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Carpentries Mentorship Program - 2.0

We’re starting a new round of mentoring groups, centered on specific lessons.

This post originally appeared on the Data Carpentry website

Mentorship is an important part of the Carpentry experience. As Instructors, we both teach and mentor our Learners. We also mentor each other as Instructors, learning something new from each other every time we teach and interact with one another. The Mentoring Subcommittee offers guidance to new and continuing Instructors through weekly discussion sessions, where Instructors from the global Carpentry community gather to share their experiences and learn from each other. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with other Carpentry Instructors from around the world.

Many in the Carpentry community have expressed interest in having more extensive and longer-lasting opportunities for mentorship. Based on this, we ran a pilot version of a new Mentorship Program, starting in January 2017. Nearly 100 Carpentry Instructors participated in the program, with 58 Mentees and 34 Mentors in 18 small groups. Groups were put together based on a variety of factors, including common teaching interests and geographies. These groups met once a month to discuss topics of interest to the group members and to help Mentees prepare for their first workshop.

In June 2017, we asked participants in the pilot program for their feedback. Participants said that they enjoyed the opportunity to share and learn from each others’ experiences and expertise. They also reported that the experience enabled them to get involved with the Carpentry community and to network with Carpentry Instructors at other institutions. When asked about negative aspects of the program, many participants reported difficulty scheduling meetings with their groups as well as a lack of focus and difficulty deciding topics to discuss with their groups. Many participants offered concrete suggestions on how the program could be improved, including:

  • offering more guidance to mentorship groups on what to do during the program
  • assigning groups specifically around common interests and goals
  • enabling more integration and communication among groups.

As with any pilot program, one of the goals of this program was to identify aspects that could be improved, based on the shared experiences of the participants, so we are very grateful for the feedback we received.

We listened to your feedback and have made changes to the program. We are now offering curriculum-specific mentoring: both mentors and mentees can choose which tools they are most interested in discussing from the following list:

  • Git
  • Shell
  • Python
  • R
  • SQL

Additionally, groups will focus on either lesson maintenance, teaching workshops, organizing workshops, or community building. This program will run from October 25th to January 10th, 2018, and will culminate in a Virtual Showcase, in which groups will share their work with the broader Carpentry community.

So far, 18 people have signed up to participate in this round of mentoring groups. Applications close October 18th, so don’t wait to apply to either be a mentor or mentee.

Get involved by attending one of the information sessions being held October 12th at 06:00 UTC and 21:00 UTC. Sign up to attend on the etherpad. You can also join the conversation by tweeting to @datacarpentry and @swcarpentry using the hashtag #carpentriesmentoring.

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