Overview: Mentoring and Leadership in the Sciences



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Course Learning Goals

Success as a scientist requires much more than learning experimental techniques and data interpretation. It requires more than writing papers and giving presentations.  Your chances of success in the sciences improves with strong interpersonal and leadership skills. Working on collaborative projects, leading research teams, contributing to the scientific community through advisory boards, and mentoring students to become good scientists all benefit from these interpersonal and leadership skills.

While each of us has our own personality, interpersonal skills can be learned and practiced. This does not mean a quiet person should become outgoing, or someone who prefers more solo work needs to suddenly work only on big teams. Rather, it is about trusting and growing with and learning from others in your community, whatever your personality and learning styles are.

In this course we explore the skills needed to become strong mentors - giving back to the community, one individual at a time. We learn what to ask for of our own mentors, recognizing their value for our career.  We examine how different leadership styles will be valuable for different types of research teams and different stages of the research process. And we assess our own strengths and weaknesses in both mentoring and leadership, coming away with confidence, as well as goals for improvements.

These are the skills that are rarely taught in a Ph.D. program, yet can make a huge difference in the trajectory of your career.

I come from the perspective that science does not need to sit on a pedestal in our society. We will create more scientific knowledge if we are aware of the different perspectives on the world. So much of the direction of future science stems from the way we ask questions. I strongly believe that asking questions is the most creative step in the process. We will never come up with an answer if we don't think to ask the question in the first place. As scientists, we can stimulate more creative questions by being aware of our place in the world by studying and practicing art or music, by being curious about other cultures and inviting people with diverse backgrounds to join our research teams: by pushing ourselves out side our comfort zone. To get more of my perspective on science and discovery watch this: