Mentoring Matters – And so do you!

Submitted by Jan Abramson, NORDP Fellow

One constant after the crazy months we’ve experienced throughout 2020: January is National Mentoring Month. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.” This quote is attributed to Oprah Winfrey. My own philosophy of mentoring is to “pay it forward, to engage in open and honest relationships that support and inspire colleagues to see and become their best selves.”

Take a moment to reflect on the mentors who have supported you, the mentees who have inspired you, and the importance of mentoring in our work as Research Development professionals. Anytime is an appropriate time to reach out, reconnect, and express appreciation to those you have touched your life. If you’d like a reminder, #ThankYourMentorDay is January 29, 2021. This social media expression of gratitude is generally the last Friday in January if you want to mark your calendars well in advance.

The NORDP Mentoring Program is a benefit available to all NORDP Members. The Mentoring Committee strives to equip Research Development professionals for success by offering meaningful mentoring experiences, expertise, support and resources. Over the past year, the committee has developed new programs and resources to cultivate community and support mentors and mentees.

Applications for the 2021 mentoring program will open in the spring. In addition to the mentor/mentee dyads that compose the mentoring program, there are currently six Peer Mentoring Groups (PMGs) available for those interested in developing peer mentoring relationships. They are based on the six Pillars of Research Development: Career/Professional Development, Communication, Enhancement of Collaboration, Leadership/Management, Proposal Development and Support and Strategic Planning and Advancement. PMGs are composed of NORDP members at many professional development levels who have similar interests and share resources, provide feedback, and act as accountability partners in building skills. To join a Peer Mentoring Group please email

Become a mentor. Become a mentee. Join a PMG. (or, do all three). The Mentoring Committee will help you along the way. And, in addition to the benefits of participating in mentoring, engaging in NORDP programs and activities is a great way to leverage your NORDP membership.

Mentor Training for Research Development Professionals – Registration Open for January 2021 Webinar Series

Are you a mentor? A mentee? Do you find yourself formally or informally mentoring staff or faculty? Are you ready to explore mentoring competencies that can be utilized across the work of research development (RD)? This interactive webinar series covers the 9-module Entering Mentoring curriculum, initially developed for mentoring researchers and tailored for RD professionals. A recent webinar series attendee commented: “EXCELLENT training! The ideas presented are very applicable both to mentoring both within the research development profession and elsewhere in the research enterprise – the things I have learned and practiced in this course are incredibly valuable to me as I provide mentoring to faculty, particularly early stage investigators and junior faculty, in the area of grantsmanship.”

Using evidence-based strategies, participants will build upon competencies crucial to the success of the mentoring relationship and expand mentor training across the research enterprise. Participants who complete the entire curriculum will receive a certificate of completion. The curriculum results from an association between the NORDP Mentoring committee and the University of Wisconsin Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) in collaboration with the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), organizations involved in developing and validating the original curriculum. RD professionals at all levels of mentoring will explore how mentoring (shown to improve career outcomes, impact employee engagement and retention, and lead to more inclusive work environments) can benefit mentors and mentees in RD.

This webinar series will be presented and facilitated by the NORDP Mentoring Committee. There are three certified CIMER Trained Facilitators, and four Trained Facilitators on the Mentoring Committee.

Webinar Schedule: Interactive Webinar Sessions will be held on 5 Tuesdays (Jan 26 – Feb 23, 2021; 2-4 pm EST) and follow up open sessions on Thursdays (Jan 28 – Feb 25; 2-3 pm EST).

Register TODAY for the webinar series (30 participant limit):

If this series doesn’t fit in your schedule, share your scheduling preferences to help us plan for future Mentor Training by completing a survey of your preferences.

Questions? Contact us at

Celebrate Good Times… Mentor On!

By Kathy Partlow

As a new and unprecedented academic year begins, the Mentoring Committee took a moment to celebrate accomplishments of the past year and brainstorm new opportunities for the coming year. Committee members submitted words associated with participating on the Committee – like fun, support, dynamic, inclusive, community, and productive –to generate a word cloud. The accomplishments in the past year initiated momentum for mentoring opportunities available to NORDP members in the coming year.

