Mentoring is fairly high on my agenda at the moment since the results of the CROS Survey this year showed that, on the whole, research staff don’t seem to be getting the mentoring or coaching support that they would like.
There are some mentoring opportunities at Manchester (the Manchester Gold scheme being the most obvious one), but it seems that they don’t always have the right kind of mentors to help researchers to progress their careers in the direction that they’d like. As a result the Research Staff Development Officers in each of the 4 faculties are currently working on a mentoring resource to support researchers in getting the support that they want. Ultimately we hope to build a website dedicated to mentoring, which will make clear the variety of options which are open to researchers who would like a mentor. We also plan to launch a ‘micro-mentoring’ scheme which will provide another alternative to researchers who are looking for careers or professional advice from someone with more experience.
In the meantime, there is some advice on finding a mentor at Inside Higher Ed – http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/mentor/bonaparte. A good mentor is never going to be able to replace a good supervisor or PI, but a mentor might be able to offer an outside perspective on problems or challenges, or be able to offer specific advice (on, for example, publishing in a particular journal, making a transition that your PI never made, applying to a particular funding body or working in a particular role).
Look out for more information about mentoring for research staff over the next couple of months, and if you have any queries or comments about mentoring that you’d like to contribute as we develop the resources for research staff you can let me know by commenting on this blog or e-mailing me separately at: firstname.lastname@example.org