Being a mentee and mentor are both important roles of a postdoctoral scholar. Effective mentoring can make the difference between reaching professional independence and struggling with career aspirations. Mentoring helps postdoctoral scholars grow, learn, evolve, and accomplish goals. 

OHSU mentoring responsibilities

Postdoctoral scholars are expected to:

  • Fulfill the research and training objectives set forth in the appointment letter and in subsequent communications with their mentor
  • Conform to the ethical research standards of OHSU and comply with all relevant federal, state, and municipal regulations and guidelines that relate to human subjects research, the care and use of laboratory animals, and the use of hazardous materials
  • Record and document research results appropriately
  • Maintain a laboratory notebook and/or other comparable records of research activity which remain the property of OHSU upon termination
  • Promptly disclose to the supervising faculty member possession and desire to distribute materials, reagents, software, copyrightable, and potentially patentable discoveries derived from the scholar's research
  • Work with their mentor to submit the research results for publication in a timely manner
  • Comply with all relevant OHSU policies

By the end of the mentored training period, a postdoctoral scholar will:

  • Possess a broad base of established and evolving discipline and research specific knowledge and skills
  • Demonstrate effective professional and interpersonal communication skills that allow for interaction with colleagues at all levels
  • Adhere to and reflect professionalism standards and practices within the workplace, institution, and discipline
  • Possess the skills and techniques needed to facilitate effective mentorship, leadership, and management of projects and people
  • Receive training in the responsible conduct of research to improve the ability to make ethical and legal choices
  • Articulate a plan to pursue a chosen career path

Faculty mentors are expected to:

  • Mentor with emphasis on encouraging independence in research and scholarship
  • Provide detailed advice and assistance on the development of a specific research project
  • Provide and maintain a research environment that is professional and conducive to a scholar’s research and scholarly training
  • Mentor in all areas of professional development, such as grant writing, development of written and oral communicative skills, manuscript preparation, and teaching skills, where applicable
  • Hold regular meetings with their postdoctoral scholars throughout their appointments with clear and consistent communicate goals, objectives, and expectations
  • Provide yearly a written evaluation of performance
  • Provide career counseling and assistance in job placement, including timely submission of letters of reference
  • Ensure that any externally-funded, directly-paid postdoctoral scholar appointees receive the appropriate type of appointment to recognize their status and presence at OHSU
  • Establish clear expectations regarding the percentage of effort the postdoctoral scholar appointee is to dedicate to project work and the percentage of effort the scholar may dedicate to his or her individual scholarship

Recommended Best Practices: Supervising Faculty Mentors are encouraged to review the Association of American Medical Colleges’ “Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors,” available from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs website, for an outline of typical responsibilities and obligations between Postdoctoral Scholars and their Mentors.

Learning opportunities

OHSU offers a variety of trainings and resources related to mentorship: