Effective mentoring is critically important. It contributes both to a more meaningful postdoctoral training experience and to the career development of faculty. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that effective mentoring relationships lead to higher productivity and satisfaction among postdoctoral scholars. This is the conclusion of the most comprehensive survey of U.S. postdocs (7,600 respondents) conducted by Sigma Xi in 2005;
Postdocs reporting the greatest amount of structured oversight and formal training are much more likely to say they are satisfied, to give their advisors high ratings, to experience relatively few conflicts with their advisors and to be more productive in terms of numbers of publications compared with those with the least oversight and training. (As reported in the American Scientist, May-June 2005)
A healthy, working mentoring relationship between postdoctoral trainees and their faculty advisor requires:
- Setting goals
- Communicating expectations
- Meeting regularly.
Please encourage your postdocs to use the templates provided here to facilitate your conversations and ensure a healthy mentoring relationship.
Further resources on the mentoring and mentorship:
- Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 2006.
- At the Helm: A Laboratory Navigator. By Kathy Barker. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 2002.
- Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering. National Academy of Science/National Academy of Engineering/Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press. 1997
Additional web resources on mentoring from around the country (with thanks to Joey Nelson for these references):
Includes links to primary resources on mentoring.
University of Michigan's education/mentoring guide with special reference to the initiation of mentorship in Chapters 5 and 6.
- http://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/core-programs/mentoring/mentoring-guides-for-faculty/what-a-mentor-does/ provides specific tips for minority populations, undergraduates, and graduate students.
- Anecdotal/Personal touch: A nature blog on mentoring http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2012/07/02/science-mentoring-my-graduate-school-mentor
- A recent science review article on mentoring undergraduates in science: Linn, Marcia C., et al. "Undergraduate research experiences: Impacts and opportunities." Science 347.6222 (2015): 1261757.