Mentor-Mentee Pairs: The Committee continues to develop and evaluate resources to support mentoring relationships (see the Roadmap and Reflection Resource) for the growing number of matched pairs in the annual NORDP Mentoring Program. This work enabled NORDP to join the national conversation on mentoring at the Mentoring Institute’s annual conference and in The Chronicle of Mentoring & Coaching (see full publication here). In the end of year survey for the 2019-2020 Mentoring Program, 96% of participants would recommend the program to a colleague and 72% plan to continue the mentoring relationship beyond the formal program year. This year, separate cohort meetings (McHuddles) will be available for mentees and mentors to allow each group to interact and learn from each other.

Peer Mentoring Groups: New Peer Mentoring Groups (PMGs) are benefiting from last year’s pilot program and new supporting resources. PMGs allow members with similar interests to share resources, provide feedback, and act as accountability partners for building skills in leadership, proposal development, collaboration, career development, communication, and strategic planning. The invitation remains open to join and meeting times are posted on NORDP’s event calendar. Additionally, the PMG framework is supporting the exciting new NORDP LEAD (Leadership, Engagement and Development) opportunity.

Mentor Training: The RD-adapted mentor training developed from the evidence-based curriculum available from the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) was beta-tested in a virtual format this summer. This opportunity for mentor training will be broadly available to NORDP members in 2021. You can indicate your interest for participating in mentor training here.

Additional highlights, benefits of mentoring relationships, and experiences of supporting mentoring at our home institutions will be shared in the second iteration of the well-received Mentoring Lightning Storm. Join us for a fun-filled, fast-paced, and mentoring-focused series of lightning talks on October 23 at 2 p.m. Eastern!

Have other thoughts or ideas you’d like to share with the Mentoring Committee? Feel free to leave a comment or email us at

Entering Mentoring Interactive Webinar Series: A Successful Beta Test

By Samarpita Sengupta

A year ago, when I was thinking of applying for the NORDP mentoring program as a mentee, I was encouraged to apply as a mentor too. I remember the paralyzing terror I felt thinking “what do I know about mentoring someone else” and “how am I even qualified.”

For some people, like the extraordinary members of the NORDP Mentoring Committee, mentoring comes easily, but for others, it is a learned skill. The Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) and the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) were established to fill in the gap; to educate researchers of all stages on mentoring; to create best practices; and to establish a mentoring culture within academia.

NRMN established curriculums to offer mentor training, mentee training and facilitator training. These courses are now offered through CIMER. NORDP members and pioneers, Jan Abramson and Etta Ward went through the Facilitator training offered by NRMN and CIMER. They immediately saw the potential and began hatching plans for providing mentor training to the NORDP community. As luck may have it, they met Paula Carney, who had gone through the Facilitator training and the NORDP mentor training subcommittee was formed. Subsequently, other members of the group, Kathryn Partlow, Erica Severan went through the training;team member Kristen Boman has worked with the NRMN Mentor Training program since its inception. The subcommittee has recently recruited Tabitha Finch, a new NORDP member, and a trained facilitator.

Over the past year, the Mentor Training subcommittee of the NORDP Mentoring Committee has been hard at work adapting the Entering Mentoring training curriculum for RD professionals. They created case studies, didactics and a workshop to be delivered at the NORDP Annual Conference. And then the pandemic hit!

When the conference was canceled, the team quickly pivoted to a Zoom-based delivery format. After hours of discussions on how to best deliver the trainings, duration of each session and how to preserve the most interactive portions of an in-person workshop, namely, the conversations around mentoring case studies and sharing of personal, sometimes vulnerable, experiences; the team put together the 8-part Mentor Training Session that was tested among a small cohort of NORDP members this past summer.

