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From left to right: Director of College Services and CLES College Registrar Linda Peka, external speaker Mr Robert McIlwraith and Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean Professor Dan Charman.

CLES One Step Beyond Mentoring Scheme Launch

The CLES One Step Beyond Mentoring Scheme for research and academic staff was launched on Thursday 10th March.

Speakers at the event were Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean Professor Dan Charman, Director of College Services and CLES College Registrar Linda Peka, and external speaker Mr Robert McIlwraith, chartered engineer and member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Mr McIlwraith discussed the benefits of mentoring and his personal experiences. The launch was followed up with a Q & A, refreshments and networking opportunities with Discipline Mentoring Champions.

One Step Beyond Mentoring is a cross-college scheme between staff. A voluntary but formal arrangement is taken on, whereby an experienced individual supports the development of a less experienced member of staff through regular confidential meetings and discussions. Mentor and mentee roles are recognised in staff PDRs and participants in the scheme will be recognised in the PDP process under “citizenship”. It is particularly useful for those in the early stages of their career.

Phase 1 of the scheme is aimed at academic and research staff. Training is provided for all mentors, who can taken on a maximum of four mentees. A pool of mentors are sent to mentees to choose from. Frequency, length and venue for meetings are mutually agreed upon, over a pre-arranged time period.

There is further support available for mentors, should the mentees require further specialist advice and attention. This can be accessed through the online You e-Develop database, which highlights several helpful services and resources that mentors can direct their mentees to. Topics covered include:

  • Protecting Staff Dignity and Respect
  • Supporting Parents and Carers
  • Helping Social, Physical, Mental and/or Spiritual Wellbeing
  • Training and Development Resources

Initial registrations from academics and researchers are encouraged to be submitted by 12th April using the online mentor and mentee application forms.

Background to the Mentoring Process and CLES

Mentoring supports the growth of an individual, both professionally and personally. A mentor is often defined as a “critical friend” or “supportive challenger”, as they help people to develop their self-awareness skills and their ability to take responsibility and solve their own problems.

The distinguishing characteristic of a mentor is that they can use their personal experiences in the support of the mentee. Mentors are experienced professionals who are willing and able to help others, using their own professional experience to support the mentee. They offer impartial feedback and provide a space for the mentee to air issues they may have, with the aim of steering them towards a resolution. It is also beneficial to those in need of expert insight and advice during changing or challenging times.

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES) has identified mentoring as an essential tool for providing a supportive environment for staff through Athena SWAN focus groups and surveys. Mentoring is particularly recommended for improving the retention and promotion of women and under-represented groups in academia, which the College sees as a priority.

CLES Mentoring Champions

Biosciences (Streatham) Dr Rob Wilson
Geography (Streatham) Professor Jo Little
Sport and Health Sciences Dr Sharon Dixon
Psychology Dr Safi Darden
CLES Cornwall Dr Frank Van Veen
CLES One Step Beyond Mentor Scheme Coordinator Kitty Adhamy-Nichol

Date: 21 March 2016

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