Mentor programme

The mentor programme matches students (mentees) with professional people (mentor) in the Water Sector and related Universities.

The idea is that the mentor can teach the mentee, and offer knowledge and experience. This will support the student's development.

Having a mentor is optional for PhD students in the Water Research School.

The match between mentor and student is made first for one year, and there is an option to continue for another year

The mentor programme began in 2018. 

 

The mentor program is optional.

Any PhD student in the Research School can sign-up to the mentor program.

Details about how to apply are sent in September each year to all PhD students via email. There will be one application period every year, normally with a dead line in October.

After the dead-line, the people in the steering group of the Water Research School get the list of PhD students that have signed up for the mentor program.

The different people representing the clusters then do a preliminary matching of their PhD students with potential mentors. How this is done is decided by each cluster.

It will always be senior researchers from the clusters who are responsible to contact potential mentors, not the PhD students looking for a mentor.

The matching process takes time, because the representatives of the different clusters need to coordinate so that a potential mentor is not contacted by more than one cluster.

The final list matching the students with their new mentors is usually finalized in December each year.

After you are matched...

  • Mentors and mentee students can meet five to six times in the first year.
  • A meeting can be one hour long, but not longer than one and half hours.
  • This can be in person, if you are close by.
  • There are many good online meeting options (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, other)
  • A phone call can also work!
  • If possible, the student and mentor should meet at least once in person. This could be combined with other events, such as a meeting or course in the Research School. 

The first meeting for student and mentor

There is no formal schedule, and the student and mentor can decide how to plan the meetings.

A few important things should happen in the first meeting:

  • A contract including principles and ethical considerations is prepared and signed by the mentor and student.
  • Get to know each other a bit. Clarify what the student mentee is looking for in the mentor program.
  • Plan when and how you will meet together. This could be for the next meeting, or the whole year. Be sure to know when the next meeting is!
  • Discuss possible topics for the future discussions. Remember this is flexible and can change as situations change. 

Some things you might like to talk about

The topics of the discussions should be based on the needs and interests of the student mentee.

Here are some suggestions for inspiration:

  • Update from the student mentee if anything special has happened since the last meeting and review any discussions or points from the previous meeting.
  • What skills are expected from a person with a PhD when they work at a Water utility? Municipality?  Consultant firm? or University? (depending on the background of the mentor)
  • What to think about concerning career planning
  • How to manage time, create and follow time plans
  • How to be a successful leader
  • How to balance things like work, family and other activities
  • How to manage stress
  • How to manage nervousness
  • Tips for public speaking and presentations
  • Handling conflicts at work   
  • other things!

Ethical considerations

To create a successful mentor-mentee relation it is of importance that both parties invest time and engagement and feel responsibility for the relation. During the meetings, both the mentor and the mentee need to be active and contribute to the discussions with questions and responses. Both parties also need to be prepared to go into the depth of the conversations and dare to discuss questions, challenges and share experiences.

For the mentor-mentee relation it is presumed that the discussions are confidential and be bound by professional secrecy, which is recommended to be included in the contract. 

To consider as a mentor

To be a mentor is an honorary task and the driver for the mentor should be to share experiences and not to advertise oneself. It is important that the mentor is personal mature and is able to handle different topics, both related to the professional and private life. The mentor should follow and support the mentee's development/personal growth and guide the mentee in the professional work and in the life situation, in general. As a mentor, you are a conversation partner by listening, reflecting and giving advice but you should not take any practical actions to support the mentee. As a mentor you are the listener and ask the wise questions and sometimes you should dare to ask the tricky questions and be provocative. The mentor should also expect to learn something new about him/herself.

Contract

A template of the contract for the mentor-mentee relation has been developed by the steering group of the Water Research School. However, there is a possibility for the mentor and the mentee to develop/extend/change the text in the contract, but should of course be done in agreement. When the contract has been formulated and signed after the first meeting, a copy of the contract should be sent to the coordinator of the Water Research School. Both the mentor and the mentee have the right to terminate the contract at any time.

Evaluation of the mentor –mentee relation

After one year, the mentor-mentee relation is evaluated. A questionnaire is sent out, to both the mentor and the mentee. After the questionnaire has been submitted and briefly evaluated by the board of the Water Research school, the mentor-mentee constellations that would like to continue get a short feedback from the research school and are then encouraged to plan and carry out meetings for one more year. For the constellations that do not want to continue the mentor-mentee relation, the program ends with that. However, it is recommended that mentor and mentee arrange a short final meeting to end the mentor-mentee relation. If a mentee feels really disappointed about the mentor-mentee relation, the Water Research School can consider another mentee-mentor matching for the coming year.

To be considered as an mentee

To be an mentee in a mentor programme is the mentee's own choice and the driver for the mentee to be in a mentor programme should be the will to develop professionally and/or in the private situation. In the mentor programme it is the needs of the mentee that is in focus for the relation and the mentee must take responsibility for the learning process. To achieve a successful mentor-mentee relation it is important that the mentee is prepared for the meetings and has considered and reconsidered what to be discussed. As an mentee you should not feel stressed that something should be delivered but enjoy the possibility of personal growth.

Contract

A template of the contract for the mentor-mentee relation has been developed by the steering group of the Water Research School. However, there is a possibility for the mentor and the mentee to develop/extend/change the text in the contract, but should of course be done in agreement. When the contract has been formulated and signed after the first meeting, a copy of the contract should be sent to the coordinator of the Water Research School. Both the mentor and the mentee have the right to terminate the contract at any time.

Evaluation of the mentor –mentee relation

After one year, the mentor-mentee relation is evaluated. A questionnaire is sent out, to both the mentor and the mentee. After the questionnaire has been submitted and briefly evaluated by the board of the Water Research school, the mentor-mentee constellations that would like to continue get a short feedback from the research school and are then encouraged to plan and carry out meetings for one more year. For the constellations that do not want to continue the mentor-mentee relation, the program ends with that. However, it is recommended that mentor and mentee arrange a short final meeting to end the mentor-mentee relation. If a mentee feels really disappointed about the mentor-mentee relation, the Water Research School can consider another mentee-mentor matching for the coming year.

Page Manager: catherine.paul@tvrl.lth.se | 2020-11-03