Becoming a More Effective Research Mentor for Your Trainees: Undergraduates to Post-docs

Type Conference Paper
Names Eric J. Hooper, R. Mathieu, C. Pfund, J. Branchaw, UW-Madison Research Mentor Training Development Team
Proceedings Title Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Conference Name American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #216, #216.01
Volume 41
Pages 870
Date May 1, 2010
Short Title Becoming a More Effective Research Mentor for Your Trainees
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract How do you effectively mentor individuals at different stages of their careers? Can you learn to become a more effective mentor through training? Does one size fit all? Are you ready to address the NSF's new requirement about mentoring post-docs in your next proposal? For many academics, typical answers to these questions include, "I try to make adjustments based on the trainee, but I don't have a specific plan” "Yeah, I'd better start thinking about that” and "There's training?” Scientists often are not trained for their crucial role of mentoring the next generation. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed, field tested, and publicly released research mentor training materials for several STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, including astronomy, to help fill this gap and improve the educational experience and ultimate success of research trainees at several career stages, from high school students to post-doctoral scholars. While initially aimed at the mentoring of undergraduate researchers at research extensive institutions, the topics are broad enough (e.g., expectations, communication, understanding, diversity, ethics, independence) to be applicable to mentoring in a wide range of project-based educational activities. Indeed, these materials have been modified, only modestly, to prepare graduate students and undergraduates to mentor high school students. In this session, we will describe the UW-Madison research mentor training seminar and illustrate how the training can be adapted and implemented. We will introduce an interactive "shopping cart” style website which allows users to obtain the materials and instructions on how to run the program at their institution. Most of the session will be devoted to an interactive implementation of elements of research mentor training using small discussion groups. Participants will experience the training seminar in practice, come face-to-face with some common mentoring challenges, and have a chance to reflect upon and discuss these challenges.
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