Mentoring Circle Program
The GMS OPDPA Mentoring Circle program is now in its initial experimental phase. It is a venue for postdocs to get advice, support and information from experienced mentors who commit their time to the program. It also provides a safe environment to discuss work/life issues and an opportunity to gain leadership experience. Over 10 participants have been involved in the program since its inception in March 2014.
Experimental phase of the program started with an event designed to introduce the concepts of mentoring and encourage goal setting for the next 6 months. Planning for the March kickoff event, however, began in the fall. Flyers and emails were sent to the junior faculty and postdoc community to recruit volunteer mentors and interested mentees. At the initial meeting, the circles, consisting of 3–5 peers and 1–2 mentors, were matched based on mutual interests, and career goals. In the future, we will implement an electronic sign ups. The program also has ‘connector’ in place. The connector check in several times with program participants during the year to ensure the mentoring circles are meeting, verify that participants are enjoying the experience and provide materials or advice when needed. The experimental phase of the program runs from March to September, during which time the groups meet one time each month for several hours to discuss progress toward individual goals and various topics including balance of work and family, getting started in academia, tackling various academic track issues, career change exploration, transition to industry, learning to network, mid-career decisions, challenges faced during work and other career development topics.
In addition to the monthly meetings, Office of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs (OPDPA) supplements Mentoring Circle Program with workshops and seminars such as “Building Mentoring Relationships,” and “Sharing Experiences as a Mentor and as a Mentee and the Lessons Learned.”