The Faculty Mentorship Roundtable program aims to connect junior SE faculty with more senior mentors, and with peers at similar stage of their career. It is intended to provide a low-pressure atmosphere to foster building one’s support group and mentorship.
Participants will have the opportunity to suggest the topics they struggle with, ranging from research directions to career tips to “soft skills” (e.g., managing priorities, a quality process for hiring students, mentoring students to grow into tomorrow’s leaders, etc). Mentors will get to pass along their tips for success in software research and mentoring students.
This session follows the success of the Faculty Mentorship Roundtables from FSE’18 and ICSE'19. The main motivation is the desire of junior faculty to discuss career advice with members of the community that have had more time to experiment and learn, and openly discuss solutions on how to hire, train and develop the next generation of students to become tomorrow’s technical leaders. We will discuss proven methods to raise student leaders, for example the philosophy and legacy of David Notkin “Focus on the students, since graduating great students means you’ll produce great research, while focusing on the research may or may not produce great students.”
By identifying faculty who are willing and excited to share what they are learning, we aim to reduce the pressure on the young faculty and facilitate connections in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Faculty Mentorship Roundtable program will be held on two of the days of the main ICSME conference (Wed and/or Thu). We will have roundtable discussions during the lunch period to make it maximally easy for all participants to schedule. We will strive to provide one roundtable for women only to make it easier for women faculty to address issues that are difficult in a gender-mixed roundtable.
Younger participants in the mentoring session will express which research areas they work in (and optionally which senior researchers they would like to meet) and what are the main struggles where they need advice. Based on these preferences, the organizers of the mentoring session will form the roundtable groups.
Faculty will apply to the mentorship sessions using a brief application process. We ask for the following information:
Stage in career (pre- or post-tenure faculty, etc.), What research area they work in, Whether they had a faculty support group in the past and how this engaged them, What are the main challenges they see they are not fully resourced to handle, and (Optional) Who they would like to meet with as a mentor.
We have only 20 slots available for faculty in this program.
Mentors in the program are selected initially by the organizing committee, based on recommendations from other faculty that attended similar events. We will expand based on requests from participants. Junior faculty will be selected by the organizers based on a combination of factors, including experience, stage of career, and their needs and challenges, as indicated above. We aim to select a diverse group, based on a need for mentorship.
If you have been on a flight recently, the flight attendant announced before the plane took-off: “in the unlikely event of the cabin pressure dropping, first put on your oxygen mask before assisting other passengers.” You cannot give what you don’t have. You cannot help your students become the best versions of themselves if you don’t become the best version of yourself.
We need to first grow on the inside, on the personal, before we experience and sustain growth on the outside, on the professional. I used to believe that I will automatically grow through experience. But I am discovering that experience is not the best teacher, some of us just go through life, others grow through life. I am discovering that *evaluated* experience is the best teacher. Having the mindset to intentionally learn and grow from experience is what makes the difference.
I am surrounding myself with other like-minded faculty who are intentional and dedicated to grow ourselves. We have weekly roundtable discussions where we talk about how to become better people, better mentors for our students, better parents, better spouses (or significant others), better members of the society.
Iron sharpens iron. I invite you at ICSME’19 to sit down with other like-minded faculty and share some of the peer-best-practices in a relaxed environment while you are enjoying a meal together.
— looking forward to serving you,
Danny Dig (and the Mentors)