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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. As reflected in in each of our VPCAT senior mentors' bios, all are exceptional. 

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