Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: The NORDP Mentoring Program in Five

Name: Kathy Partlow
Institution: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Are you a Mentor? Mentee? Both? Both

1)      What influenced you to become a mentor or mentee?
I was excited about the NORDP mentoring program opportunity and signed up right after becoming a NORDP member. Being new to RD, I was looking for guidance and support, especially since I was an office of one. I benefited greatly from this program and after 5 years of being a mentee naturally wanted to pay it forward by being a mentor.

2)      What surprised you about being a mentor and/or mentee?
Whether your mentor has 1 or 20 more year(s) of experience, you both benefit equally from the relationship. As a mentor this year, I realized that I didn’t need to wait until I had 5 years of experience to volunteer. With any level of experience, we all can contribute to a fellow colleague’s professional development. Also, I think you’d be surprised that it’s not a big time commitment (~1 hr/month).

3)      How has participating in the NORDP mentoring program impacted your day-to-day work?
I credit the success I’ve had in my daily work to having a mentor through this program. I’ve always based the agenda for our meetings on current or upcoming topics, where I sought feedback or advice. My mentor and mentees are my team, and the quality of my work is raised to a higher level that I couldn’t achieve on my own.

4)      What is one way being in the mentoring program has helped increase or broaden your understanding of research development?
Although I’ve learned a lot about RD at other institutions through the E-list and conference, I’ve received a more in-depth view through monthly meetings with colleagues (my mentor and mentees) outside my institution. I have a broadened perspective that helps me work outside of my silo.

5)      Are there any additional thoughts would you like to share about the NORDP mentoring program?
I feel strongly that participating in this program and developing a good relationship with my mentor has contributed to my professional development and success.  Regardless of where we are in our career, we all have something to gain by being a mentor and a mentee.

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.

We encourage Research Development Professionals who have been in the Research Development field for a few years to consider volunteering to be a mentor; and we encourage members who are new (or relatively new) to the field to sign up as a mentee. But feel free to sign up for whatever you feel you need. You can even sign up to be a mentee AND a mentor!

Open Enrollment to the Mentoring Program can be accessed through the following link. The survey will be available through March 16, 2018.

Interested in learning more? Check out the website.

If you have any questions, please send an email to


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