Academic mentoring can be a fantastic tool for journal editors and early career researchers (ECRs) alike.
Whether you’re looking to foster meaningful connections across research communities, develop your own understanding and skills, or build a professional network, academic mentoring could be the answer.
In this post, we’re sharing the benefits of academic mentoring, along with tips from the experts who got involved with our #TFMentoring Twitter chat. Don't forget to take a look at our first Food for Thought poster, inspired by a lunchtime meeting between a journal editor and an ECR working in the same field.
Food for Thought
To help build networks across research communities, Taylor & Francis arranged a meeting over lunch between a journal editor and ECR both working in environmental technology.
What did they learn from each other? What advice did they have for each other? Were there any surprises?
Discover what Peter Jarvis (Editor of Environmental Technology) and Vitae 3MT Winner Tom Fudge talked about at their lunch meeting by taking a look at this poster, the first in our new Food for Thought series.
How can academic mentoring help you?
For a journal editor, becoming an academic mentor could help you to:
- Understand the challenges faced by academics early on in their career
- Support the development of an ECR by sharing your own knowledge and experience
- Build connections with ECRs who could submit their research to your journal
- Grow your pool of potential peer reviewers, authors or readers
For an ECR, becoming a mentee could help you to:
- Develop key skills and improve your understanding of the publishing process
- Hone your writing so that your research becomes a publishable manuscript
- Build a professional network that you can lean on for support, guidance and advice throughout your career
“Mentoring Matters”: Tips from Twitter
In May 2017, Taylor & Francis hosted a Twitter chat all about mentoring. You can catch up on the full conversation on Twitter using #TFMentoring, or see our run-down of the best words of wisdom from this virtual event below:
- Have an open and candid communication with your mentor / mentee if you want this collaboration to work
- Be clear about your expectations
- Mentoring is about relationship building: it’s 2-way: always give back
- Look for someone whose personality you fit with, not necessarily just someone who’s achieved what you have
- Mentoring could be long term – but always have short term milestones in place
- Be aware of your limitations: time, expertise, etc. Don’t take on too much.
- Before you start a mentoring relationship, do some contracting to understand what’s in scope, where the boundaries are
- Mentoring can be as beneficial to mentors as it is to mentees. It’s a two way street.
Whether you meet just a handful of times, or it becomes a regular catch-up, academic mentoring can provide a much-needed bridge between research communities. By forging meaningful connections with your community, you could find new opportunities to develop and grow, both personally and professionally.
If you’ve never been involved with mentoring before, remember that everyone has experience and knowledge that would be helpful to someone else. So don’t feel that you have to be an ‘expert’ in order for the relationship to be useful.
Make the most of mentoring by being open and honest about your expectations – from how much time you can devote to mentoring, to what you want to get out of it.
There are a whole host of other resources which can help you find out more about academic mentoring, whether you’re thinking of becoming a mentor or mentee:
- Mentoring and coaching researchers with Vitae
- Supporting researchers in developing countries with Author Aid
- Make the most of academic mentoring with this podcast from Author Services
- Mentoring and support on a PhD scholarship
So, what are you waiting for? Expand your network, develop your skills, and support others in your academic community - and remember, you'll get out of academic mentoring what you put into it.