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Are you interested in developing or improving your skills as a mentor? The Mentoring Academy, sponsored by the Center for Mentoring, offers a series of three sessions devoted to developing your skills in eight mentoring competency areas. These two- to three-hour sessions, offered in the Fall and Spring terms, are interactive and use case studies and small group activities. Participants will receive a digital badge for participating, and a Mentoring Academy credential will be awarded for successful completion of the series. Enrollment for the Fall series is typically available in August, and for the Spring series enrollment is available in January.

  • Competency 1: Introduction to Mentor Training
    Build a mentoring community.
  • Competency 2: Maintaining Effective Communication
    Identify and use different communication styles.
  • Competency 3: Aligning Expectations
    Establish mutual mentee and mentor expectations.
  • Competency 4: Assessing Understanding
    Identify and use strategies to assess core concepts and processes as well as enhance understanding across diverse disciplinary perspectives.
  • Competency 5: Addressing Equity and Inclusion
    Improve and expand understanding of how diversity influences mentor-mentee relationships.
  • Competency 6: Fostering Independence
    Identify benefits and challenging of fostering independence as well as employ various strategies to build mentee’s confidence, trust and independence.
  • Competency 7: Promoting Professional Development
    Identify mentor’s role, strategies and conversations with mentees on professional goals and career development.
  • Competency 8: Articulating Your Mentoring Philosophy and Plan
    Reflect and articulate mentor-training experience and approach for working with future mentees.

These competencies build upon the curriculum provided through the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research.

The Center for Mentoring Faculty Fellows oversee the implementation of the Mentoring Academy curriculum and assist in supporting and coordinating faculty facilitators in the co-facilitation of Mentoring Academy sessions.

  • Joe Ayoob is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology. He has over a decade of experience directing programs for the mentoring and training of graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. Dr. Ayoob also serves as an online mentor for the Center for Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER) and has been named a CIMER Master Mentor, and is a CIMER Certified Facilitator of Entering Mentoring.
  • April Dukes is the Institutional Co-leader for Pitt-CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning) and the Faculty and Future Faculty Program Director for the Engineering Educational Research Center (EERC) at the University of Pittsburgh. In her work for Pitt-CIRTL and the EERC, April Dukes currently oversees educational research projects and facilitates professional development (PD) on instructional and mentoring best practices for current and future STEM faculty. As an adjunct instructor for the University of Pittsburgh and an instructor for CIRTL Network and Pitt-CIRTL local programming, April is experienced in both synchronous and asynchronous online and in-person teaching environments.

Past Faculty Fellows

Mentoring Academy Members are University of Pittsburgh faculty who, in addition to having been acknowledged for their mentoring service at Pitt, have completed the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) “Train the Trainer” program and who serve as facilitators for sessions of the Mentoring Academy. To date, 29 faculty members have received the training.

Featured Academy Members

Robert M. Arnold

Robert M. Arnold, MD, is a Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and in the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law and the Medical Director of the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Institute. Dr. Arnold has published on end-of-life care, hospice and palliative care, doctor-patient communication and ethics education. His current research interests are focused on educational interventions to improve communication in life-limiting illnesses and better understanding how ethical precepts are operationalized in clinical practice. He is the Past-President of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities as well as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Velpandi Ayyavoo

Velpandi Ayyavoo, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Graduate School of Public Health where she also serves as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs. As a molecular virologist her research interests include understanding the consequences of HIV-induced neuronal dysfunction, cognitive disorders in HIV subjects, and developing novel therapeutics. In addition to teaching and advising students, she also serves as the Graduate Program Director and Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs. In her role as Associate Dean for faculty Affairs, she mentors and guides faculty during the promotion process and is working to establish a mentoring program for junior faculty at the school level.

Leslie Hausmann

Leslie Hausmann, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine and a Core Investigator at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) where she also serves as Co-Director of the Health Equity Capacity Building Core within CHERP. An experimental social psychologist, Dr. Hausmann’s research interests include understanding how issues of discrimination and bias contribute to health and health care disparities, especially with regards to pain management. As a faculty member in the Institute for Clinical Research and Education at Pitt, Dr. Hausmann teaches a course on health equity research and mentors medical trainees and junior faculty interested in pursuing careers in clinical research.

