Registration for Mentoring Future Scientists Conference in Chicago closes end of May 14th

Registration for Mentoring Future Scientists Conference in Chicago closes end of May 14th

To ensure that early career researchers are supported in their academic development, we are holding a meeting in Chicago June 14 to place mentoring as a priority at academic institutions. Cooperating with satellite meetings around the country, we will develop a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines to be used by departments, and early career researchers, to evaluate attention to mentoring. For more information and updates, see the conference site at www.futureofresearch.org/mentoring.   But we are still keen for others to join the effort! We are looking for input from graduate students, postdocs, junior faculty and departmental representatives. Please join us!   REGISTRATION FOR CHICAGO CLOSES END OF MAY 14 2019. Join us in Chicago at https://tinyurl.com/ChicagoMentor19 For more details, or to make a donation, see https://tinyurl.com/ChicagoDonate19     Register for satellites here: Boston University: https://tinyurl.com/BostonMentor19 University of Wisconsin-Madison: https://tinyurl.com/MadisonMentor19 We hope to see you there! Please feel free to contact info@futureofresearch.org for more information.  ...
Registration links are open for Chicago, Boston and Madison mentoring meetings!

Registration links are open for Chicago, Boston and Madison mentoring meetings!

Future of Research is organizing a meeting focused on helping departments to center mentorship in their priorities.   Registration closes May 14th for the Chicago meeting: register here to donate or here for free registration Registration closes May 14th for the Boston satellite: register here Registration is open for the Madison satellite: info and registration here   Mentoring Future Scientists Lack of prioritization of mentoring practices is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their fullest potential as the next generation of leaders in STEM. To cultivate a productive training environment, those who are given training responsibilities should also be trained, supported and evaluated by institutions to provide competent and appropriate mentoring to the next generation.   To ensure mentoring is an institutional priority, we are developing a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines. With support from experts and leaders in the field of mentoring, we will apply the available evidence-based research on mentor/mentee competency training, the practical expertise of departmental leaders, and the experience of early career researchers, to develop a set of guidelines across various domains with three excellence tiers: bronze, silver, and gold, to be used as an assessment tool by departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable departmental improvement.   But we need help. In Chicago on June 14th, 2019, we are organizing a meeting to plan how to achieve our goal of placing exceptional mentoring at the top of institutional priorities and incentives. We are asking for input and help in having as wide a discussion as possible. We are looking for input from graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty. If you are in...
Survey: Help the eLife ECR community find out about mentoring environments

Survey: Help the eLife ECR community find out about mentoring environments

The eLife ECR community currently has a survey open, until June 1st, with the goal of Assessing the quality of mentorship in research environments.   They are looking for responses from around the world, from the perspective of early-career researchers. They have surveys for pre-independence (i.e. graduate and postdoc) and junior group leaders/scientists/faculty. The 5-7 minute surveys ask whether about mentoring they receive from those in later career stages. In their own words: “We aim to surface what mentees believe is most important for a positive mentoring experience and to identify common gaps in skills or resources that can be addressed. We also hope that the findings will help us understand the factors that negatively impact the mentee-mentor relationships in research environments. The results will serve as a basis to offer recommendations for maximizing the benefits of mentoring in academia.”   As part of our effort to create a greater focus on mentoring in departments, we are of course very keen to see their findings and how they can inform our work, so please complete the survey and share it with your colleagues!   Don’t forget – Future of Research is organizing a meeting focused on mentorship – registration closes May 14th for the Chicago meeting: Mentoring Future Scientists Lack of prioritization of mentoring practices is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their fullest potential as the next generation of leaders in STEM. To cultivate a productive training environment, those who are given training responsibilities should also be trained, supported and evaluated by institutions to provide competent and appropriate mentoring to the next generation.   To ensure mentoring is an institutional...
Mentoring Future Scientists: The role of grads and postdocs as mentors

