At a recent meeting, several faculty in a large, research-oriented science
department raised concerns about their mentoring program. While mindful
of the many demands they all faced, they wondered whether changes were
needed in the way the department assigned, trained, and oversaw mentors.
The ensuing discussion raised some potentially good suggestions, which
most agreed were best referred to a special committee for further discussion
and recommendations. With a little arm twisting, Susan D., an advanced
graduate student; Dr. Linda L., a postdoc; and Dr. Bill K., an established
researcher, were recruited to serve.
At their first meeting, the three colleagues quickly agreed to tackle
first the question of goals. If they knew what mentoring was expected
to achieve, they could then assess the strengths and weaknesses of their
current program and make suggestions for change. With this settled,
they decided to spend some time talking with their peers and then get
back together to compare notes. When they met the next time:
- What goals would you expect each member of the committee to recommend?
- Why might different members of the committee recommend different
- Assuming they came to the conclusion that some improvements were
needed, what avenues are open to change the way mentors and trainees