Building Mentorship Skills for Academic Careers

Graduate Student Eugene Law leads a small group discussion about mentoring strategies

In this series of interactive workshops designed for current graduate students and postdocs and open to those in all fields, you will develop essential research mentoring skills, particularly in disciplines where research is conducted collaboratively and in teams. Effective mentoring of student research is a key skill influencing everything from research productivity to motivation. Learn best practices for mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers, and develop planning and communication skills needed to guide individual mentees and research teams.

Interested participants should apply prior to the start of the series with the expectation of attending all workshops and actively participating in small and large group discussions. Please advise the organizers of any dates you would need to miss or arrive late, and accessibility needs at registration or prior to the first session. Building Mentorship Skills program completion certificates will be provided for fully participating in at least 5 sessions (the public event with the special visiting speaker may count as one of these).

Planned Schedule for Spring 2022

Planned for in-person. Sessions will be from 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET, with lunch served beforehand if possible based on current health and safety guidelines.

February 9, 2021 – 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 23, 2022 – 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 9, 2022 – Creating Inclusive Research Settings

Featuring My Voice, My Story: Untold 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.

March 23, 2022 – Public Event: Special Visiting Speaker (Optional but highly recommended)

March 30, 2022 – Communicating Across Differences

  • New session with staff from the Intergroup Dialogue Project facilitating. Description is pending.

April 13, 2022 – 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).

April 27, 2022 – 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.

More Information

The Building Mentorship Skills for an Academic Career certificate program is sponsored by the Graduate School’s Future Faculty and Academic Careers program, and based on a highly regarded national curriculum. A similar course is offered in online, synchronous format through the CIRTL Network periodically. A compressed three-session version has been offered in the past for existing Cornell groups or units (e.g., Geneva AgriTech) who can confirm interest from 15 or more participants. Please inquire with futurefaculty@cornell.edu for more information.

Past Schedule for Spring 2021

All sessions were on Thursdays from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm ET, held by Zoom

February 11, 2021 – 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 25, 2021 – 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 11, 2021 – Creating Inclusive Research Settings

Featuring My Voice, My Story: Lived Experiences of Graduate and Professional Students
  • (Meets 11:00-1:00 this week.) 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.

March 25, 2021 – 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).

April 8, 2021 – 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.