Why should I join a mentoring circle?

Mentoring circles are an opportunity for you to take the time to reflect on issues that matter to you and take actions to address them, supported by your mentor and your mentoring group. You may be wondering how to progress in your career (inside or outside the University), want to run an idea or issue past other people, feel isolated or invisible in your department, or it could be anything else that’s important to you.

Who can be a mentee?

Any member of University or college staff at any grade who identifies as Black and minority ethnic (BME) can become a mentee, as long as they commit to participating in at least four meetings a year and to reflecting on their own development needs and to supporting others.

What is peer mentoring?

Peer mentoring matches three or four mentees with one, more senior mentor in a mentoring circle. The perspectives that can be offered by a small group of your peers, especially those who have experienced a different part of the University, can be extremely valuable. Your fellow mentees will) not be from the same department as you and may not even be at the same career stage, but they will provide a valuable sounding board and their different experiences could offer you a useful outside perspective.

How much time will mentoring take up?

Mentoring circles should run initially for a twelve-month period (or for at least four meetings, whichever is sooner) but the relationship may continue by mutual consent.

Individual meetings may be available at the discretion of the mentor; however, please note that the mentor is not obliged to offer this to their mentees. Mentees in a circle are encouraged to meet more regularly without their mentor and peer to peer mentoring can also take place between meetings via email to sustain the momentum of the meetings and to enable mentees to support each other through any specific concerns. We will provide you with resources to explore different development topics and expect you to take some time outside meetings to familiarize yourself with these resources and to reflect on your own development.

Where will the mentoring take place?

Sessions will be held at a mutually convenient location, which can be the mentor's office, college or departmental meeting room but need not be

How will you match me with my mentor and fellow mentees?

We want to ensure that the mentoring circle is a place where you feel safe to discuss any issues, so matching people from across departments is a priority. Beyond that, we’ll look to group mentees who state that they have similar aims and/or are at similar career stages.

If you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason with your mentor or fellow mentees you should feel free to let us know so that we can re-match you.

Will there be any extra support?

Once you’re enrolled on the scheme, you will be expected to attend an initial compulsory workshop in May with all other participating mentors and mentees. This is an opportunity to consider the commitment you will make as a mentee, understand the boundaries of the mentoring relationship, and raise any issues; you will also be able to hone in on some of the things you would like to address through mentoring. There is also on-going support from Laura Hodsdon and Machilu Zimba if required.

What is the mentor’s role?

Your mentor will be a more senior colleague who will be able to draw where appropriate on their own experience and provide some insights and thoughts, acting as a facilitator to allow you to consider your own issues and priorities. However, they are not expected to offer solutions nor to undertake work on your behalf. Getting the most out of mentoring requires you to be proactive and to bring your own ideas and self-reflection: this is about you generating actions, not about your mentor telling you what they think you should or could do.