On Friday March 4th, 2016 NRMN hosted a Research Mentor Training Workshop on the campus of Boston College for roughly thirty participants. Graduate through tenured faculty traveled from their local home institutions, which include UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, Boston College, Harvard Medical School, Brown University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Tufts University, Northeastern University, University of Vermont, UMass Medical School, and the Broad Institute.
On Saturday March 5th, nineteen participants from the group reconvened for a second workshop, “Facilitator Training,” to learn how to launch or improve their own mentorship training programming at their home institution (also referred to as NRMN’s “Train-the-Trainer” programming).
The weekend’s workshops marked the first mentorship training event offered through NRMN’s Northeast regional hub. The five NRMN hubs (also including West/Great Plains, Midwest, South, and Southeast) are designed as access points for delivering NRMN’s mentorship, professional development, networking and training opportunities across key concentrated populations nationwide.
Dr. Christine Pfund, Director of NRMN’s Mentor Training Core, and Emily Utzerath, Program Manager of NRMN’s Mentor Training Core, co-facilitated the workshops.
Friday’s day-long Mentor Training Workshop began with an activity called “Coming Full Circle,” during which the entire group stood up and exchanged personal stories to introduce themselves. Each participant was asked to take a theme from the prior participant’s story as a starting point to share their own. Common themes included cleaning up broken lab equipment, lab flooding and other natural disasters, encounters with diversity and racial prejudice, and positive experiences with mentorship.
Throughout the day, participants discussed topics germane to mentoring such as effective communication techniques; fostering equity, inclusion and independence; and promoting professional development. Dr. Pfund also shared her research on mentoring and mentor training interventions and guided participants through creating a mentoring action plan. The day concluded with a wrap-up Q&A session and a participant-driven discussion of next steps to take.
On Saturday, participants shifted their attention to topics related to implementing mentor training programming, including facilitating versions of the Entering Mentoring curriculum, conducting practice facilitation, and where to find curricula and evaluation resources. Midway through the day, the participants broke out into three small groups and practiced facilitating activities from the curricula. The workshop ended with a lively discussion about recruiting mentors, adapting the curricula to specific contexts, and collaborative partnerships for campus implementation.
All participants in Saturday’s session will be invited to join a growing group of workshop alumni around the country. NRMN’s Mentor Training Core periodically to offer support and collect information about how they are implementing programming on their own campus, which allows NRMN to measure the impact of the training.