NRMN-Link Developing/Implementing Mentoring Supportive Technology
Principal Investigator: Lee Limbird, PhD
Mentoring is a critical component of retaining and promoting underrepresented scientists. Here we propose to develop mentor supporting technology, dubbed NRMN-Link, to improve the mentor-mentee experience and coordinate information between various mentors. The interactive linkages embedded in our NRMN-Link tool reflect the existing and successful wrap-around mentoring and advising practices of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s –to-PhD Bridge program which successfully trains and tracks underrepresented scientists through PhD training and beyond. Our experience suggests that it is the combined programmatic aspects embedded in our sustained wrap-around mentoring and advocacy that fosters underrepresented trainee success. Yet a barrier to enacting such practices is the time and effort required to coordinate so many mentors and mentee. Easing this difficulty is our rationale behind developing technology that does not replace but rather aids mentoring and promotes professional development of both faculty and trainees. NRMN-Link allows for ease of communication between various mentors and instructors at multiple institutions, tracks milestones and competencies, and allows for faculty to send reminders to themselves and students and more would serve to improve and assure face-to face-mentoring interactions so essential for fostering trainee confidence and self-efficacy.
Our proposed NRMN-Link tool will do the following: 1) Create a Dashboard for Mentees; 2) Create a Dashboard for Mentors; 3) Administration dashboards; 4) Communication among mentees/mentors within the website; 5) Alerts and notifications; 6) IDP template/progress report; 7) Calendar- Registering/Applying for workshops/activities; 8) Create a survey method for the site; 9) Dual role mentee/mentor; 10) Workspace for mentees/mentors and; 11) Create forms for training requests.
Evidence both that the eMentoring platform can be developed and will increase mentor-mentee interactions and trainee self-efficacy in continued professional development is the success of the VSTAR system, after which the NRMN-Link is patterned [https://vstar.mc.vanderbilt.edu]. VSTAR has been a success in both improving student-mentor engagement and in capturing these interactions. Since the launch of VSTAR 2 years ago, it has been used by 1568 members (students, faculty and relevant staff), with a total 1342 learning activities and self-assessments administered, resulting in 25716 responses. These kind of quantitative measures of use will be combined with qualitative surveys and interviews to evaluate the development process and the user satisfaction with NRMN-Link. Our proposal best aligns with the NRMN Mentorship and Networking Core, but will be a core resource that would support and link with the NRMN Professional Development Core and the NRMN Mentor Training Core as other resources can be mapped on to the web-based NRMN-Link.