On October 14, 2014, the Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) welcomed noted mentoring experts Joan M. Laskoski, PhD, and Robert J. Milner, PhD, to the Griffis Faculty Club for the special event Finding and Navigating Mentoring: How to Find an Effective Mentor. With approximately 45 attendees, the three-hour interactive workshop addressed the challenges that junior faculty and administrators face when searching for mentors to support their research and careers.
“Mentoring is a critical part of achieving success in academia,” observed Julianne Imperato-McGinley, Program Director of the Weill Cornell CTSC and Associate Dean of Translational Research and Education at Weill Cornell Medical College. “We programmed this event in order to support the needs of mentees who have real questions about how to maximize the experience and where to look for help.”
Based at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Laskoski is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Science Education Outreach, Health Sciences, and Professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which, like the Weill Cornell CTSC, is one of more than 60 centers supported by the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards. Dr. Milner is Associate Vice Provost for Professional Development and Professor of Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Both bring decades of experience as researchers and educators to their work in mentoring and professional development.
Through structured exercises and discussions, Drs. Laskoski and Milner gave the enthusiastic attendees concrete and practical recommendations for undertaking a mentor search, emphasizing the need for specificity and clear communication when setting expectations and goals.
Their advice to mentees included:
- Defining the need for a mentor (To tackle a specific project or learn a skill? Career development? Advice on work-life balance?)
- Identifying potential mentors who can address those needs
- Approaching potential mentors and establishing and sustaining the relationship.
They noted that one resource that may help faculty in identifying a mentor was the CTSC’s Find a Collaborator service. This searchable online database can help researchers locate potential mentors and collaborators across the CTSC consortium, including Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, Hunter College School of Nursing, and the Hunter College Center for Translational and Basic Research.
My Linh H. Nguyen-Novotny, Program Manager of the CTSC’s Clinical and Translational Education Program (CTEP) and organizer of the event, praised the speakers. “I was thrilled that Drs. Laskoski and Milner connected so well with our audience,” she said. “They took an intimidating topic—how to find a mentor—and made it very accessible.
“We’re excited to follow up on this event by offering, with the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, a two-day workshop Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring: How to be an Effective Mentor, November 12 and 13, 2014, that will allow our faculty members who serve as mentors to reflect and receive training on becoming more successful mentors.”
For more information about CTEP, visit here.
To attend the November Mentoring workshop, please register online.
For more information about the CTSC Find a Collaborator service, visit here.