Establishing Open and Durable Lines of Communication

Previously: Mentoring During the First Week

A successful summer research experience for your mentee depends on regular communication with you. (Cho, Ramanan, & Feldman, 2010) At the beginning of the summer, be willing to be proactive in setting meetings with your mentee. Many summer research students may be nervous about imposing on your time and may feel insecure about their relative inexperience.

You can instill a sense of communicative self-efficacy in your mentee by setting a regular schedule to meet with your mentee and making them comfortable with coming to you with questions and concerns both during that meeting and outside of it. Encourage your mentees to pursue a deeper understanding of the work they are doing by asking thoughtful questions. Facilitate this dynamic by fostering an atmosphere that makes a mentee feel empowered to ask questions. Emphasize that all kinds of questions are welcome. That sense of communicative self-efficacy will, in turn, lead to greater proactivity on the part of your mentee. Your first meetings are crucial for establishing that level of comfort. As the summer progresses, you will then have opportunities to foster a greater sense of independence from within that comfort zone. If another faculty member or graduate student is also helping to supervise your mentee, encourage lines of communication between them and your mentee as well. Team mentoring can be very effective for giving your mentee multiple avenues of support and feedback.

Up next: Moving from Onboarding to Independence

Action Items

  1. View some “one-minute” Zoom video tutorials
  2. Learn why Slack is a great resource
  3. Find out what you can do in Google Classroom

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