The Eastern Arc Mentoring Scheme
Eastern Arc offers us the chance to go beyond the limits of our own university and work creatively with colleagues across the consortium. The 2022/23 programme is now open for applications, with a deadline of 31 October 2022. To apply, complete this form and send it to Phil Ward.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a voluntary, but formal, arrangement whereby ‘an experienced individual, outside the reporting relationship, holds regular meetings and discussions and takes a personal interest in guiding and supporting the development of a less experienced person in progressing within and beyond their immediate role’ (Hale, 2000).
Mentoring can cover all aspects of your career. You can be either – or both – a mentor or a mentee. In standard mentoring it is usually a more senior colleague who mentors; in reverse mentoring the more junior colleague can offer specific insights and knowledge to senior mentees.
Mentoring should be viewed as a relationship rather than a management activity. It should be a safe non-judgmental relationship that facilitates a wide range of learning, experimentation, and development.
Benefits of mentoring
Mentoring across Eastern Arc and between different institutions will have a benefit to both mentors and mentees.
- Mentees: for mentees, it offers a source of support outside institutional structures, therefore clearly separated from management structures, providing a fresh perspective on many issues, and allaying potential concerns about confidentiality;
- Mentors: for mentors there is personal satisfaction; the opportunity to gain insight into a different institution, and to expand networks; evidence of taking on a senior role within the academic community.
Feedback from previous years’ cohorts
The EARC mentoring scheme has been running for two years. At the end of each year we get feedback from those who took part.
Last year over 90% of those who took part found it useful, and, in both years, mentees have appreciated having ‘an external, objective view, sounding board, and advice’, ‘having someone to talk with about my feelings towards the new role,’ and ‘finding someone who ‘gets’ me and having unconditional support from someone with lots of experience of what you have been through.’
For some, the experience was significant. ‘I am not exaggerating when I say this experience has been life changing,’ wrote one mentee. ‘It made me realise I do have a place in academia and that I am allowed to take up space, and find meaningful ways to work, I don’t just have to be grateful for whatever scraps my employers throw my way.’
For both mentor and mentee, it was an opportunity to ‘shake up set ways of thinking, whether that be ‘It doesn’t have to be done like this’ or ‘Thank God my institution doesn’t do things like that’: both are equally illuminating and helpful.’
How does the Eastern Arc mentoring scheme work?
The scheme is intended to be as non-bureaucratic and as non-hierarchical as possible.
Once the application deadline has passed (see below), we will match mentors and mentees. They will then be invited to a launch meeting at which they will meet others on the programme. We will outline the next steps, and there will be an opportunity to ask any questions.
In previous years, this launch meeting has had to be online due to Covid. This year, we hope to have one meeting in person to enable mentors and mentees to meet each other informally, to share lunch, and to discuss any issues they may have. We will also have an online option for those who can’t make it.
Depending on what you wish to be mentored for, the mentor will look at your career profile as a whole and share experience about promotion, grant capture, teaching with support and encouragement. In other words, academic mentoring gives a space to discuss academic life and career progression that does not otherwise exist.
Mentees will then have responsibility for setting up meetings after the initial introduction. Mentors have a responsibility to commit to a certain number of meetings. Although we are not prescriptive about the number of meetings, we would suggest that there should be a minimum of three.
Meetings can be face to face, or via phone, Zoom, etc. There is no fixed time period for a mentoring relationship; it is led by mentor and mentee.
Eastern Arc will act as a point of contact for any potential issues arising from the scheme. After the initial meeting, mentors and mentees can ask to be re-matched on a ‘no-fault’ basis if it does not seem that the particular match will work.
At the end of the year, we will collate any feedback on the scheme and adapt the process as appropriate.
How to apply for the scheme
The scheme is now open, and the deadline for applications is Monday 31 October 2022. To apply, complete this form (Word) and send it to Phil Ward (email@example.com).
We will keep this page updated as the scheme develops. This may include FAQs, based on the queries we get.
For specific questions about the scheme, contact Phil Ward. If you would like to talk informally to the academic lead for the scheme, contact Tracey Loughran.