URBEST Mentoring for Faculty: Past and Future Workshops
News Article By Tracey Baas
On January 28, 2016, nineteen UR faculty members gathered at 8:30 am in the Center of Experiential Learning to participate in a URBEST Mentoring Workshop and share breakfast. Departments in attendance were Microbiology and Immunology, Orthopedics, Neuroscience, Environmental Medicine, Surgery, Pathology, Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Pediatrics, Pharmacology and Physiology, and the Cardiovascular Research Institute.
Although URBEST is known for its mission to Broaden Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST), which is mandated and funded by NIH, the focus of the Mentoring Workshop was not research or career development. The goal was to foster effective mentor-mentee communication practices that would better support trainee autonomy here at UR. Faculty at all levels - novice to experienced, tenure track and non-tenure track - were invited to fine-tune their mentoring skills in a supportive environment with their colleagues.
The workshop kicked off with a short overview of what it means to be a mentor and introduced (or re-introduced) the CARES model. Mentors were already very aware and strategic in making sure Competence was achieved in the lab and many were already working to expand mentor-mentee dialog by including ideas of Autonomy, Relatedness, Equity and Structure, which make up the CARES system.
In order to help expand the dialog beyond the development of research competencies, the mentoring session introduced two short videos: one a negative mentor-mentee experience and one a positive mentor-mentee experience. The room was filled with low chuckles and some expressions of been-there seen-that. The mentor role was played by Dr. Sarah Peyre, URBEST co-PI and Assistant Dean for Interprofessional Education, and the mentee role was played by Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar, Vice Chair of Microbiology and Immunology. After each video, the gathered UR faculty were asked to identify effective shows of mentoring and to pin point where the discussion had missed its mark. Many suggestions were offered as to how things could have been handled more smoothly.
Finally, a panel of active mentors took the forefront to discuss mentoring tools that they themselves felt comfortable using and to lead topic discussion with the workshop audience. The panel participants were Dr. Scott Butler from Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Ania Majewska from Neurobiology and Anatomy, and Dr. Edward Schwarz from the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. The panel was moderated by Dr. Paige Lawrence from Environmental Medicine. Topics ranged from growing pains to controversial ideas, but it seemed that everyone found some useful advice to incorporate or further consider as they made their way back to the labs.
· Incorporate the CARES model and ask more thoughtful questions
· Be more proactive and honest with discussing weaknesses
· Practice tough love but allow time for mentee self-reflection to find answers
· Value trainees’ career goals
· Deliver expectations more clearly
· There are a lot of commonalities between mentors that I did not appreciate before
· Be mindful of body language
After the workshop, all participants agreed that the CARES model can improve the mentor-mentee relationship, helping to define effective strategies for and understand common barriers to effective mentoring.
Future URBEST Mentoring for Faculty Workshops will be held each June and January.
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