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Written by: Laurie Risner, PhD

Dr. Kelly Diggs-Andrews facilitates the NRMN-CAN Mentor Training Workshop, March 2019.

NRMN-CAN, based out of the University of Chicago and managed by Program Director Nancy Schwartz, PhD, has organized professional development, grantwriting, and mentor training conferences over the past four years for attendees from the Big Ten Academic Alliance.  Since 2015, NRMN-CAN workshop participants have included postdocs and junior faculty (269 attendees), especially those from underrepresented backgrounds (54%), along with faculty and administrators who have received training as grantwriting coaches (34) and facilitators of mentor training (160), including 20 mentor facilitators who participated in the culturally aware mentor training workshop in 2018.


NRMN-CAN Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop participants, March 2019.

In Spring, 2019, NRMN-CAN hosted its final Mentor Training Workshops.  Two workshops were organized in collaboration with the NRMN Mentor Training Core and were held at the Big Ten Conference Center in Rosemont, IL, March 17-19, 2019.  The 80 attendees from Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions included 26 postdoctoral trainees (69% UR), 40 faculty and staff facilitator participants, 5 Master Facilitators from the NRMN Mentor Training Core, and 9 NRMN-CAN committee members or guests.

NRMN-CAN postdocs participate in the mentor training workshop during the opening session.

The NRMN-CAN Mentor Training Conference kicked off with the Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop on Sunday evening, March 17, 2019 with an informal networking reception which gave the 26 Big Ten Academic Alliance postdocs in attendance an opportunity to connect with their peers and meet the NRMN-CAN committee.  The reception was followed by an introduction to NRMN-CAN by Dr. Nancy Schwartz, NRMN-CAN PI, and the opening workshop sessions led by NRMN Master Facilitators Andrew Greenberg, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Robert Tillman, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, along with Xenia Morin, PhD, Rutgers University.  The NRMN-CAN Postdoc Mentoring Up workshop is based on the Entering Mentoring series and was designed to be specifically tailored to postdocs who are in the dual role of mentees to their PI and mentors in training as future faculty members.

NRMN-CAN postdocs engaged in small group discussions during the Postdoc Mentoring Up workshop.

The full NRMN Research Mentor Training Curriculum was implemented over the 1.5 day workshop and covered core mentoring competencies, which are all relevant to postdocs, including: Maintaining Effective Communication, Addressing Equity and Inclusion, Aligning Expectations, Fostering Independence, and Promoting Professional Development, as well as Promoting Self-Efficacy, Cultivating Ethical Behavior, and Enhancing Work-Life Integration.  Postdocs discussed case studies with their small groups and participated in big group discussions led by the Master Facilitators, and left the workshop with a plan to implement their newly defined mentoring philosophies.  The 26 Postdoc participants attended from 10 institutions across the Big Ten Academic Alliance and included three postdocs who had previously attended the NRMN-CAN Grantwriting and Professional Development Conference.

NRMN-CAN Facilitating Research Mentor Training Workshop Participants, March 2019.

On March 18-19, 2019 a NRMN-CAN “Train-the-trainer” Facilitating Research Mentor Training workshop was held to increase the number of faculty and staff in the Big Ten Academic Alliance who intend to offer research mentor training for students, postdocs and faculty on their campuses.  The 16-hour workshop was organized and led by Master Facilitators Melissa McDaniels, PhD, Michigan State University, who is also Co-Director of the NRMN Master Facilitator Initiative, Kelly Diggs-Andrews, PhD, Diggs-Andrews Consulting, LLC, and Philip Cheng, PhD, Henry Ford Health System, with support from the NRMN Mentor Training Core team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The 40 participants included Deans, Professors, and Training Program or Diversity Directors from 14 Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions and 4 guest institutions.

Dr. Melissa McDaniels facilitates the NRMN-CAN workshop, March 2019.

On the first day of the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to become familiar with and experience the full evidence-based research mentor training curricula, based on the Entering Mentoring series.  The day ended with a dinner reception, which gave the participants more time to network with their fellow facilitators from other Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions as well as from their own campuses.

Drs. Melissa McDaniels, Kelly Diggs-Andrews and Philip Cheng lead the NRMN-CAN Facilitator training workshop on March 18, 2019.

On day 2 of the “train-the-trainer” workshop, participants gained confidence in their facilitation skills by practicing mentor training implementation in small groups overseen by the Master Facilitators.  These sessions were followed by discussions led by the Master Facilitators to address on-campus workshop implementation challenges, strategies and resources, and participants actively delved into the numerous resources available to them. The workshop ended with each participant coming away with a plan to implement mentor training on their own campus over the next year.  The 40 participants have now joined the 120 other faculty and staff throughout the Big Ten Academic Alliance who were trained as mentor Facilitators by NRMN-CAN in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

NRMN-CAN Facilitating Research Mentor Training workshop at the Big Ten Conference Center, 2019.

NRMN-CAN wishes to thank the NRMN Master Facilitators, the Mentor Training Core, the NRMN-CAN campus committee representatives, and all the workshop participants who helped make this such a successful mentor training conference for the Big Ten Academic Alliance.

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