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 designed for current 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.

  • Day and Time: Tuesdays*, 12:00-2:00 pm
  • Location: ILR Conference Center (King-Shaw Hall)
  • Contact: Dr. Colleen McLinn, cirtl@cornell.edu or 607-255-2030
  • Register: by January 27, 2020 – Registration form

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.

Schedule for Spring 2020

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

January 29, 2020 – What Makes a Good Mentor and Mentee?

Exploring Learning, Motivation, and Values
* Note: Meets on Wednesday this week only
  • 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 11, 2020 – 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 2, 2020 – 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 24, 2020 – Creating Inclusive Research Settings

Featuring My Voice, My Story: Lived Experiences of Graduate and Professional Students
  • 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 7, 2020 – Supporting Mentees’ Professional Development

Helping Students 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.

Please advise the organizers of any food allergies or special dietary requirements, dates you would need to miss or arrive late, and accessibility needs at registration or prior to the first session. Registration form

We have tried to avoid scheduling overlaps with the Postdoc Leadership program, LEAD 5100, and MAC Mentoring program, however, the active nature of the group work and case study discussion unfortunately prohibits remote participation in this program. A similar course is offered periodically online through the CIRTL Network.