The sessions were spread out over 8 weeks with one hour each session, followed by a Room in the Zoom where the presenters hung around to keep conversations going and answer questions. The topics covered included:

  1. Introduction
  2. Maintaining Effective Communication
  3. Aligning expectations
  4. Assessing Understanding
  5. Addressing Equity and Inclusion
  6. Fostering Independence
  7. Promoting Professional Development
  8. Articulating Your Mentoring Philosophy

The sessions were well attended and almost all of the people who started the 8 week session were present at the final session. There were rave reviews about the virtual format and its ease of use, the use of breakout rooms to facilitate conversations and provide networking opportunities, zoom polls and word clouds to drive the points home and overall knowledge gained by the trainees. Most people thought very highly of the presenters and found the program met its learning objectives and that the information they gained was going to be useful for them. Open ended questions yielded excited responses from the attendees: “EXCELLENT and very well-done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know a TON of work went into the adaptation of this material, and it showed.”

While most of the feedback was positive, most attendees felt that the time devoted to the sessions was not adequate. One-hour sessions were not enough time to get into deep conversations about the topics being covered.

The Mentor Training team has taken the feedback into consideration and they are now working on innovative solutions to the problem of less time while being cognizant of the limitations of virtual platforms and the associated attention spans. A NORDP Circle has been created so that the beta tester attendees can maintain the sense of belonging to a cohort.

As someone who was once terrified of being a mentor, being a part of the subcommittee and attending these sessions has helped me come a long way. I now know what my mentoring philosophy looks like and I know what my strengths and weaknesses as a mentor and by extrapolation, a mentee are. I feel better prepared for any future mentoring relationships, especially those with people who are different than me. I not only feel that I have grown as a mentor, but the session on addressing equity and inclusion have helped me grow as a compassionate human aware of my biases that I can extend to all my relationships.  

NORDP mentoring committee plans to offer future sessions of the Mentor Training Workshops soon. Furthermore, there are additional exciting opportunities in the pipeline! If you are interested in joining the Mentoring Committee or the Mentor Training team, please email

Stay tuned to this space for more soon!

NORDP’s Mentoring Program Has a New Reflection Resource!

NORDP icon reflection bubble blueThe NORDP Mentoring Committee continually updates and refines the resources available to support the membership in their mentoring endeavors. One of the exciting new resources available to NORDP members is the Mentoring Reflection Packet.
An essential element in any mentoring relationship is reflection. This allows both the mentee and the mentor to look back at their time together and see what they’ve learned and how this has informed their personal and professional development moving forward. The reflection packet designed by the NORDP Mentoring Committee was specifically created with NORDP mentoring pairs in mind, but it can be utilized for any mentoring relationship.

The reflection packet features a reflection conversation document with guiding discussion questions to encourage thoughtful dialogue between mentee and mentor. It also includes a self-reflection template for each member of the dyad. The combination of the self-reflection and the relationship reflection conversation support the closure or redefining of the relationship. These documents facilitate a productive and formative look-back at the mentoring relationship from all perspectives within the mentor-mentee pair, and aid in determining what path they take forward. Many members continue their relationships beyond the formal “one-year” of the program.

You can view the Reflection Packet here, and find the full repertoire of mentoring resources in the NORDP Mentoring Toolkit. To see how reflection is a part of the mentoring journey as envisioned by NORDP, check out our newly developed Mentoring Roadmap.

Questions or ideas? Pass them along to the Mentoring Committee at

Contributed by the Mentoring Committee

New Mentoring Relationship Roadmap Resource Available

roadmap with titles

The Mentoring Committee MESHH Team has developed a Mentoring Relationship Roadmap as a guide to planning out your mentoring experience throughout the year.

The Roadmap simplifies engagement across the phases of the mentoring relationship, identifies resources to use and suggests timing for the introduction of the tools and the important reflection period as the mentoring year ends and the relationship shifts into a peer-mentoring phase. The Roadmap, OnBoarding Packet and other resources developed by the NORDP Mentoring Committee can be adapted to support a variety of mentoring scenarios.

