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Mentoring Plans for Postdoctoral Scholars
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Mentoring can have a profound influence on the relative satisfaction and success of postdoctoral scholars. Mentoring plans are tools to help optimize the mentoring experience by providing a roadmap for both the mentor and the postdoc of the activities that will be undertaken to further the postdoc's professional and career development. This includes support for the enrichment of a postdoc's research knowledge, skills, and productivity as well as assistance in furthering the postdoc's career prospects. This mentoring toolkit includes resources developed by the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) for how to draft a mentoring plan, suggestions for effective mentoring activities, and other resources on effective mentoring.

Please note: The recommendations and suggestions for a mentoring plan made herein have not been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), or any other government organization. The NPA is providing this toolkit of best practices as a service to its members.

Table of Contents:

Kathleen Flint, Ph.D., is first author of this toolkit, and Cathee Johnson Phillips, M.A., is second author. The NPA wishes to thank Richard Lombardo, Ph.D., Phil Clifford, Ph.D., and the NPA Resource Development Committee for their significant contributions to this toolkit.


ATTENTION: JAM attendees

Cathee Johnson Phillips, the principal investigator for NPA's ADVANCE-PAID project, presented on mentoring plans for postdoctoral associates at the NSF JAM on June 9, 2009. Download the presentation: Mentoring Plans for Postdoctoral Associates.

Other Mentoring Resources

Beyond Mentoring


This resource has been created to help postdocs think and assess prospectively about what they are seeking from mentors; shift from thinking about good and bad mentors to the core attributes of effective mentoring relationships; recognize that effective mentoring is not just about mentors guiding mentees, but also about mentees guiding mentors – mentoring up; Learn more about recent theoretical, practical and research advances to guide their development of effective mentoring relationships; and become familiar with key resources to continue building their skills as mentees and mentors.


National Research Mentoring Network