Mentoring needed now more than ever! During the best of times the art of mentoring can be challenging. Whether it’s helping a junior researcher apply for a first grant, guiding a clinician to independent practice, or advising a post-doctoral fellow on next steps, mentoring requires a wide and varied skill set. Mentors help mentees to align expectations, develop obtainable goals, sort out work-life integration issues and more. Mentoring increases mentee professional and personal satisfaction, lifts morale, diminishes stress and prevents burnout. Now we are doing all of this, and more, as we face this global pandemic. Juggling more hats than we thought possible and meeting professional and personal demands with limited resources. It is important that we take time to think in different ways to support ourselves and our mentees. Check out these resources below for guidance on mentoring and resources for mentees to help navigate these difficult times.

J. Faye Dixon, Ph.D.
Julie Schweitzer, Ph.D.
Katren Tyler, M.D.

Mentoring during the COVID-19 pandemic: Colleagues facing closed labs and enforced social distancing need a different type of support. Mentors must change their approach

Author: Ruth Gotian, Nature, April 3, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has left many of us feeling frightened, worried and overwhelmed. This is affecting people in different ways, but concerns relating to a lack of focus or productivity are not uncommon. Mentors should always provide a support system for trainees and encourage them to prioritize their health above their productivity: especially in testing times such as these. We must reimagine how we mentor in a time of closed laboratories, depleted and stressed health-care colleagues and social distancing.

Advice for Faculty Members in a Turbulent Time

Author: Mindi Thompson, Inside Higher Ed, March 19, 2020

Mindi Thompson gives some practical advice to help you focus on your physical and mental health and wellness. Wonderful tips for anyone in an educational setting and for general wellness – share with your mentees.

What to Do When Your Plans Get Thrown Out the Window

Author: Sarah Dobson, Edge For Scholars, April 1, 2020

This is a brief blog post to help junior researchers in thinking about how to pivot during COVID-19 – share and discuss with your mentees.

Just Breathe: Mindfulness Apps in a Pressured Time

Author: Scott Gubala, Edge For Scholars, April 4, 2020

This is a short blog post reviews mindfulness apps for academic health researchers.

Nurtured by nature: Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition

Author: , American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology, Vol. 51, No. 3, April 1, 2020

Read why spending more time in an uncrowded nature spot could be good for all of us.

Virtual Resources for Challenging Times

In these challenging and uncertain times, the UC Davis Ombuds Office is actively compiling electronic resources that can help you navigate conflict. Check back often, as this page will be regularly updated with new materials and resources relevant to this rapidly evolving health situation.

A Multifaceted Systems Approach to Addressing Stress Within Health Professions Education and Beyond

Authors: Coffey DS, Eliot K, Goldblatt E, et al.

Publication date: January 30, 2017

This strategy involves taking a multifaceted systems approach that includes everyone across the health professions, beginning in the learning environment, working together toward a common goal of promoting wellness.

Well-Being and Emotional Resiliency in Academic Medicine

Published by: Association of American Medical Colleges website

As medical professionals increasingly struggle with the challenges of burnout, well-being, and the idea of resilience — the ability to recover from setbacks or difficult situations — have emerged as a priority for faculty, researchers, residents, and students in the academic medicine community.

Compared to many other professions, physicians and other clinicians are more likely to develop depression, commit suicide, or experience burnout. Burnout does not discriminate. It can affect any physician, regardless of specialty or years of experience in the field. Residents and medical students struggle as well.

Free Guided Meditations

Provided by: UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Take a mindfulness break with free guided meditations. UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) invites you to relax and rejuvenate with a variety of simple, guided meditations for free online and on iTunes.

A systematic review of faculty development initiatives designed to improve teaching effectiveness in medical education: BEME Guide No. 8

Authors: Steinert Y, Mann K, Prideaux D, et al

Publication information: Medical Teacher, Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 497–526, 2006

Preparing health care professionals for teaching is regarded as essential to enhancing teaching effectiveness. Although many reports describe a variety of faculty development interventions, there is a paucity of research demonstrating their effectiveness. The objective of this review was to synthesize the existing evidence that addresses the following question: “What are the effects of faculty development interventions on the knowledge, attitudes and skills of teachers in medical education, and on the institutions in which they work?

Online Communities of Practice: A Catalyst for Faculty Development

Authors: Sherer, PD, Shea, TP, Kristensen, E

Publication information: Innovative Higher Education, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 183-194, Spring 2003

This article addresses the concept of “communities of practice” and how it has come of age for the professional development of professors as teachers. Thanks to current technological options, faculty developers can enhance the opportunity for the entire faculty to learn through the use of online communities. Designing a faculty development portal using community of practice concepts can be an effective means to jump-start, facilitate, develop, and sustain faculty involvement in academic communities.

