By Elanna Nolan, Ph.D Candidate & PLN Staff
In March, the Department of Geography conducted a survey of those participating the Graduate mentorship program. The survey results indicates that the program is running smoothly and recommend its continuation.
Of those that responded (n 9) to the survey, all Mentors and Mentees met at least twice since the PLN launch event on October 3, 2013. Locations for these meetings include: coffee shops, workplaces, on campus, and via Skype. Despite everyone having busy schedules, meetings have been fairly easy to set up and were usually arranged via email. Everyone reported finding the time to have been productive and well-spent. One Mentor commented that while they did not initially think they were well-matched with a Mentee, over the course of their meeting their interests began to align. Career counselling and knowledge-sharing have been the two main things to have come out of these relationships.
It was suggested by one participant that some more structure would be helpful, particularly in the earlier stages of the program. Unfortunately, the program is self- managing – through a mentor-mentee activity guidebook and minimum meeting requirements. Once the students are introduced to their mentors, it is difficult to maintain contact with program participants and arrange for networking events as staff resources are severely limited during term. Overall, based on the responses to our survey, the UBC Geography Mentor Program has been successful in pairing students and professionals in productive and supportive partnerships.
How many times have you met with your Mentor/Mentee?
Three of participants have met 3 times with their Mentor/Mentee; Six have met twice
Where have you conducted your Mentor/Mentee meetings?
Mentors/Mentees have met in workplaces (n 3), coffee shops or other semi-public locations (n 6), at UBC (n 1), over Skype (n 1) and at industry events (n 1).
Has it been easy to schedule times to meet? How have meetings been organised?
For the most part, meetings have been easy to schedule, and Mentors/Mentees have been able to coordinate via email. One participant commented that it had been difficult to organize meetings due to both Mentor and Mentee having very busy schedules.
How would you describe your Mentor-Mentee relationship and the meetings you’ve had, so far?
Everyone thought that the program was a productive use of time, despite the fact that for one participant felt like his/her Mentor match was not ideal in terms of their alignment of interests. 7/9 felt that the relationship was mutually beneficial, and 1 Mentor commented that their pairing felt more one-sided.
One mentee commented that: “it’s been good for me to learn more about the city & how things work in Vancouver. And my Mentor has been really interested in learning more about my research and my Supervisor’s research, too.”