A Great Experience
Providing a Quality Experience
It is very important to set expectations as defined in the previous section of the orientation. Make sure they are realistic. Be prepared to adjust the project to meet the participant’s goals as well as your own.
- Begin with respect, and demonstrate your respect on a daily basis. Be sensitive to the needs of your participant.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Make a concerted effort to provide information in a way that your participant can assimilate it. Some people are auditory learners; others learn visually or kinesthetically.
- Inform your participant when you will not be available and provide an alternate contact.
- Share knowledge not only about your specific area of expertise, but also about many other things, such as:
- - the culture of the workplace
- - facility protocol and processes
- - funding opportunities and difficulties
- - ethical issues
- - policy decisions
- - career paths
- - continuing education
- Guide your participant toward discovery, don’t consistently provide quick answers. He or she will find that it’s much more satisfying to discover a path forward than to be told which way to go.
- Check for understanding whenever you provide information.
- Encourage questions. Foster an environment in which questioning is the basis for creative discovery.
- Provide appropriate feedback on progress and accomplishments. Provide praise as well as suggestions for improvement. Stay objective.
- Build participant confidence by increasing responsibility as your participant demonstrates the ability to handle it.
- Provide ample opportunities for professional development and networking.
Be accessible, personable, and fair.
Invest the time.
- As your relationship with your participant develops, make sure you have a feeling for how much time you need to spend in order for him/her to have a quality experience.
- Make time to provide feedback on abstracts, papers, posters, and other professional development activities.
- Don’t assume that your participant doesn’t need help simply because he/she doesn’t ask for it.
- Your participant wants to interact with you because you are an expert. But you have more to share than technical knowledge, such as your likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, dreams and disappointments.
- Make sure your participant has the opportunity to develop social activities outside of the laboratory.
Treat your participant fairly and with consideration.
- If you have more than one person to mentor, be equitable and consistent, while still treating each as a unique individual.
- Make sure that what you ask your participant to do is relevant to his or her professional development in the chosen field.
- Accept personal differences. Be tolerant of differences in learning and working styles, in addition to being sensitive about differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, etc. Remember: You Are A Role Model.
Deal with problems quickly and fairly.
- You are primarily responsible for the educational content of the participant’s experience; other types of problems might be better referred to program administrators.
- Don’t assume you can fix every problem. You may be part of the problem, so it’s wise to get advice from others on appropriate solutions for problems.
Be aware of differences between high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and postgraduates.
Self-assessment: Ask yourself, “Did I?”
- 1. Provide a well-defined project or assignment and give my participant an active role in it?
- 2. Provide appropriate resources and training for my participant?
- 3. Set reasonable expectations?
- 4. Meet with my participant on a regular basis?
- 5. Ensure that my participant had alternate mentors when I was not available?
- 6. Encourage questions, creativity, exploration, and discovery?
- 7. Provide regular and appropriate feedback?
- 8. Treat my participant with respect?
- 9. Listen to my participant’s problems and concerns and actively seek to address them or refer them to someone who could?
- 10. Provide professional development activities for my participant?
Section: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Finished? Please proceed to the
Mentor Orientation Checkout