Online Faculty Development and Storytelling: An Unlikely Solution to Improving Teacher Quality

Author: Lowenthal, PR

Publication Information: Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 349-65, 2008.

Institutions of Higher Education are beginning to place a greater emphasis on quality teaching and student learning. However, few faculty receive any type of teacher training prior to entering the academy. As a result, faculty development is one likely solution to teacher quality issues. But faculty development is faced with serious shortcomings that impede its ability to improve teacher quality. This paper explores how moving faculty development online while at the same time incorporating the use of teacher stories could be a viable strategy to improve faculty development and teacher quality.

Toward ‘hybridised’ faculty development for the twenty‐first century: blending online communities of practice and face‐to‐face meetings in instructional and professional support programmes

Author: Brooks, CF

Publication information: Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 261-270, 2010.

This manuscript begins with a synthesis of research on communities, communities of practice (CoPs), and the potential for their development in online forums, while specifically discussing the value of virtual CoPs for educational professionals in higher education. Working within constructivist and sociocultural frameworks, this manuscript addresses how online forums for faculty support can be beneficial in ways distinct from face‐to‐face environments. Further, this paper presents an argument for the hybridisation of faculty development by suggesting that online forums for collegial interaction are viable and culturally sensitive complements to traditional face‐to‐face faculty support, socialization, and mentoring programs. In conclusion, resources that can assist in designing a hybrid model of faculty development are offered.

Orientation, Mentoring and Ongoing Support: A Three-Tiered Approach to Online Faculty Development

Authors: Vaill, AL, Testori, PA

Publication Information: Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 111-119, 2012.

In order for faculty to make a successful transition to teaching in the online classroom, they must receive professional development specifically geared toward this challenge. Bay Path College offers a faculty development program that incorporates three distinct components all geared toward aiding faculty to adjust to teaching online and providing assistance while courses are in progress with the goal of ultimately impacting the overall online learning experience for faculty and students alike. This article describes the College’s three-tiered approach to faculty development and explains the role that initial training, peer mentoring, and ongoing support play in preparing faculty and shaping their confidence in their abilities as an online instructor.

A New Image: Online Communities to Facilitate Teacher Professional Development

Author: Lock, JV

Publication Information:Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 663-678, October 2006.

Realizing the potential of online or virtual communities to facilitate teacher professional development requires educators to change their current perceptions of professional development. This calls for educators to develop new images of ongoing opportunities for professional development, based on their needs within an online community of learners and their recognition that communities may include individuals from local regions and from around the world who share mutual interests and goals. The realization of online learning communities to facilitate teacher professional development is a matter of carefully and deliberatively designing dynamic learning environments that foster a learning culture. This requires a pedagogical framework that nurtures the establishment of relationships, intimacy, and trust, where people engage in shared learning experiences mediated through technology. Designing an online learning environment that fosters the development of a learning community is not about adding technology on to current professional development practices. Rather, it is about designing, building, and supporting a structure and a process that are purposeful and fluid in nature and in meeting the personal ongoing professional development needs of teachers.

Faculty development: From workshops to communities of practice

Author: Steinert, Y

Publication Information:Medical Teacher, Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 425-428, 2010.

Faculty development, or staff development as it is often called, has become an increasingly important component of medical education, and most medical schools now offer formal faculty development programmes and activities. As McLean et al. (2008) have stated in their recent AMEE Guide, ‘with demands on medical faculties to be socially responsible and accountable, there is increasing pressure for the professionalization of teaching practice.

To date, most faculty development initiatives described in the literature consist of formal (or structured) programmes such as workshops and seminars, longitudinal programmes and fellowships (Steinert et al. 2006). The goal of this viewpoint, which complements AMEE Guide no. 33, is to broaden our perspective and examine both formal and informal approaches to faculty development. Moreover, although the most common definitions of faculty development refer to a planned programme to prepare institutions and faculty members for their academic roles (Bland et al. 1990), this viewpoint asserts that faculty development can occur in a variety of contexts and settings, and often begins with informal learning in the workplace.

Introduction to faculty learning communities

Author: Cox, MD

Publication Information: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 97, pp. 5-23, Spring 2004.

Faculty learning communities create connections for isolated teachers, establish networks for those pursuing pedagogical issues, meet early‐career faculty expectations for community, foster multidisciplinary curricula, and begin to bring community to higher education.


MedEdPORTAL is a MEDLINE-indexed, open-access journal of teaching and learning resources in the health professions published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in partnership with the American Dental Education Association. MedEdPORTAL publications are stand-alone, complete teaching or learning modules that have been implemented and evaluated with medical or dental trainees or practitioners. Each submission is reviewed by editorial staff and external peer reviewers using a standardized review instrument grounded in the tenets of educational scholarship.