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Mentorship has been identified as a key component in the development and retention of faculty in academics. However, a simple dyadic model is not a solution for all investigators, especially clinical and translational researchers. Our program has developed a Matrix Mentoring Model that includes five levels of mentorship, including a senior mentor. As part of the program, scholars are paired with a VPCAT Senior Mentor to support them in achieving their career and research goals.

VPCAT senior mentors are:

  • Seasoned, grant-funded investigators
  • Experienced in grant review process
  • Familiar with institutional resources
  • Understand the retention, promotion, and tenure process
  • Have substantial experience/training in mentoring
  • Typically not in same department/discipline as scholar
  • Recommended by chairs/deans

VPCAT senior mentors are responsible for:

  • Ensuring accountability of all parties in the Matrix Mentoring Model in working towards the scholar’s goals
    • Can intervene and mediate if conflicts arise (with division chiefs, scientific mentors, etc.)
  • Making the mentee/mentor relationship a priority
  • Preparing and submitting Mid- and Final Program Reports describing a scholar’s progress, achievements, and areas where support may be needed
  • Meeting regularly with a scholar over the 2-year period
    • At a minimum, meets 3 times during the 2-year period, which includes the VPCAT Initial Team Meeting and the Mid- and Final Mentor/Mentee Review Meetings; however,
      • Mentors strongly encourage scholars to meet more than the minimum
      • Mentors advise scholars to schedule regular monthly or quarterly meetings
    • Assists in setting/adjusting goals - initially and continually - as aligned with a scholar’s VPCAT Scholar Career Development Plan (VS-CDP)
    • Reviews scholar’s progress
    • Evaluates alignment of time allocation relative to a scholar’s priorities
    • Assists in identifying scientific mentors, if needed
    • Assists in expanding scholars’ networks (i.e., research, academic)
    • Facilitates utilization of institutional resources (including VPCATs resources)
    • Is available and accessible
  • Reading and editing scholars’ research proposals
    • Helps with interactions between scholars and funding agencies
  • Providing advice/guidance concerning promotion, retention, and tenure
  • Listening and providing support
  • Celebrating scholars and their achievements
  • Serving as a scholar’s advocate

The benefits of being a VPCAT senior mentor are:

  • Sense of giving back – “paying it forward”
  • Professional stimulation
  • Personal enrichment
  • Professional advancement
  • Leaving a legacy


VPCAT Program Director