Mentoring Scheme

The Chemistry Mentoring scheme aims at supporting and encouraging a professional relationships and steering the personal growth within within the complicated and increasingly large academic world.

Due to restart in Autumn 2024, please contact Rezwana Akhter (r.akhter@ucl.ac.uk) if you are interested in signing up and we will be in contact when the scheme resumes again.

The Chemistry Mentoring scheme aims at supporting and encouraging a professional relationship in which an experienced professional (the mentor) assists another, less experienced professional (the mentee) in appraising, reflecting upon and steering the mentee’s career and personal growth within the complicated and increasingly large academic world.

The scheme aims to create a LIGHT-TOUCH, NON-bureaucratic and supportive community of peers that work together for the advancement of each other’s careers.

Definition of mentoring:

There is substantial literature on mentoring and many definitions. For the purpose of this scheme we are defining mentoring as ‘a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentee) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the mentee’s career and personal growth’.

Who is it for?

The aim is the Chemistry Mentoring scheme to be open to all academic, research and professional services members of staff of all grades and genders. Women are particularly encouraged to apply as both mentors and mentees.

Why take part?

Mentorship relations allow mentors to reflect upon academic and professional life and to feel that they have contributed to other people’s careers. Mentees can benefit from the experience, alternative perspectives and even knowledge, skills and contacts of their mentors. To ensure the time availability of mentors, Chemistry will be acknowledging the contribution of mentors in the annual workload exercise, and progressively introducing a number of other related incentives.

Benefits of Mentoring:

  • Developing professional relationships beyond their usual ‘organisational reach’ 
  • Enhancing their professional reputation 
  • Increasing their job satisfaction 
  • Reflecting on their own careers through a new perspective 
  • Developing interpersonal skills 

Mentees benefit from:

  • Increasing their self-awareness, motivation and confidence 
  • Receiving impartial advice and encouragement 
  • Building networking skills 
  • Gaining greater clarity about their career aspirations 

 The benefits of mentoring reach beyond the person who is being mentored, to the mentors themselves and the wider university community. 

  • Recruitment: An expression of interest will be sent during the summer to recruit mentors and mentees.
  • Choosing mentors: By middle of September a list of available mentors will be sent to mentees who will be able to propose 3 Chemistry mentors in order of preference, if they have any. A mentor should always be a different person from a mentee’s line manager and from a different section where possible.
  • Training: A brief, lunch time training session will be delivered for both mentees and mentors to provide guidelines and advice on the mentoring relationship (October).
  • Matching: The Chemistry Mentor Scheme organisers will match mentees/mentors as close as possible to their selected choice, although of course this cannot be guaranteed (November).
  • Start and duration of relationship: The ‘formal’ mentoring relationship will start at any point after the matching. It is suggested that the first meeting is arranged before the end of the calendar year. The relationship will last two years. The frequency and duration of meetings is up to each mentee and mentor. As a general guideline an average of 3 sessions per annum, each lasting 1/1.30 hours is recommended.

Ground rules

Mentees should dictate the rhythm and content of meetings for the most part, subject to their particular needs and of course the mentors availability. Meetings should take place at a mutually suitable venue and time. Confidentiality should be respected in all cases.

Record keeping

No record keeping is expected. A short questionnaire will be sent at the end of each academic year to both mentees/mentors in order to feedback to scheme organisers.

The Mentor's Role

The list below summarises what can normally be expected of a mentor whose role is to support a mentee’s personal and career development:

  • Listening actively with interest, holding the focus on the mentee’s agenda
  • Managing the framework of the mentoring sessions, while encouraging the mentee to take responsibility for the content
  • Taking appropriate approaches such as robustly challenging a mentee who is not sufficiently focussed or sympathising in the event of bad experiences while encouraging the mentee to take ownership and respond appropriately
  • Helping the mentee to see the bigger and longer-term picture if they are concerned only about the present and the short term future
  • Helping a mentee to reframe how he or she views something, or to consider a different perspective, for example a tutor who may need to consider a student’s perspective; an author of a paper who may need help with understanding an editor’s viewpoint
  • Taking an interest in the mentee's progress.
The Mentee's Role

Within a developmental mentoring relationship, a mentee is expected to be:

  • In control of the agenda, taking responsibility for his or her development, rather than expecting ‘quick fixes’ from a mentor
  • Committed, for example to attending planned sessions, taking the actions planned with the mentor,
  • Prepared to be challenged when the mentor feels that this, rather than perhaps sympathy, will be of benefit,
  • Professional in the relationship with the mentor, for example being punctual, respecting agreed ground rules, and talking openly and honestly with the mentor.