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Peer Mentoring Program for UW Research Administrators

Page Updated: August 29th, 2017

The Research and Sponsored Programs Office will pilot RED: Peer Mentoring Program in 2017. Individuals involved in this program will have an opportunity to build important relationships with colleagues across campus while enhancing their professional growth.

The goals of this program are to:

  1. Provide opportunities for increasing knowledge and understanding
  2. Provide motivation for increased job performance and creativity
  3. Provide a culture of collaboration across UW campus units
  4. Increase engagement among research administrators

We are seeking 10 mentors and 10 mentees to pilot the RED Peer Mentoring Program for one year, beginning in the fall of 2017. In general, this program will match less experienced research administrators with more experienced colleagues. However, the program would also assist experienced research administrators who want to learn more about another area of administration. For instance if you are a preaward staff member interested in learning more about accounting and post-award services you could sign up to be matched with a skilled post-award colleague. In this way, the Peer Mentoring Program will benefit new staff as well as seasoned staff who want to expand their knowledge base or develop in a new area of research administration. The Peer Mentoring Program is open to all UW administrators who participate in any part of sponsored projects administration.

Time Commitment: The time commitment for this program will vary but we expect that each peer mentor pair will communicate at least once per month over a period of one year. In-person communication is recommended.

Mentor Requirements: Mentors must have at least 5-years of UW research administration experience and a positive reputation for the quality of their work and relationships. Two professional references are required with the application process.

The RSP Education Coordinator will manage this program and is accepting applications for both mentors and mentees. Submit applications online here:

Thank you for your interest but the pilot application deadline has passed.

Peer Mentor Program - Participant Expectations

  • Schedule your initial meeting within 3-weeks of your match.
  • Thereafter maintain regular and frequent contact with each other, a minimum of one time per month.
  • Determine what communication methods and frequency of contact work for you both.
  • Communicate clearly and professionally in a timely manner.
  • Model professionalism, ethics, and transparency.
  • Establish goals for the partnership and review them regularly.
  • Keep confidences with your partner.
  • Respect each other's priorities, ideas, and needs.
  • Honor each other by using time wisely and creating lines of open communication.
  • Nurture the partnership by sharing ideas and perspectives.
  • Accept constructive feedback and suggestions.
  • Attend two RSP sponsored networking functions per year.
  • Provide feedback about your experience in the program through periodic evaluations.

Suggestions for a Successful Peer Mentor Partnership

  • Establish regular, in person communications whenever possible.
  • Communicate by phone, email, or in person once a week.
  • Be clear with each other about your time availability.
  • Be clear from the beginning on what you want get out of the partnership.
  • Focus on your unique established goals while also taking time for skills development, goal setting, career planning, problem solving and networking.
  • Ask questions.
  • Listen.
  • Share experiences of both failure and success. Do not pretend to have all the answers.
  • Be open to differing viewpoints and new ways of doing things.
  • Take initiative to drive the partnership and be responsible for your own professional development.
  • Assit with broadening each other's network by introducing your partner to others.
  • Express your gratitude for the partnership.

Suggestions for Initial Meeting

  • Introductions: Share backgrounds, personal information, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Set ground-rules and expectations that include the frequency of meetings and an exit plan if the partnership is not working.
  • The mentee should come to the initial meeting with 3 goals for the partnership.
  • The pair should prioritize goals.
  • The mentor should encourage the mentee to make the goals manageable with action items.
  • Set up your next meeting.

If you have questions or comments please contact Melanie Hebl, Education Coordinator in the Research and Sponsored Programs Office. Melanie.Hebl@wisc.edu or 608-890-3068.