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NRMN Facilitator Training Workshops: BUILDing Capacity for Mentor and Mentee Training

By January 28, 2016No Comments

To expand and enhance mentor and mentee training at BUILD institutions and other institutions nationwide, NRMN offered two train-the-trainer facilitator training workshops in early 2015. The workshops, Facilitating Mentor and Mentee Training, were held at the University of Minnesota (a NRMN hub site) on February 26-27, 2015 and at the University of San Diego on May 18-19, 2015. A total of 76 participants attended these workshops, representing 10 BUILD primary sites, 13 BUILD partner sites and 14 non-BUILD institutions.

During the workshops, participants learned about evidence-based approaches to mentor and mentee training, gained the knowledge, confidence, and facilitation skills needed to implement training, and developed implementation plans for delivering training programs at their own institutions. Participants focused on Entering Mentoring-based curricula, including mentor training for the mentors of undergraduate students, graduate students, junior faculty and post-doctoral fellows, and on mentee training for undergraduate students based on the Entering Research curriculum.

Although all workshop attendees shared the same goal of implementing training on their campuses, attendees varied in their goals for which type of implementation they wanted to facilitate. For example, participants varied in their training curriculum focus, targeted career stage of attendees, and duration of implementation. The interactive and practice-based nature of the workshop addressed these varying goals, especially with tailored sessions on practicing facilitation and developing implementation plans. In these sessions, participants were able to practice facilitating activities from their chosen curriculum and draft individual implementation plans where they incorporated specific implementation goals.

As a result of the workshop, attendees reported increased confidence in their ability to facilitate research mentor and mentee training and to implement research mentor and mentee training at their respective institutions. Further, of the 82% who completed the workshop evaluation, 89% indicated that the training was either “Very Good” or “Excellent” and 90% indicated specific plans to implement research mentor or mentee training within the year.

In October 2015, a follow-up survey was sent to the workshop participants from BUILD and non-BUILD institutions to collect data on their mentor and mentee training implementations since attending the workshop. Of the 35 (42%) participants who completed the survey, 32 report having implemented at least one mentor or mentee training since the workshop, totaling 194 mentor and mentee training workshops. From the 194 mentor and mentee training workshops, over 329 mentors and 444 mentees were trained. Data from the BUILD institutions alone is also impressive, with 20 participants reporting implementation of 124 mentor and mentee training workshops, training over 270 mentors and 151 mentees.

In the follow-up survey, participants were also asked about their implementation barriers and support. The most common barrier to implementation was lack of time. Participants also indicated that more institutional support and more incentives for faculty involvement would be helpful. Regarding existing support, 53% of participants in the follow-up survey reported that implementation of mentor/mentee training was a recognized part of their job responsibilities, 32% reported that their work environment was very or extremely supportive of their implementing mentee/mentor training, and 53% reported that their work environment was supportive of mentor/mentee training overall.

As implementation of mentor and mentee training at BUILD institutions expands, NRMN will continue to offer support to help address these barriers to implementation. NRMN is also working to create additional mentor and mentee training modules, particularly focused on culturally responsive mentoring and mentee training for both undergraduate and graduate students. Additional facilitator training workshops have also been scheduled as part of NRMN’s ongoing dedication towards building capacity for mentor and mentee training and promoting productive, supportive and culturally responsive mentoring relationships.


Photo: NRMN Facilitating Mentor and Mentee Training Workshop at the University of Minnesota. At the end of the workshop, participants were instructed to raise their hands to indicate how prepared they were to facilitate mentor or mentee training with 1 finger meaning not at all prepared and 5 fingers meaning extremely prepared. Lots of 4’s and 5’s!

Written by Kim Spencer and Jenna Rogers, NRMN Mentor Training Core

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