FoR Chicago 2019: Mentoring Future Scientists

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Big Ten Conference

5440 Park Place

Rosemont, IL 60018

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Join us in our mission to put mentoring at the heart of academia!

Lack of prioritization of mentoring practices is partly responsible for preventing early career researchers (ECRs) from reaching their full potential as the next generation of leaders in STEM. To cultivate a productive training environment, those who are given training responsibilities should also be trained, supported and evaluated by institutions to provide competent and appropriate mentoring to the next generation.

To ensure mentoring is an institutional priority, we are pushing for greater transparency for ECRs regarding mentoring efforts and greater attention to mentoring standards by departments and institutions.

In Chicago on June 14th 2019, we are organizing a meeting to plan how to achieve our goal of placing exceptional mentoring at the top of institutional priorities and incentives. Through talks and workshops, we aim to have a commitment from participating departments to sign up to a basic checklist of mentoring climate guidelines agreed upon at the meeting, with ECR and departmental input.

The meeting will result in the following products:

  • A set of guidelines across various departmental mentoring climate domains with three excellence tiers: bronze, silver, and gold, to be used as an assessment tool by both departmental leaders wishing to commit to actionable improvement and by early career researchers and faculty wishing to advocate for and drive this change themselves.
  • A list of departments signing their support of said guidelines and their department’s commitment to review and implement guidelines.

To achieve this, the workshops will focus on:

  • The necessary mentoring climate domains to be included in the guidelines.
  • The feasibility of implementation of excellence tiers to allow for ease of departmental buy-in and implementation, while simultaneously driving improvement.

The sharing of innovative practices, resources, and strategies currently available for departments, junior faculty, and ECRs should help both shape these conversations and set the feasibility and value of the excellence tiers.

Please feel free to contact for more information.


To assist with the costs of the conference, we have a suggested registration of $100 for regular attendees, but for early career researchers and those for whom $100 is a barrier to participation, please fill out this google form to register.


All central events will be held at the Big Ten Conference Center in Rosemont, IL.

Thursday June 13, 2019

Working Reception - in-person participants to meet and pre-sort into working groups for next day.

Friday June 14, 2019

8:30 - 9:00 Morning networking, coffee, snacks, and registration

9:00 - 9:20 Opening remarks to frame need, background, and desired goals

FoR Representative

9:30 - 10:45 Framing Big Picture Needs, and Areas for Improvement:

Early Career Researchers

Dr. Susanna Harris, The PhDepression LLC (


Dr. Kathryn Milligan-Myhre, Assistant Professor for the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage

10:45 - 11:00 Mid-morning break

11:00 - 11:30 Reconvene for quick presentation on outcomes from ECR, Departmental, and

Satellite workshops

11:30 - 12:00 Keynote Presentation

Dr. Melissa McDaniels

Senior Advisor to the Dean for Research Mentoring, Graduate School and Postdoctoral Office, Michigan State University; Investigator, Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research; Co-Director, Master Facilitator Initiative, National Research Mentoring Network

12:15 - 1:00 Lunch Break

1:00 - 1:15 Reconvene for brief instructions on afternoon workshops and goals

FoR Representative

1:20 - 2:30 Framing Domains and Excellence Tiers


2:30 - 3:30 Reconvene as a large group for quick presentations on individual group

outcomes and final large-group discussion for guideline consolidation

3:30 - 4:00 Closing remarks, hotel shuttle departs for airport

Accessibility and access

The Mentoring Conference welcomes all participants including those with disabilities. Please contact Gary McDowell at to discuss accommodations and accessibility needed to fully participate in this event.


Coming soon! To sponsor the meeting, please contact

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Big Ten Conference

5440 Park Place

Rosemont, IL 60018

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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