Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: The NORDP Mentoring Program in Five Questions featuring Karen Eck


Name: Karen Eck
Institution: Old Dominion University
Are you a Mentor? Mentee? Both? Mentor x 2
1. What influenced you to become a mentor or mentee?
I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors in my career but I also know what it’s like to feel a bit isolated in my work and looking for advice, support, and someone with whom to share ideas. NORDP’s Mentorship Program has been a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and provide an outlet for exchange to our mutual benefit.

2. What surprised you about being a mentor or mentee?
How easy it is to reach out and develop rapport with people you either don’t know at all or have met briefly at a NORDP conference. RD professionals have so much in common and this becomes apparent once you start talking! Common ground for us is easy to find and that’s the basis for any good conversation – or relationship.

3. How has participating in the NORDP mentoring program impacted your day-to-day work?
The insight I get about the reality of RD at other institutions helps me to think more strategically about my own. I look forward to the time I spend with my mentees. I learn so much from them; it’s a real exchange and I get as much as I give.

4. What is one way being in the mentoring program has helped increase or broaden your understanding of research development?
RD professionals play many different roles. It’s interesting to learn about other jobs, which may mirror your job responsibilities, but due to institutional size, history, geography, policy, politics, etc. require a different approach or different strategies.

5. What other thoughts would you like to share about the program?
We have not set goals for the relationship yet but we have a really good give-and-take. We compare our institutions and share stories. It doesn’t feel like a mentor-mentee relationship but more two colleagues getting together to mull things over. Our experiences are different but our level of expertise feels similar although in different areas.

The NORDP Mentoring Program
The NORDP Mentoring Program offers a formalized pairing process to match a mentor and a mentee with similar professional interests and different levels of experience in order to frame a relationship that offers mutual guidance and support. Once pairs are matched, the mentoring process is an informal one based on the needs of each individual pair.

Posted on behalf of the Mentoring Committee

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