Write-up by Laurie Risner
NRMN-CAN hosted three concurrent Mentor Training Workshops in May, 2018. The workshops were organized in collaboration with the NRMN Mentor Training Core and were held at the Big Ten Conference Center in Rosemont, IL, May 20-22, 2018. The 96 attendees from 15 Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions included 29 postdoctoral trainees, 53 faculty and staff participants, 6 Master Facilitators from the NRMN Mentor Training Core, and 8 NRMN-CAN committee members or guests.
The NRMN-CAN Mentor Training Conference kicked off with the Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop on Sunday evening, May 20th at the Aloft Hotel. First, an informal networking reception gave the 29 Big Ten 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 Dr. Xenia Morin, Rutgers University, 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. The NRMN-CAN Postdoc Mentoring Up workshop was based on the Entering Mentoring series and was designed by Drs. Tillman and Greenberg 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.
The full NRMN Research Mentor Training Curriculum was implemented over the 1.5 day workshop and covered core mentoring competencies, 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 29 Postdoc participants attended from 13 institutions across the Big Ten Academic Alliance and included 8 postdocs who had previously attended the NRMN-CAN grantwriting and professional development conference.
Starting on Monday, May 21, a NRMN-CAN “Train-the-trainer” Facilitating Research Mentor Training workshop was offered to increase the number of faculty and staff in the Big Ten Academic Alliance who will offer research mentor training for students, postdocs and faculty on Big Ten campuses. The workshop was organized and led by Master Facilitators Dr. Melissa McDaniels of Michigan State University, who is also Co-Director of the NRMN Master Facilitator Initiative and Dr. Kermin J. Martínez-Hernández of St. John Fisher College, with assistance from the NRMN Mentor Core team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The 32 participants included Deans, Professors, and Training Program or Diversity Directors from 9 Big Ten campuses.
On the first morning of the workshop, the participants had the opportunity to become familiar with and experience the evidence-based research mentor training curricula, based on the Entering Mentoring series. In the afternoon, participants gained confidence in their facilitation skills by practicing mentor training implementation in small groups overseen by the Master Facilitators. The day ended with a networking reception which gave the participants time to meet fellow facilitators from other Big Ten institutions as well as from their own campuses.
On day 2, the Master Facilitators and participants discussed 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 32 participants now join the 67 other faculty and staff throughout the Big Ten who were trained as mentor Facilitators by NRMN-CAN in 2016 and 2017.
Finally, NRMN-CAN also offered the new Culturally Aware Mentor (“CAM”) Training workshop for the first time, to 21 Big Ten faculty, deans, and senior administrators who have already experienced the NRMN mentor training curriculum; most as NRMN-CAN trained facilitators. The CAM workshop, which is designed to bring awareness of how cultural diversity can impact research mentoring relationships, was led by Master Facilitators Dr. Kelly Diggs-Andrews, of Diggs-Andrews Consulting, LLC and Dr. Anne Marie Weber-Main, of the University of Minnesota. Prior to the workshop, CAM participants completed an online training module and prepared a “culture box” containing items that related to their social identities, which they shared as the first exercise of the workshop. Throughout the 7 hour workshop, the participants learned about and engaged in discussions of strategies to reduce and counteract impact of assumptions, privilege, stereotype threat, and biases in the mentor-mentee relationships, through the use of case studies and role play.
NRMN-CAN wishes to thank the Master Facilitators, the Mentor Training Core and all the participants who made this such a successful mentor training conference for the Big Ten Academic Alliance. NRMN-CAN is now planning their 4th annual Fall Professional Development and Grantwriting Conference for September 2018.
*6/21/18 Due to an editing error, the NRMN Newsletter mistakenly attributed authorship to an Editorial Staff member, rather than Laurie Risner. In addition, these workshops were originally stated to be organized by the Mentor Training Core. We would like to correct this statement and recognize that the NRMN-CAN Team was responsible for organizing these events.