Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Mentoring Mentee/Mentor


Claudia von Kalnassy

phone: +49 345 55 21 015
fax: +49 345 55 27 092

room Raum Rektoratsgebäude / Kanzlerbereich /
Universitätsplatz 10
06108 Halle (Saale)

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The annual networking event usually takes place at the end of June/ beginning of July, and simultaneously marks the beginning of a new programme phase and the end of the previous 12-month-programme phase. A ceremonial address frames the start-up of the new Mentoring Year, as well as the formal send-off of the previous one. A subsequent round of talks and a mentoring forum provide space for all participants for informal scholarly exchange. The annual networking events are open to everyone with an interest in the Mentoring Programme. All alumnae are invited as well.

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Mentoring is a classic form of individual promotion of young researchers. In conversations, mentors and mentees develop career perspectives in Academia, compatible with partnership/ family. The transfer of (interdisciplinary) informal knowledge, and the strategic planning and implementation of career steps, are central. The mentoring relationship is characterised by the absence of hierarchical levels, and by openness. It is based on personal contact, voluntariness, independence and confidentiality. Apart from this individual form of mentoring, the MLU Mentoring Programme also offers mentoring in groups, where mentees are in similar professional situations and life stages. Mentoring in peer groups offers the opportunity of interdisciplinary exchange and mutual support. The focus is on the substantiation of individual career perspectives, mindful of the compatibility of professional development and academic work, whereby particularly subject-specific connection and developmental tendencies of career opportunities in Academia can be discussed. The MLU Mentoring Programme differentiates between three different types of mentoring within the pillar of mentoring:

Peer group mentoring (Foundation Module)

The participants of one Mentoring Year form a mentoring peer group, which regularly meets for moderated talks about questions concerning career perspectives in Academia and provides support for the substantiation of individual career plans. Established professors are invited to every mentoring peer-group meeting, who give account of their experiences in Academia, as well as experts for other career-relevant topics. The topics, the order and the duration of the meetings are aligned with the preferences of the mentoring peer-group.

Tandem mentoring (Advanced Module)

One experienced professor and one new career researcher form a mentoring tandem. At the start of the mentoring-programme participation [preparation phase], every mentee proposes a mentor. It is recommended that mentees choose mentors of the MLU, because geographical proximity is one of the crucial factors for a successful mentoring relationship, apart from a ‘good match’, ‘commitment’ and ‘time resources’. In this case the mentor should belong to a different faculty to the mentee. The programme coordinator supports and monitors the forming of the mentoring tandem. To design the mentoring relationship (e.g. targets, quantity, place and time of meetings for one-to-one conversations), the mentoring tandems make their own individual arrangements. The mentoring talks take place in a ‘protected’ environment and contents are treated confidentially between the participants. An essential requirement for a successful mentoring partnership is the committed and reliable handling of arrangements and appointments.

One-to-one mentoring (Module at the University Association Halle-Jena-Leipzig)

One-to-one mentoring is distinguishable from tandem mentoring by the process of ‘cross-matching’ at the University Association Halle-Jena-Leipzig. At the start of the mentoring-programme participation [preparation phase], every MLU mentee proposes a mentor from one of the partner-universities, i.e. from either the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena or from Leipzig University. The choice of mentor can be guided by either subject-specific, or interdisciplinary point of views. The formation of the one-to-one mentoring pair is supported by the respective prorectors’ offices for promotion of young researchers and gender equality at the partner-universities, and is monitored by the programme coordinators at the university sites.

The mid-year meeting is a Mentoring Year meeting aimed at MLU mentees and mentors, spanning all modules. A talk on the subject of mentoring, and a moderated round of talks provide space for discussions and questions. During the ensuing mentoring forum the focus is on informal scholarly exchange and getting to know one another within the Mentoring Year.

Networking opportunities

Networking opportunity ‘MLU mentee meeting’

Besides the mentee meetings taking place as part of the annual networking event and the mid-year meeting, there is the possibility of further module-spanning MLU mentee meetings, if of interest to the mentee groups. These can be scheduled at the start of the Mentoring Programme upon consultation with the programme coordinator.

Networking opportunity ‘Mentoring Café’

Every four months, participants and Alumnae have the opportunity to meet and talk in an informal, casual environment [Mentoring Café].

‘Topics networking event’ (University Association MODULE)

In autumn every year, a ‘Topics networking-event’ takes place. This can be, e.g., an evening of discussion, where external kick-off speakers, professors or experts from the field of Academia, politics or the economy, are invited. Please also refer to:

Networking opportunity ‘Topics peer-group’(University Association MODULE)

Participants can get together into a ‘Topics peer-group’, if of interest, which specifically deals with the topic of mentoring through further personal dialogue. Please also refer to: www.   pd-   mentoring.   uni-   jena.   de/Programm/Struktur.   html   

Peer-group meeting

Mentees of one module and Mentoring Year form a peer group. The focus is the informal exchange. The peer-group meetings are scheduled for the mentees of one module and offer the opportunity, especially at the beginning of the programme phase, to get to know one another . The interconnectedness within the peer group offers the perspective of a medium and long-term support option, over and above the duration of the programme participation. The number and dates of the peer-group meetings are set by all participants at the start of the programme. The meetings usually take place after the workshops or before the Mentoring Café. The content and duration of every peer-group meeting is the personal responsibility of the new career researchers. They are arranged individually by the participants.

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Workshops to key competencies

A high-quality range of workshops to enhance key competencies and consolidate the academic career of the mentees, complements the mentoring process. They have been designed specifically for the Mentoring Programme and reflect the individual preferences of the mentees. They are conducted by established external consultants with years of experience and recommendations in the area of coaching and qualifying young talent with a focus on equal opportunities. Three workshops are provided for each module every year. Workshops usually last one day and are primarily for the Mentoring Year group of the respective module.  The small group of mentees of one module warrants intense exchange and a trusting atmosphere.

Series of workshops

A series of workshops on the subject area ‘Career paths/career strategies/academic profiling’ is built into the programme. The choice of topics for the workshop series is guided by the module layout. The workshops themselves have a module-specific structure. The workshop series is built up as participants move through the modules. At the start of the workshop series, the range and direction of topics is wider and includes career paths outside of University Academia. The workshops are then increasingly angled at the career goal of professorship. The topics of the workshop series are:

  • Career paths into Academia (Foundation MODULE)
  • Career planning in Academia (Advanced MODULE)
  • Academic profiling in practice (Advanced MODULE)
  • Career strategy “Prospect Professorship” (University Association MODULE)
  • Call to Professorship in Practice I and II (University Association MODULE)

Workshops with facultative choice of topics

Alongside this series of workshops, mentees can also name workshops with other topics as their module workshops, following their own preferences. At the start of the Mentoring Programme, the module mentee group chooses topics, and the respective workshops are scheduled. Mentees of other modules have the option of attending these workshops as well. Topics can, for example, be one of the following:

  • Networking strategies – Building and expansion of career-relevant networks
  • Managerial functions, such as human resource management/ management of leadership  roles
  • Managing impressions/negotiations training
  • Women in Academia – Careers and the glass ceiling
  • Work-life balance – Compatibility of work life and private life/ time management
  • Attracting third-party funds for new career researchers

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