2018 NRMN-CAN Mentor Training Workshops Bring Together Officials From Big Ten Academic Alliance Institutions

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Contact Info: lrisner1@peds.bsd.uchicago.edu

By Laurie Risner

NRMN-CAN hosted three concurrent Mentor Training Workshops from May 20 to 22, 2018. The workshops were organized in collaboration with the NRMN Mentor Training Core and were held  at the Big Ten Conference Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The 96 attendees from 15 Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions included 29 postdoctoral trainees, 53 faculty and staff participants, six Master Facilitators from the NRMN Mentor Training Core, and eight  NRMN-CAN committee members or guests.

Participants in the NRMN-CAN Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop, May 2018

Kicking off Postdoctoral Mentoring Up

On Sunday, May 20, the NRMN-CAN Mentor Training Conference kicked off with the “Postdoctoral Mentor Training Workshop” at the Aloft Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. First, an informal networking reception gave the 29 Big Ten postdocs in attendance an opportunity to connect with their peers from 13 different institutions and meet the NRMN-CAN committee.  Following the reception, Nancy Schwartz, Ph.D., NRMN-CAN Principal Investigator (PI) and Xenia Morin, Ph.D., of Rutgers University, introduced NRMN-CAN. NRMN Master Facilitators Andrew Greenberg, Ph.D., of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Robert Tillman, Ph.D., of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center led the opening workshop sessions. The NRMN-CAN “Postdoc Mentoring Up” workshop was based on the Entering Mentoring series and was designed by Tillman and Greenberg to be specifically tailored to postdocs who serve in the dual roles of being mentees to their PI and mentors in training as future faculty members. 

NRMN-CAN postdocs engage 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 relevant to postdocs, including topics such as: maintaining effective communication; addressing equity and inclusion; aligning expectations; fostering independence; and, promoting professional development. Topics also included: promoting self-efficacy, cultivating ethical behavior, and enhancing work-life integration. The postdocs discussed case studies within their small groups and participated in big group discussions led by the Master Facilitators. They left the workshop with a plan to implement their newly defined mentoring philosophies.  The 29 Postdoc participants were from 13 institutions across the Big Ten Academic Alliance and included eight who had previously attended the NRMN-CAN grant writing and professional development conference.

Participants gather together during the NRMN-CAN facilitated Mentor Training Workshop in May 2018.

Mentoring in Action

Starting on Monday, May 21, the NRMN-CAN “Train-the-trainer” Facilitating Research Mentor Training workshop was offered. The goal of the workshop was  to increase the number of Big Ten Academic Alliance faculty and staff who will offer research mentor training for students, postdocs and faculty on their campuses. It was organized and led by Master Facilitators Melissa McDaniels, Ph.D., of Michigan State University, who is also co-director of the NRMN Master Facilitator Initiative, and Kermin J. Martínez-Hernández, Ph.D., of St. John Fisher College. The NRMN Mentor Core team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison assisted with the workshop. The 32 participants included deans, professors, and training program or diversity directors from nine Big Ten campuses.

Melissa McDaniels and Kermin J. Martínez-Hernández lead the NRMN-CAN Facilitator training workshop on May 21, 2018.

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, Master Facilitators oversaw small group work, during  which the participants gained confidence in their facilitation skills by practicing mentor training implementation. 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.  


NRMN-CAN Facilitator training group discussions.

On the second day, 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. By the end of the workshop, each participant had developed a plan to implement mentor training on their own campus over the next year.  The 32 participants will 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.

Participants in the NRMN-CAN Culturally Aware Mentor Training, May 2018.

Culturally Aware Mentoring: #WokeMentoring

Some of the attendees had already received mentor-training certification to lead NRMN-CAN workshops. However, this was the first time that NRMN-CAN offered the new Culturally Aware Mentor (“CAM”) Training workshop to 21 Big Ten faculty, deans, and senior administrators. The CAM workshop, which is designed to bring awareness of how cultural diversity can impact research mentoring relationships, was led by Master Facilitators Kelly Diggs-Andrews, Ph.D., of Diggs-Andrews Consulting, LLC and Anne Marie Weber-Main, Ph.D., 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 seven hour workshop, the participants learned about and discussed 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. Be sure to check out the NRMN CAM webinar hosted by Angela Byars-Winston, Ph.D., and Rick McGee, Ph.D. under the hashtag #WokeMentoring.   

CAM participants use role play to practice culturally responsive mentoring principles.

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 fourth annual Fall Professional Development and Grant-writing Conference for September 2018.


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