The Mentoring Relationship Roadmap can be found here and will be posted on the NORDP Mentoring Committee website. Previously, the mentoring year coincided with the timing of the Annual Conference. Going forward, the mentoring program will align with the NORDP program year, July 1 – June 30. The Roadmap has been included in the introductory emails sent to mentor-mentee pairs.

Please contact the Mentoring Committee at with any questions, suggestions or ideas.

Contributed by the Mentoring Committee

Mentoring in a Time of Crisis and Uncertainty

Reposted with permission from Lisa Fain and the Center for Mentoring Excellence Team

Here we are in April, faced with a whole new reality from what any of us could have imagined even 3 weeks ago. There is great uncertainty, and many people are hurting now. Top this with the imperative for physical distancing, and we have a situation where the ramifications of isolation will be felt in the business and personal lives of countless people.

And yet, what the COVID-19 crisis reminds us is how connected we all are, and how vital these connections are to our well-being and growth. Since we can’t have the connection of being together physically, it is critical that we consciously create our connections. We can still be socially connected even though we are apart. This is why I’ve used the term “physical” distancing instead of social distancing, and why I encourage you to do the same.

This is a time for Connection. Mentoring is a great way to connect. Whether you are a mentor or a mentee, reach out with intention and compassion to make your mentoring relationship stronger.


Mentoring in a time of Crisis and Uncertainty

We have received numerous requests for more information about how to navigate mentoring in our current crisis. Throughout the month of April, Lisa will be hosting a series of short (15-30 minute) Facebook Live broadcasts on the Center for Mentoring Excellence Facebook Page called Monday Mentoring Minutes every Monday in April at 10 a.m. pacific/1 p.m. eastern to address some important issues and provide practical guidance. We’re very excited to be joined by several distinguished guests.

Mentoring is a great way to maintain connections and get clarity in this difficult time. Please join us throughout the Month of April on Mondays at 10 a.m. pac/1 pm eastern for Monday Mentoring Minutes over Facebook Live. This series of 15-30 minute conversations focuses on how to leverage mentoring for the issues you may be facing right now.CMEpost_7[1]
Tune in at 10 a.m. every Monday in April, here’s the lineup:
Monday, April 6: Mentoring in a Time of Physical Distancing, with Center for Mentoring Excellence founder, Dr. Lois J. Zachary.
Monday, April 13: Introverts and Extroverts in Mentoring: with Jennifer Kahnweiler.
Monday, April 20: In Extremist Mentoring – Mentoring in a Crisis, with Chaveso (Chevy) Cook, CEO of Military Mentors.
Monday, April 27: Forming your Personal Board of Advisors with Kate Sommer.

Wishing you good health, meaningful connections,
and continued mentoring success.
Lisa Fain and the Center for Mentoring Excellence Team

Find Time To Mentor: Applications are now open for the NORDP Mentoring Program!

The Mentoring Program is an opportunity to enhance your skills by interacting with other research development professionals. Every year, there is a high need for mentors – and YOU have wisdom to share! Consider becoming a mentor (and, you can be a mentee as well). The Mentoring Committee has developed an OnBoarding Packet, Closure Tools, archived webinars, and a set of FAQs. A facilitator team available to support you, and will be in touch several times throughout the year. Mentors are never alone…. We support each other, as we support the profession.

Mentoring is an investment in yourself, and in the future of NORDP. AND mentoring takes time. Where and how do you add the time into an already busy schedule?

  1. Make the commitment: Why are you mentoring? Commit to your reason, rather than your mentee.
  2. Recognize that for every hour with your mentee, you might have 30 minutes of pre- or postmeeting work. Mentoring is active. Come prepared for meetings, follow up with anything you’ve committed to do.
  3. Set a specific time: Find a day and time that works for you and your mentee. Get it on the calendar, and be respectful of the time. Thirty to 45-minutes might be ideal.
  4. Define your goals: Mentors and mentees can have separate goals and there could be a goal for the mentoring relationship. Use SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
  5. Be honest: If your commitment in the mentoring relationship is beginning to wane, there is a chance that you will push it farther down on your list of priorities. If this happens, reach out to a facilitator. They can help you figure out what changes can be made to ensure that the mentoring relationship remains a priority.
  6. Be realistic: Figure out what works. Meeting every other week might feel like too often; meeting once a month might be too long between meetings. Be fluid and flexible until you find a meeting schedule that is just right.

