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NRMN Master Facilitators Conference: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

By November 27, 2018No Comments

By Stephanie House, Melissa McDaniels, and Bruce Birren

Drs. Asquith and Diggs-Andrews lead a discussion on how lessons learned can inform our facilitation guide and process.

The NRMN Master Facilitators are a cadre of individuals who lead mentor, mentee and facilitator trainings across the country. First launched in 2015, the group currently consists of 41 active facilitators representing 23 institutions from 15 ‘states’ (including DC and Puerto Rico). For their annual meeting this year they held a conference in Madison, WI on October 3-5th.

Dr. Cheng guides the group through the newly developed board game, The Academe Dream.

The ‘day 0’ event on October 3rd was dedicated to gaining greater familiarity with the new Entering Research mentee training curriculum and to discussing dissemination plans in the coming year. The Entering Research curriculum, originally published in 2010, has been revised and expanded to include 96 activities for undergraduate and graduate mentees that address seven areas of trainee development: Research Comprehension and Communication Skills, Practical Research Skills, Research Ethics, Researcher Identity, Researcher Confidence and Independence, Equity and Inclusion Awareness and Skills, and Professional and Career Development Skills. This new and expanded version will be published in 2019 by Macmillan and is now available to download via the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) website, The group discussed strategies to help institutions implement the curriculum locally.

Drs. Martínez-Hernández and Sorkness faciliate one of the new LGBTQ+ cases with the group.

The remaining two days then provided space for Master Facilitators to pilot new activities, share strategies and insights as facilitators, discuss process and dissemination, and celebrate accomplishments from the last 4 years. Some of the additions included an online module on promoting mentee motivation, a board game that helps provide insights into the struggles and inequities within academia, and new case studies that strengthen mentoring and support of members of the LGBTQ+ community. The groups’ accomplishments have greatly exceeded expectations; since 2015 Master Facilitators have led 326 events reaching 8152 participants. This includes 28 facilitator training workshops, resulting in over 700 trained facilitators who themselves have trained thousands more (Spencer et al. 2018). The Master Facilitators also captured their experiences and lessons learned about mentoring, facilitation, and professional development and discussed how these lessons can inform the next phase of this work.

Spencer, K., McDaniels, M., Utzerath, E., Griebel Rogers, J., Sorkness, C., Asquith, P., Pfund, C. (2018). Building a Sustainable National Infrastructure to Expand Research Mentor Training. CBE-LSE 17:3


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