NORDP Enters the National Conversation on Effective Mentorship at the UNM Mentoring Institute

By Kathy Partlow

Many NORDP members report finding our ‘tribe’ of likeminded individuals when we attend our first NORDP conference. This October, members of the NORDP Mentoring Committee found their second home at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Mentoring Institute’s Annual Conference. With the support of our home institutions, Kathy Partlow, Jan Abramson, and Etta Ward traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 21-25 and joined over 500 attendees that were similarly passionate about mentoring and the role it plays in our professional and personal development.

In a strategic effort to be part of and contribute to the national conversation around effective mentorship in higher education and other industries, several NORDP Mentoring Committee members (Partlow, Abramson, Ward, Scott Balderson, and Paula Carney) authored a peer-reviewed article that was accepted for publication in The Chronicle of Mentoring and Coaching [1] and presented at UNM’s Annual Mentoring Conference.IMG_4660 The aim of the conference is to host a broad constituency, including divisions of higher education, academic researchers, educators, community leaders, administrators, non-profit partners, government agencies, and other professionals around best practices in mentorship and other related topics. The theme of this year’s conference was “towards the science of mentoring.” The conference provided an opportunity not only to showcase NORDP’s work on developing and evaluating Mentoring Program OnBoarding resources, but also to receive critical feedback from evaluation and assessment experts in this space.

From keynote speakers to the hundred plus presentations given by researchers, practitioners, and teachers from across the world, there were a number of trends and common themes throughout the weeklong conference. The Mentoring Committee, through the collective perspectives of over 30 committee members, was already intuitively pursuing these topics on behalf of the NORDP membership.

Mentoring Institute Theme Related On-going NORDP Mentoring Committee Activity
Mentor across differences Mentoring Committee (MC) members hosted a roundtable topic at last year’s NORDP conference on “The Value of Diversity and Inclusion in Mentoring.” The MC is collecting data from Mentoring Program participants to help identify the similarities and differences that contribute to a good match.
Develop a network of mentors The MESHH Network tool in the OnBoarding Packet can help you identify your mentoring network, an important component of our professional development.
Move towards group mentoring In 2019, the MC used the application survey to pilot our first cohort of Peer Mentor Groups (PMGs), supporting the concept of mentoring networks. The MC is developing resources to support the unique needs of these groups.
Pay-it-forward Mentees that have benefited from the Mentoring Program are encouraged to pay-it-forward. Are YOU ready to mentor? Check out this lighting talk from the 2019 conference on making the transition from mentee to mentor.
Use evaluation and assessment to “spiral up” The MC uses surveys of NORDP Mentoring Program participants to enable continual improvement. Many of the MC priorities, activities, and resources developed come from participant feedback. The UNM Mentoring Conference presentation summarizes the evaluation of NORDP Mentoring Program OnBoarding resources.
Mentor the mentors The MC is adapting mentor training for Research Development professionals from the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) curriculum.
Move towards scholarship The MC’s first peer-reviewed paper (pre-print version here) on “Evaluating Professional Society Mentoring Resources Designed to MESHH Matched Pairs” will be published in The Chronicle of Mentoring and Coaching.
Leave time for reflection The MC is developing a new resource for the end of the program year (an ‘OffBoarding’ Packet) to help pairs reflect on the experience. This resource will be shared in Spring 2020.
Build a culture of mentoring The MC’s vision is “as a leading research development organization, NORDP is recognized for a dynamic, sustainable culture of mentorship,” where collectively mentoring each other raises up the quality of us all.

Overall, the NORDP members in attendance at the Annual Mentoring Conference gained information, resources, and approaches that will be invaluable in strengthening mentoring programs and services for NORDP and at our own institutions. At the same time, it was reaffirming to see how well the NORDP Mentoring Committee activities align with common themes and emerging trends as UNM’s Mentoring Institute works to move the field “towards the science of mentoring.”

Have thoughts or ideas you’d like to share with the Mentoring Committee? Interested in becoming involved? Leave a comment or email us at mentorprogram@nordp.org

1. Partlow, K., Abramson, J., Balderson, C.S., Carney, P. & Ward, E (2019). Evaluating Professional Society Mentoring Resources Designed to MESHH Matched Pairs. In Dominguez, N., Neder, C.M., & Zaman, S. (Eds.). 12th annual mentoring conference proceedings (2nd ed.): Towards the science of mentoring [Special Issue 12]. The Chronicle of Mentoring and Coaching, 2(2).