The Borlaug LEAP fellowship supports engaging a US mentor AND a CGIAR mentor. But what is a mentor and what do they do?
What’s the difference between an advisor and a mentor?
An academic advisor provides advice on courses and direction on a student’s thesis or dissertation. A mentor provides advice but also facilitates the growth and development of the student. Mentoring is a process of engagement and communication. A mentor encourages the mentee to choose their own direction, offering guidance that takes into consideration the student’s personal situation, needs and passions. An effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual trust, understanding, and empathy. An advisor directs but a mentor guides.
The Borlaug LEAP mentor
As the US or CGIAR mentor for a Borlaug LEAP Fellow, you will be called upon to aid the student in acquiring new skills, guide him/her in making goals, and facilitate networking opportunities. A good mentor optimizes the educational experience and shares his/her own experiences and expertise with the mentee. As a mentor, you should empower the student to make decisions and nurture self-sufficiency. Your goal is to encourage confidence and independent thinking. You are being asked to take a special interest in helping the Fellow develop into a successful professional.
The roles you will play as a mentor are:
Communication is essential and as a mentor, you must meet regularly with your mentee. These meetings provide you with an opportunity to listen to any personal or professional concerns the Fellow has and to provide advice and guidance.
Goal setter and Planner
Work with the student to identify career goals, strengths and weaknesses and training objectives. Set goals with the Fellow and facilitate the meeting of those goals. Assist the Fellow in identifying specific learning needs and develop strategies for completing training requirements.
Coach, Evaluator and Problem Solver
Evaluate the work and provide insights and constructive feedback. Assist Fellows in identifying strategies for addressing problem areas as well as provide praise and recognition. Challenge and encourage the Fellow to grow as a scientist and person.
Collaborator and Scholar
Work together with other mentors and academic advisors to enhance the quality of the research, build relationships. Identify resources to support the Fellow’s work and build his/her network. Collaborate with the research team at regular meetings that offer collective problem solving to improve the overall research.
The special role of US mentor
The Borlaug LEAP US mentor has the added responsibility of managing the sub-award agreement. The award is made as a sub-award to the US institution and the US mentor serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) for the fellowship and research project. As PI, the US mentor has fiscal responsibility for the award.