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Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering
tions of progress, such as promotion to research associate (or other position), the addition of responsibilities (such as supervision and teaching), and efforts to obtain independent funding.
A common problem of postdoctoral students is their lack of institutional connections. Mentors can help by making them aware of the nature and location of department offices and by introducing them to other faculty and staff-an obvious step that is often ignored. Encourage the department or institution to include postdoctoral students in their seminars, retreats, and meetings with speakers.
Further comments of relevance to postdoctoral students are offered in the next section, on mentoring junior faculty.
Mentoring Junior Faculty
When a department hires a new assistant professor, it has invested one of its most valuable resources: a tenure-track position. And yet new faculty are often left to fend for themselves amid the turmoil of professional and personal change: new courses to teach, a laboratory empty of both equipment and students, unknown department politics, conflicting demands on one's time, an unfamiliar living environment.
As a result, it is not surprising that faculty retreats and discussions at a number of universities have revealed extensive morale problems among junior faculty, including a sense of isolation and alienation. Those expressing dissatisfaction are not restricted to females and minority-group faculty, who might have few or no role models among senior faculty, but include white males as well.
Although research on this subject is sorely needed, an effective way to increase the likelihood of retaining talented