Mentoring Future Scientists meeting

Future of Research is organizing the Mentoring Future Scientists meeting to bring together graduate students, postdocs, junior faculty and departmental leaders and representatives, to discuss what departments can do to prioritize attention to mentoring. While our main meeting is in Chicago, we will have a satellite event at Boston University - if you are interested in attending, please register here.

What is the meeting about?

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 early career researchers. Our meeting on June 14th 2019 is dedicated to greater prioritization of mentoring practices in departments and at institutions.

Why are we undertaking this effort?

Good mentors often are not recognized for their efforts in mentoring (and not only for mentorship of people in their own research groups; they are also often picking up the slack for other poor mentors in the department, and so can become overly burdened). Poor mentors may not be identified and supported in improving their mentorship and management skills.

So-called “Tor-“mentors or “De-“mentors, actively exploitative or bad actors, all too often face little to no consequence for their poor mentorship, despite at times these actions being an open secret in a department, institution or research community. We propose that a lack of focus on mentoring is partly responsible for preventing ECRs from reaching their full potential (see our meeting page for a list of evidence to support this claim).

Our meeting aims to foster greater transparency for ECRs regarding mentoring efforts, and greater attention to mentoring standards by departments and institutions. The short-term outcome for our meeting is to develop an agreed set of guidelines, and to get a commitment from participating departments to adopt them as a first step towards a greater focus on standards of mentorship at departments and institutions.

You can see more details about the full schedule over at the conference page, but we’re very excited to have workshops facilitated by:

  • Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre from the University of Alaska, to promote the work being undertaken by faculty in this space;

  • Susannah Harris from The PhDepression;

  • Dr. Danika Khong and Dr. Elizabeth Wu from Scismic.

We will also have a keynote presentation from Dr. Melissa McDaniels from Michigan State University, Co-Director of the NIH National Research Mentoring Network Master Facilitator Initiative, which works to promote the training of mentors in mentorship.

We hope to see you in Boston! Please check out the meeting page for more info and updates and again register for the Boston satellite here.