All NORDP members can apply here to be mentors, mentees, or join a Peer Mentoring Group. (or all three!) The deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Individual Mentor/Mentee matches and Peer Mentor Groups will be notified prior to the 2020 NORDP Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas (May 17-20).

Need more information? Check out the NORDP Mentoring Committee webpages, or email:

Taking Mentoring To New Levels With NRMN and CIMER Certification

Posted by The Mentoring Committee

In April 2018, Etta Ward and Jan Abramson received travel awards through the NORDP Strategic Alliances Committee to participate in National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) facilitator training in Madison, Wisconsin. Trainings were based on the Entering Mentoring curriculum, a product of a 5-year, NIH-funded U01, which has now entered its second 5-year cycle. After completing training, Jan and Etta presented a White Paper to the NORDP Board of Directors, began to share the concepts and competencies at NORDP conferences and started implementing the strategies outlined in the White Paper. Simultaneously, the Mentoring Committee began to integrate NRMN concepts into resources for mentoring program participants. By early 2019, the Mentoring Committee had collaborated with the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), a core of the U01, and received permission to adapt the evidence-based mentor training program and curriculum for research development professionals. The work NORDP is doing in this area will have a wide impact: once completed, the curriculum will be publicly available, at no cost, through CIMER and will be the first curriculum developed for research professional staff.

In late January, which was also National Mentoring Month, Jan and Etta reached Level 2: Certified Facilitator status from CIMER. The certification process required completing facilitator training, facilitating multiple Entering Mentoring trainings, demonstrating evidence of mastery through evaluations, applying and being accepted. They received notice of becoming certified on the same day – which was Etta’s birthday. That was fully a happy coincidence, as both submitted applications separately and at different times.

At this year’s NORDP Conference, the Mentoring Committee will present a 4-hour workshop designed to introduce NORDP members to the Entering Mentoring curriculum and competencies. During summer 2020 the Mentoring Committee will collaborate with the NORDP Professional Development Committee to present a series of on-line workshops to complete all of the Entering Mentoring training modules. This will give RD professionals a sense of the materials, so they can integrate the competencies into their work with faculty, staff and other professionals.

The Mentoring Committee includes one other certified facilitator (Paula Carney) and two trained facilitators (Kathy Partlow and Erica Severan-Webb). The Mentoring Committee would like to add trained NRMN or CIMER facilitators to a resource list. If you have gone through NRMN or CIMER facilitator training, please let the committee know by emailing


NORDP 2019 Holiday cardBy Jan Abramson

The NORDP Mentoring Committee wishes all NORDP members a Happy New Year as we enter January 2020 … and National Mentoring Month. This January is the 19th annual celebration of the power of mentoring. Originally developed as a campaign to expand quality mentoring opportunities for youth, the month-designation can be a catalyst to remember the mentors and mentees that have supported you along your path.

The NORDP Mentoring Program is a benefit available to all NORDP Members. Members supporting members as mentors, as mentees, or as part of a peer mentor group, make our organization, and the profession of Research Development stronger.

Applications for the 2020 mentoring program will open in February. Until that time, be thinking of all the mentors and mentees who have enriched your life over the years. And mark your calendars.

January 8, 2020: I Am a Mentor Day

Recognize yourself for all you do as a mentor. Mentors can have profound impacts on mentees. Take a moment to reflect on your legacy. Share your experience using the national hashtag #MentorIRL.

January 30, 2020: Thank Your Mentor Day

Take a moment to reflect on the mentors who have influenced you. Send them a note, a text or an email. Share your story on social media using #ThankYourMentor.

And, please, consider becoming a mentor in the NORDP Mentoring Program when applications open. The Mentoring Committee has numerous resources to support you. For those of you who have benefited from the mentoring program, remember the strength of the program is #PayItForward.