Mentoring Future Scientists: The role of grads and postdocs as mentors

Future of Research is organizing a meeting to develop a set of departmental mentoring climate guidelines, with the potential to be used as an assessment tool by departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable departmental improvement, and by ECRs to establish which departments are centering good mentorship in their priorities. To join the meeting in Chicago, or at one of our satellites around the US, see the conference page here!   We often talk about the idea of academic mentorship in terms of a professor fostering the career of a researcher earlier in their career, such as a graduate student or postdoc. But of course the reality is that many graduate students and postdocs are themselves mentoring others themselves, including undergraduates. Two recent pieces discuss mentorship by “trainees” from a personal perspective, and in a scientific paper.   In Symbiosis: the mutual benefits of mentoring undergraduates in the lab on the ASCB COMPASS blog, Jami Conley Calderon recounts the experience of mentoring undergraduates and provides some key steps from their experience in an approach for graduate students to take when mentoring undergraduates: Explain the lab’s research; Encourage questions; Be present; Give students agency over their project; Be understanding; and Respect their time. You can read the full post, with more details on each step, here.   In Volunteered or Voluntold? The Motivations and Perceived Outcomes of Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentors of Undergraduate Researchers, published in CBE-Life Sciences Education, Limeri, Asif and Dolan take a systematic approach to look at the postgraduate perspective of this mentoring experience.   Using exploratory interviews, the authors identified and characterized motivations for 32 postgraduates...
FoR Chicago 2019: Mentoring Future Scientists – Join us locally or remotely to help departments focus on mentoring

FoR Chicago 2019: Mentoring Future Scientists – Join us locally or remotely to help departments focus on mentoring

If you follow academic discussions on Twitter, you may have caught sight of a discussion recently about grad school experiences prompted by Dr Kathryn Milligan-Myhre at the University of Alaska:   For those of you who had/are now having a difficult time in grad school, what support was/is lacking? If you don’t feel comfortable posting from your handle, PM me, I will post for you. — Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre (@Napaaqtuk) March 24, 2019 What followed was a long thread of experiences and messages received by Dr. Milligan-Myhre detailing a multitude of problems including stories of power-imbalances, and departmental or institutional inaction. Stories such as these are familiar to us over at Future of Research; it’s part of the motivation behind our efforts. Having fostered this dicussion, Dr. Milligan-Myhre then posed the question to departmental staff and faculty:   Faculty/GS dept people: These stories are heartbreaking, but an accurate picture of grad school for many of our students. Next step: What are YOU going to do to make grad school experiences better for students? https://t.co/DPK8u7GqEj — Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre (@Napaaqtuk) March 29, 2019 If you’ve been following our work over the last few months, you may be aware that FoR is organizing the Mentoring Future Scientists meeting (primarily in Chicago, but facilitating remote participation through satellite meetings) to bring together graduate students, postdocs, junior faculty and departmental leaders and representatives, to discuss what departments can do to prioritize attention to mentoring.   The importance that departments and institutions attach to supporting good mentorship, and providing mechanisms for accountability and addressing poor mentorship, have become an issue of intense scrutiny for...
Achieving independence in research career transitions

Achieving independence in research career transitions

On March 13th 2019, FoR ED Gary McDowell led a workshop, “Training Transitions: Pathways to Independence in Research” at the University of California Irvine School of Biological Sciences.   What does “independence” mean for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study for The Next Generation Researchers Initiative (of which FoR ED Dr. Gary McDowell and FoR President Dr. Jessica Polka were members) took the definition of independence from a previous 2005 Academies study, Bridges to Independence:   “The definition of ‘independence’ as a researcher in a tenure-track faculty position who has received his or her first R01 research project grant is outdated… …we define an ‘independent investigator’ as one who enjoys independence of thought… …In addition, the committee has affirmed the interconnectedness of scientific research and research training. Mentoring and research training cannot be separated from scientific research for anyone in postdoctoral- or graduate student- positions and should not be considered as separate objectives.””   The barriers that early career researchers (undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty) may face in establishing themselves as independent scholars are a topic of increasing discussion, in an ever more hypercompetitive academic environment. For example, a major issue for postdocs is the tension between being supported from research project grants, fulfilling the aims of someone else’s research project, rather than being in the ideal postdoc position of developing their own research project and goals, and learning how to lead a project, with mentorship from another investigator. This is just one example of the conflict that has arisen between fostering academic scholarship, and providing the labor for...