UW Radiology

YOU AND YOUR MENTOR – process and expectations – Dr. Bill Shuman

Good mentorship is very rewarding for both the mentee and the mentor. Key factors in expanding the richness, achievements, success, and satisfaction of your academic career are the relationships you develop with your chosen mentors. Good mentors are a powerful lever-arm to amplify your impact.  A  mentor will provide guidance, close monitoring, and broad networking to support your steady progress.  They greatly speed up your progress, evolution, learning, focus, and maturation – and they help expand your horizons dramatically and quickly.

Choosing a mentor(or several mentors)  should be done thoughtfully and carefully.  While the comfort of a   relationship is important, it is not paramount. Similarity of interests, philosophy, and areas of focus also matter, as do natural leadership plus empathetic guidance skills. Chatting with two or four potential mentors will help you sort out who might support you most effectively.   Expect that you will have regularly scheduled meetings with your mentor to make plans and review progress at least monthly, sometimes more often – so this is someone you will get to know well on both a personal and professional basis.  

  • personal education
    • Your mentor will help guide how you educate yourself progressively. Selecting texts to read, journals to monitor,  journal articles to review, NCBI standing literature topical searches,  educational meetings to attend, and societies to engage are self-educational examples   where your mentor can provide useful guidance.
  • teaching
    • Your mentor will give you current tips and tricks which increase the effectiveness of your teaching activities. Topical guidance and review of your teaching performance scores will occur, along with direction in utilizing the many digital teaching tools now available. Your mentor may sit in on some of your teaching and provide constructive feedback.
  • research
    • It is important to first understand your own interests and what motivates you so you can find a mentor whose research interests are somewhat similar – or at least fire a parallel passion in your mind. Initially, expect that your mentor will involve you in their research activities in various ways. Eventually, you will develop your own research ideas – and your mentor then becomes a coach and guide, sharing the research wisdom they have acquired with experience. Guidance to research tools, resources, and processes is expected. Research study design is a complex challenge where your mentor can be a great facilitator. Your networking within and  outside the Department, including to other institutions, is a very important enhancement to your research horizons which your mentor will foster.
  • grant applications and management
    • Navigating the complex world of research funding support is an area where your mentor can be very helpful. Identifying realistic support sources and selecting from the many possibilities is almost an art form – where the experience of a mentor can greatly enhance your awards. Successful application, execution, and management of your first few (smaller) grants leads to increasing support. Your mentor can help you find grant writing courses and can critique your initial efforts constructively.
  • publications
    •  What to publish, where, and when are questions with which a mentor can assist impactfully. Again, you networking outside the Department can be strongly supported by your mentor’s connections – and is critical in forming publications groups for mutual support. Refining prose, using up to date publications tools, and good presentation are critical publication skills which can enhance acceptance. Your mentor will help monitor your rate of publication as well as your developing impact factor and H score.
  • community service
    • Your community is the world, the USA, and all Universities – as well as your immediate Department. You serve through Committee work, voluntarism, and impactful process innovation. Your mentor’s experience and widespread  network of colleagues can initiate connections to launch your service work. A mentor will help you choose areas and Societies to serve where the mission resonates with your personal beliefs and passion.
  • leadership and professionalism
    • All faculty serve as leaders at various times and to various degrees. Your mentor can guide the development of leadership skills and the parallel evolution of professionalism, steering you toward courses, reading, positions, and meaningful experience. Continually refining and documenting your professionalism is also critical, reviewed regularly with your mentor.
  • clinical skills and performance
    • You will likely choose one to three areas for clinical radiology subspecialization and the development of unique skills + knowledge. These areas may parallel your research, grant, and publication interests – your mentor can help with the growth of your clinical impact and reputation among these parallels.  Through networking and collaborations, a mentor can foster the spread of your clinical impact beyond our home Department to a much broader audience.
  • faculty compliance
    • Licensing, medical staff, hospital, recertification, and university agencies all have regular compliance requirements – your and your mentor can set up methodology to stay well ahead of these. Your CV, ePAR, and personal statements (as a part of your ePAR) all need ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Similarly, your mentor can guide your learning in diversity, equity, and inclusion as we all grow in these areas together with our society.​