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April 20, 2011

Conference focuses on building support for faculty mentors

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The annual Faculty Workshop on Mentoring focused on how mentoring can facilitate academic and professional success.

The Office for Faculty Development and Diversity and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the Medical Center hosted more than 60 faculty and staff members at the Faculty Workshop on Mentoring last month.

The conference, which was the first to broaden and include the entire University, focused on the how mentoring can facilitate academic and professional success. The event included presentations by Thomas Pearson, the Albert D. Kaiser Professor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and a professor of medicine; Douglas Portman, an associate professor of biomedical genetics and biology; Wendi Heinzelman, dean of Graduate Studies for Arts, Sciences, Engineering and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Paul Ampadu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The conference is part of an effort to provide support for mentoring on campus. “From our internal qualitative research, we found that supporting mentoring was the number one thing our faculty said they needed,” says Vivian Lewis, vice provost for faculty development and diversity. “Mentoring is an important component for research trainees, and we’re committed to providing resources and support University-wide.”

The Office for Faculty Development and Diversity, with support from the Faculty Working Group on Mentoring, completed a report in 2010 that includes recommendations for each school to increase mentoring on campus. A new study, “Researcher Resilience through Multidimensional Mentoring”—an upstate New York initiative led by Lewis, investigates the role of two different types of trainee and faculty mentoring education in promoting resilience. In January, the diversity office also coordinated the first-ever University-wide celebration of Mentoring Month, giving faculty the opportunity to “thank” their mentors through printable or electronic cards and videos.

Susan Hobbs, an assistant professor in the Department of Imaging Sciences in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, who attended the conference for the first time, said it was helpful hearing about issues and struggles and solutions that other people had as mentors.
 “We’re often so busy that we don’t have time to think about the next steps,” she says. “This was a good opportunity to really think about what kind of mentor I want to be.”

Mentoring information can be found at www.rochester.edu/diversity/mentoring.

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