Reflections: Cohort Mentoring Group

The 2022-23 Mentoring Program started in July, with a new pilot cohort mentoring program. The Cohort Mentoring Group consists of matching three mentees with similar interests with one shared mentor based on the WisdomShare matching algorithm. The Mentoring Committee caught up with a mentoring cohort and in this post, mentor Kate Bullard and her mentees, Kelsey Haasevoort, Josh Tychonievich, Hayley Bohall share their reflections. 

Dr. Kate Bullard, who serves as the mentor in the cohort, is a Senior Research Program Development Officer in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Lehigh University. She manages limited submissions, internal seed funding and research development for the University. Additionally, she works with the Vice Provost on strategic initiatives to improve the research environment at the University. 

Dr. Kelsey Hassevoort is a research development manager and leader of the Community-Academic Partnerships Core in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She facilitates new research initiatives and supports community-academic partnerships in health. She also works with Illinois Extension and other campus partners to develop and coordinate collaborations between undergraduate and graduate scholars and community organizations.

Hayley Bohall is the Assistant Director of Research Development within Knowledge Enterprise at Arizona State University.  Research Development (RD) works with research faculty, staff, and leaders to improve funding success and grow the research enterprise. RD seeks to empower and embolden every faculty, staff, and student member of ASU to increase their competitive edge in support of the expanding quality and quantity of the research enterprise. Hayley’s primary responsibility is to support and manage limited submissions, internal grant competitions, and nominations to various federal and non-federal agencies. She interacts with faculty and staff across disciplines to provide research development support and provides solutions to issues associated with sponsored projects. 

Josh Tychonievich is Research Development Program Director at the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame. Josh provides research development and project management support for the arts, humanities, and social sciences, with a primary focus on helping faculty in the College of Arts and Letters develop, fund, and realize their research agendas.

Q1: What influenced you to apply to be a mentor and a mentee for the 2022-23 NORDP Mentoring Program? Why did you choose the cohort mentoring model?

A: Mentor Kate: I hoped that I could share some of what I’ve learned over the years. I came to research development after doing other things so I hoped that some of that life experience could be useful. The cohort model wasn’t one I explicitly chose but I am enjoying it! 

A: Mentee Kelsey: I have participated in the NORDP mentoring program as a mentee for the last two years, but made the decision this year that I was ready to step into a mentor role. However, I was still looking for some support in the mentoring space so when I saw the cohort model, I thought it would be a perfect fit!

Q2: Have you participated in a 1:1 mentoring model before? How has this experience been different or similar?

A: Mentor Kate: I have participated in 1:1 mentoring before and in many ways it is similar. It is a chance for the mentee to take stock of where they are professionally and think through their goals. Obviously with a group there is less time for each mentee but there is also the chance to learn from each other. 

A: Mentee Josh: I convene the Communications Peer Mentoring Group for NORDP, but aside from that, this cohort is my first mentoring experience. I find that I benefit not only from the advice of the designated mentor but also from the perspectives of my fellow mentees.

Q3: What was your favorite part about this cohort mentoring model? 

A: Mentor Kate: It takes the pressure off of me! Seriously I’ve learned from the mentees in the cohort and they are absolutely learning from each other. It is a really good support group. 

A: Mentee Hayley: Multiple perspectives. One of the primary purposes of a mentoring program is to hear and learn from someone else’s experiences. In this cohort model, not only am I learning from and encouraged by my mentor but also my fellow mentees, who each bring their unique RD background.

Q4: How has participation in the Mentoring Program helped broaden your horizons about Research Development in general and/or affected your daily work in particular? 

A: Mentor Kate: I am more intentional about mentoring my direct report and encouraging her to seek out additional mentors.

A: Mentee Kelsey: Participating in the mentoring program has really broadened my network with NORDP and helped me think about how I want to navigate my career. Now that I’ve experienced being a mentor and a mentee, it’s clear that the learning goes both ways. One thing I love about the cohort mentoring model is that you get to learn not only from your mentor, but from your fellow mentees! Having those additional perspectives allows for a much richer conversation and I find I leave each meeting with actionable advice that informs the way I work.

Q5: What surprised you about being a mentor or a mentee?  

A: Mentor Kate: For me the preparation it takes for each meeting. I absolutely enjoy them but I also have to make sure to block a bit of time to prepare for each one. In part this is because I want to ensure each member of the cohort gets time and space in the hour a month. 

A: Mentee Josh: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how beneficial the mentoring program has been. I’ve already made good use of the suggestions offered by my mentor and fellow mentees. They’ve made me a more effective RD professional. I look forward to our meetings each month!

Q6: Any words of wisdom or encouragement for those wanting to apply next year? Any other thoughts you would like to share?  

A: Mentor Kate: As a mentor or mentee you will definitely benefit! It really is not a huge amount of time per month and it pays dividends well beyond the investment.

A: Mentee Hayley: Don’t hesitate to apply. The cohort model takes some of the pressure off the mentee and has allowed me to enjoy the time we spend together, and I look forward to our meetings. In these first few months, I have already seen my RD career from a new perspective.  

The 2022-23 NORDP Mentoring Program is now in full swing! Applications for the 2023-24 cycle will open in the spring, keep an eye out for emails from the NORDP listserv. Additional mentoring opportunities are available through the Peer Mentoring Groups that are open for participation throughout the year via the WisdomShare platform.

Investment in mentoring is an investment in you. As the new year approaches, we encourage everyone to resolve to invest in themselves next year!

Author: Jess Brassard

Find me on LinkedIn 🚀 Currently: Michigan Technological University 💼 Formerly: University of Michigan, UP Health System-Portage 🧰 Offering my time and talents to: NORDP2023 Conference (co-chair), NORDP Communications Working Group (co-chair), NORDP-GL Executive Committee, NORDP Mentoring Committee, Copper Country Ski Tigers (Level 1 coach)

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