ICRAR/UWA runs a mentoring program, jointly coordinated by the Development, Equity and Inclusivity committee and PhD program coordinator. The purpose of this program is to provide extra support to students/staff outside of the supervisory team, and someone with whom they can discuss their study/career progression, work environment and potential work-related issues. As part of this program every PhD student should be assigned a mentor. Masters students and ECRs can also choose to ‘opt-in’ to this scheme and will be assigned a mentor in the same manner.
The guidelines are:
- Mentees are encouraged to meet with their mentors at least bi-annually, and mentors are responsible for initiating these contacts (after having been assigned a mentee by the DEI committee and the PhD program coordinator). However, mentees can request more meetings if needed, depending on their circumstances and the status of their degree program.
- Both mentees and mentors are responsible for informing the mentoring program coordinator of their meeting once a meeting has been held. This is important for the program coordinator to keep track of how the mentoring program is going.
- The points to discuss during each meeting are:
Work: discuss general progress against your PhD plan and motivation level. Mentors are not expected to discuss scientific aspects of the student’s work in detail.
Prospects: discuss long-term goals and potential career options (especially in the final year).
Environment: discuss potential issues at the workplace, or circumstances that are affecting your work. This includes issues in the interaction between the mentee and their supervisor(s).
- If any issues, the mentors report back to a DEI member; or, in the case of minor points and if agreed with the student, talk directly to the supervisor.
Duties of the coordinator of the mentoring program:
- Pair each student with a staff mentor: Each student will be offered three potential mentors. Potential mentors will be post-docs or permanent staff members who have been working at the department for longer than a year. The preferred mentor is then approached by the coordinators. If the student would prefer someone other than suggested by the coordinators, this will be arranged if possible.
- Remind mentors and students to meet regularly: The coordinators send out regular email reminders and keep a checklist of meetings held.
- Report to the DEI chair: Keep the DEI chair informed about the progress of the program.
Note that, due to the process of assigning mentors and mentees, not all staff members will have a mentee, whilst some staff may receive more than one mentee request. It is the job of the coordinator to try to ensure a fair balance amongst staff members.