Zsuzsa Horvath

Zsuzsa Horvath, PhD, serves as the Director of Faculty Development in the Office of Faculty Affairs and is an Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Dental Public Health. Within Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine, her responsibilities include overseeing, designing and implementing faculty development and mentoring programs and teaching in the pre-doctoral dental curriculum. Recently, she has created a two-year Academic Career Track Area of Concentration certificate program for pre-doctoral students to train future dental educators. In addition to directing this program, she also offers various elective courses in teaching methods, clinical teaching, and educational research. In her most recent endeavors, she has served as Principal Investigator of the NIH funded University of Pittsburgh Center of Excellence in Pain Education: Pain Challenges in Primary Care and oversees the development of virtual cases in pain education and their interprofessional implementation in five health sciences schools.

Jana M. Iverson

Jana M. Iverson is Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the interface between the development of early motor skills and the emergence of communication and language in typical development and in children with or at risk for developmental disorders. She is deeply committed to mentoring students at all stages in their training. She mentors 20-25 undergraduates in research in her laboratory each semester, and to date she has mentored 10 predoctoral students and 2 postdoctoral fellows. She also serves as a Faculty Mentor for the American Speech and Hearing Association’s Mentoring Academic Research Careers and Lessons for Success programs and am on the Advisory Board for Lessons for Success.

Deborah Jacobs-Sera

Deborah Jacobs-Sera is a senior researcher in the lab of Dr. Graham Hatfull. The lab studies actinobacteriophages, “phages,” which are viruses that infect the bacteria of the phylum Actinobacteria. Deborah coordinate’s the PHIRE (Phage Hunters Investigating Research and Education) program for undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh and is part of a leadership team that administers the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s SEA-PHAGES (Science Education Alliance – Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science) program. She is committed to productive mentoring programs, such as peer-mentoring, that rely on collaborative ways to do science.

Paul (Kip) Kinchington

Paul (Kip) Kinchington is a tenured professor of the Department of Ophthalmology within the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh where he leads a basic research program addressing aspects of virus/host relationships. His articular focus is on the interaction of the vision-important herpesviruses HSV-1 and VZV with the host neuron, where these viruses go latent for long periods and then reactivate to trigger blinding diseases or pain. His extensive teaching roles include those for the Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology, where he has directed a well-regarded course in Experimental Virology for over 25 years. His mentoring roles include his department, where he is the Director of Ophthalmology Faculty Mentoring; and as an elected member of the School of Medicine “Academy of Master Educators (AME)’ where he co-chairs the AME Mentoring Committee. In this role he regularly consults/guides requesting medical school faculty in portfolio development, promotion and academic advancement.

Natalie E. Leland

Natalie E. Leland is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research is focused on understanding and improving care quality for vulnerable older adults. Her mentoring has a dual focus, including: (a) training the next generation of rehabilitation science researchers in health services research and implementation science as well as (b) empowering  emerging clinician leaders to deliver high quality patient-centered care.

Jessica Merlin

Dr. Jessica Merlin is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is an independent clinician-investigator fellowship trained and boarded in Infectious Diseases and palliative care, and board certified in Addiction Medicine. During her career development award from the National Institutes of Mental Health, she developed and pilot tested a behavioral intervention for chronic pain in patients with HIV, and is now conducting an R01-funded full scale efficacy trial of this intervention.

Darlene F. Zellers

Darlene F. Zellers serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Career Development in the Health Sciences, and the Director of the Office of Academic Career Development (OACD). In this capacity she is responsible for supporting the professional development of biomedical researchers, clinical investigators, and educators within the schools of the health sciences across the spectrum of their careers, which includes doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees, clinical fellows, and faculty members. The OACD also houses the Center for Postdoctoral Affairs in the Health Sciences, the centralized postdoctoral office in the health sciences; the Center for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Career Development, a university-wide resource for advanced-degree trainees; and fosters a sense of community among the University’s training grant directors and administrators by facilitating communication and maintaining the University of Pittsburgh Training Grant Directory.

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