Postdoctoral Hiring Program (internal grant)
OVPR Postdoctoral Hiring Program
Effective mentoring is critical to a successful postdoc experience and pathway to independence.
Mentor-mentee relationships with the highest level of satisfaction and productivity require:
- Setting goals
- Communicating expectations
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities
- Meeting regularly and providing feedback and updates
Institutional Guide to Postdoc Mentorship by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)
Mentoring can have a profound influence on the relative satisfaction and success of postdoctoral scholars. Mentoring plans are tools to help optimize the mentoring experience by providing a roadmap for both the mentor and the postdoc of the activities that will be undertaken to further the postdoc's professional and career development. This includes support for the enrichment of a postdoc's research knowledge, skills, and productivity as well as assistance in furthering the postdoc's career prospects. Today postdocs need to consider all of their career options (academia, industry, nonprofit, governmental), and so effective mentoring becomes even more essential to their success.
Mastering the Art of Mentorship Training by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)
Mentorship is a frequently used word in academia, but probably the least well-defined. Postdoctoral scholars have first-hand experience with varied mentoring philosophies that often perplex them when formulating their own. The following article provides insights into clarifying and defining postdoc mentoring.
Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering by the National Academy of Sciences
This guide offers helpful advice on how teachers, administrators, and career advisers in science and engineering can become better mentors to their students. It starts with the premise that a successful mentor guides students in a variety of ways: by helping them get the most from their educational experience, by introducing them to and making them comfortable with a specific disciplinary culture, and by offering assistance with the search for suitable employment. Other topics covered in the guide include career planning, time management, writing development, and responsible scientific conduct. Also included is a valuable list of bibliographical and Internet resources on mentoring and related topics.
The American Association of Medical Colleges has developed a compact for postdocs and their supervisors and lays out their relative roles and responsibilities. Some institutions have implemented the compact as a (non-binding) contract to be signed upon beginning the postdoctoral appointment.
Entering Mentoring: A Seminar to Train a New Generation of Scientists
The goal of this manual is to accelerate the process of learning to be a mentor. The manual provides mentors with an intellectual framework to guide them, an opportunity to experiment with various methods, and a forum in which to solve mentoring dilemmas with the help of their peers.
Resources to Provide Your Postdoc
We have created a list of internal and external resources to support your postdoc’s IDP goals at the competency and item level.
Competency 1: Discipline-specific conceptual knowledge
Competency 2. Research skill development
Competency 3. Communication skills
Competency 4. Professionalism
Competency 5. Leadership and management skills
Competency 6. Responsible conduct of research
Postdoc Mentoring Plans
- National Postdoctoral Association Mentoring Plan Toolkit
- NIH Postdoc Mentoring Plan Templates
- NSF Postdoc Mentoring Plan Templates
National Postdoctoral Association Mentoring Plan Toolkit
The two primary features of any mentoring plan should be (1) professional development, including research development, and (2) career development. The former involves helping the postdoc become a productive and independent researcher, and the latter involves providing guidance and resources for identifying and achieving the next career milestone. Within professional development, core competencies should be considered.
Guidelines for NIH Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans
NIH does not require Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans in most grant applications, but postdoctoral mentoring is considered an important part of a funded scientist’s responsibility and many NIH awards seek to build early-career researchers into independent scientists. The following guidelines and mentor form can help clarify for both the postdoc and the senior professor what is expected in the mentoring process.
Guidelines for NSF Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans
Any NSF grant which includes support for a postdoctoral researcher must include a one-page supplementary documentation of a postdoctoral mentoring plan which includes:
…description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. In no more than one page, the mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, regardless of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subrecipient organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative proposal…Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices.