Getting or offering mentoring support
An overview of mentoring and how to request one-to-one mentoring support from a more experienced colleague in the Education and Research job family.
Mentoring is a form of one-to-one support where a more experienced colleague uses their knowledge, skills and connections to help someone with their current and future challenges. It has been shown to have a positive effect on individuals’ career success and organisational return on investment.
A mentor is often described as a “critical friend” or “supportive challenger,” because they have a role in helping people become more self-aware and to take responsibility for solving their own problems. However, mentors are distinct from most coaches in that they have often walked the same path before, and use their own experience to support the mentee. They may be able to help with general professional and career advice, or may have particular expertise that is relevant to the mentee’s situation. For example, they may be very successful at engaging industry in research, or at managing people, while the mentee is only starting to develop in those areas.
Although the University does not have a formal mentoring system for all staff, academic staff are allocated a mentor as part of their probation support.
All staff in the Education and Research job family can request a mentor through their departmental mentoring coordinator.
Members of staff are free to seek their own mentors, and it is expected that where appropriate and where workloads permit, experienced staff should be prepared to support colleagues in this way. If you are having difficulty identifying a potential mentor or do not feel able to approach one, you should seek help from your manager or more senior managers in your department.
Mentoring scheme for staff in Education & Research job family
This scheme is founded on the principles that experienced academic colleagues are best placed to help staff identify and connect with a suitable mentor, and that supporting less experienced colleagues by mentoring is a fundamental feature of an academic role. Organisation of the process is therefore rooted in the academic community, with a light administrative oversight and support for co-ordinators and mentors to develop the necessary skills and networks.
Mentors in this context provide informal support for colleagues in their career and welfare. It is distinct from the mentors assigned to probationary lecturers who have a specific role. Mentoring is best performed by someone who has trodden the path of the mentee before them, whether this refers to the whole scope of an academic career, broader experience outside the University, or a specific current concern.
The Education and Research Job Family includes lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, professors, research assistants, research fellows and teaching fellows.
The scheme is open to all Education and Research Staff who have completed probation. It is a voluntary, developmental scheme unconnected to career progression.
Process: finding a mentor or offering to be a mentor
Any member of Education and Research staff (academics, researchers and teaching fellows) who wishes to find a mentor, or who wishes to offer their services as a mentor, should contact their departmental / School mentoring co-ordinator in the first instance
Departmental mentoring co-ordinators
- Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering: Dr Alexander Copping
- Department of Biology & Biochemistry: Prof David Tosh (academic) and Professor Adele Murrell (research)
- Department of Chemical Engineering: Prof Semali Perera
- Department of Chemistry: Dr Adam Squires
- Department of Computer Science: Prof Guy McCusker
- Department of Economics: Prof Chris Martin
- Department of Education: Prof Chris James
- Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering: Prof Cathryn Mitchell
- Department for Health: Dr Fiona Gillison
- School of Management: Prof Mairi Maclean
- Department of Mathematical Sciences: Dr Lucia Scardia
- Department of Mechanical Engineering: Prof Richie Gill and Dr Marcelle McManus
- Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology: Prof Mark Lindsay
- Department of Physics: Dr Daniel Wolverson
- Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies: Dr Sophie Whiting
- Department of Psychology: Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis and Dr Anthony Little
- Department of Social & Policy Sciences: Dr Kate Woodthorpe