Mentoring Academy for Research in Cancer
The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is committed to developing the next generation of diverse, community-oriented investigators through effective mentoring. The Mentoring Academy for Research in Cancer (MARC) advances excellence in mentoring and develops mentoring skills informed by local, regional, and national best practices. The person-centered program is comprehensive and advances personal, professional, and institutional growth.
Goal setting is a critical process for achieving professional and personal objectives. Individual development plans (IDP) are a tool used to thoughtfully plan goals and timelines. IDPs also serve as a communication tool between mentors and mentees for how and when goals will be met. (IDPs have been shown to increase career satisfaction and productivity by 20-50 percent and reduce conflicts between mentees and mentors.)
Cancer Center mentees write and maintain an IDP, and mentors guide the prioritization of tasks and goals. Mentees review their IDP with their mentors at least twice each year to assess progress and revise as necessary. The mentorship team also jointly reviews the mentee’s curriculum vitae (CV) to assess the mentee’s progress.
This system is currently accessible to faculty, professional researchers, project scientists only but will be expanded to other investigators in 2024.
A cornerstone of MARC is an interactive, evidence-based curriculum implemented to support mentoring skills so that the mentee/mentor dyads can build and sustain successful mentoring relationships.
Workshops for Mentees (Graduate Students, Postdocs, Junior Faculty)
- Cultural Awareness for Successful Mentoring Relationships
- Making the Most of Mentoring Relationships
- Navigating Conflict in Mentoring Relationships
Workshops for Senior Faculty, Mentors of Junior Faculty, and Fellows
- Aligning Expectations; Effective Communication
- Addressing Diversity; Work-Life Integration
- Professional Development, Team Science, and Fostering Independence
- Sustaining Optimal Mentoring Relationships
All Cancer Center members, regardless of rank or level of training, will benefit from having mentors and mentoring teams throughout their career.
The Mentoring Team
- Mentors are a part of the mentoring team
- A mentoring team is a mosaic providing multidisciplinary expertise, skills, and outlook
- A mentoring team should be established within the first six months; however, identifying the right personal fit for a mentee can take time.
- Team composition should reflect a mentee’s career interests and optimally include two faculty members with expertise in your research interests, but also an “external” mentor for career development and/or work-life integration issues with whom you have minimal potential conflict of interest (e.g., not a co-author or co-investigator with you and without a research or financial relationship)
- Team mentors can change with time, as needs and relationships change
- If a mentee's goal is to obtain a K-award, they should consider mentors with a history of R01 funding and a track record of working with other trainees who have achieved successful, independently funded grants
- Schedule is a minimum of one contact (individual meeting and/or laboratory meeting) every two weeks
- Hold group mentoring or "work in progress" meetings
- Meet with entire mentoring team at least once every year
- Establish meeting frequency early on
- Establish mode of communication and for what type of task (e.g., Zoom, phone, email, in person)
- Prepare for and make good use of each other's time
- Establish explicit goals (short and long term)
Mentors are advised to keep notes of meetings and develop a simple report afterwards. Mentees are also asked to take meeting notes and share them with their mentor. Mentee notes include topics discussed, goals, accomplishments, joys, frustrations, self-evaluation, and a record of who is responsible for carrying out tasks.
Mentors should provide regular feedback to mentees on their progress, accomplishments and areas for improvement. Ask mentees to conduct self-evaluation as well. Mentees should share brief meeting reports with mentors. Include topics discussed, goals, accomplishments, joys, frustrations, self-evaluation.
MARC provides a variety of in-person and virtual mentorship resources for mentees and mentors to self-select from as needed.
- MARC Mentoring Consultation Request Form — Mentoring is a critical piece for success in research, but maintaining and maximizing a mentor-mentee relationship can be challenging and not “one-size-fits-all.” MARC can help with individual, confidential consultations.
- UC Davis Research Profiles — a tool to help identify UC Davis Health faculty by research topic area
- National Research Mentoring Network — a site to search for potential research mentor
- Mentoring Partnership Agreement (PDF)
Career Development Resources
Response Protocol, Distressed and Distressing Students
- UC Davis Faculty and Staff Response Protocol for Distressed or Distressing Students (PDF)
- OSSJA Student Support Referral Form
Avoiding Bias in Reference Letters
- UC Davis Health
- UC San Francisco
- Northwestern University
- Georgetown University
- Here’s How Unconscious Racial Bias Can Creep Into Recommendation Letters - and How You Can Avoid It
- Rethinking the Use of Recommendation Letters
- Gender Bias Calculator
UC Davis Graduate Studies Mentoring Resources
Director, Mentoring Academy for Research in Cancer
Dr. Schweitzer earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has previously held faculty positions at Emory University and the University of Maryland. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 2007. With expertise in studying neurodevelopmental disorders, in particular attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), she uses a variety of methodologies including behavioral research approaches, functional brain imaging and clinical measures to better understand and treat ADHD. Dr. Schweitzer also has an active research program on developing non-pharmacological neurotherapeutics for ADHD. She is also a licensed psychologist and assesses and treats ADHD across the lifespan. She has a lengthy history of directing translational research training programs and has been involved in multiple workforce development initiatives. She currently serves as the Co-Director of the UC Davis Mentored Clinical Research Training Program and the UC Davis CTSC TL1 Program. She was the director of the curriculum and lead workshop facilitator for the UC Davis Health Mentoring Academy starting in 2010, and previously served as the director of the UC Davis Health Mentoring Academy.
Daniel J. Moglen, Ph.D.
Workshop Co-Facilitator, Mentoring Academy for Research Excellence
Dr. Moglen holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics (Second Language Development) from UC Davis. He has worked in student support at UC Davis and UC Davis Health for over five years, supporting graduate students and postdocs in career and professional development. Dr. Moglen is passionate about meeting students where they are and giving them the tools and skills to make empowered decisions about their academic and professional careers. Dr. Moglen is the Education and Training Specialist on the Research, Training, Education, and Career Development team at the Clinical and Translational Science Center.
Administrative Manager, Education, Training, and Career Development, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Kirsten Asher manages the Office of Education, Training, and Career Development (ETCD Office) for the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. She began her career at UC Davis in 2019 with the launch of the ETCD Office. Ms. Asher has a long career in professional development and adult education, and she is dedicated to building an exceptional and diverse cancer workforce.