Effective Mentoring

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.

According to research, 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. (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:

  • Guide to Faculty Mentoring in the Harvard FAS, which including the recommendation that chairs/mentors should be “willing to discuss effective advising strategies and to share advice about mentoring graduate students and postdocs…”
  • 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):

Other resources: