5, 2019 – Handling Tricky Mentoring Situations

  • Learn how to address some of the trickiest situations you might encounter when mentoring undergraduate researchers or graduate students, from modeling appropriate research ethics to sharing co-advised students. We will also discuss how you might solicit feedback and turn around projects that aren’t going as planned (from the mentor’s perspective).

March 19, 2019 – Creating Inclusive Research Settings

  • Create and sustain a research group and academic climate in which each individual feels safe and supported. We will discuss how to create a welcoming environment for groups typically underrepresented in higher education, while reflecting on our own identities and experiences and how they may be strengths or blind spots in our mentoring. Guest presenter: Associate Dean Sara Xayarath Hernández.

April 9, 2019 – Supporting Mentees’ Professional Development: Helping them Present and Publish, and Writing Fair Letters of Recommendation

  • Revisit some key ideas about effective communication to introduce your students to writing about and presenting their work. Learn how to write a fair letter of recommendation, and what not to say.