Mentoring can be defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists a less experienced one (the mentee) in developing professional skills. Mentoring involves reciprocity; it does not overlap with the ordinary advisory structures (for instance, PhD supervisor or employee – supervisor relationship).
Between mentor and mentee there is no direct hierarchical relationship.
The goal of mentoring is the planning of the mentee's career in science, e. g. through an insight into the career and work experience of the mentor. The aim is to promote the mentee's professional career in an enriching way. In the Mentoring Program for Women in Physics, a focus lies on establishing a career in academia. For example:
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For the women in physics mentoring program the mutual relationship is agreed upon by mentee and mentor in a mentoring agreement, which defines the goals that they want to achieve together.
It must be signed by both mentee and mentor at the start of the program (see also below for the timeline). The signed agreement must be sent to the organizers (contact is provided in the mentoring agreement).
The timeline for the mentoring program is shown below. The actual mentoring program runs for one year and is kicked-off by the Women-in-Physics Career Symposium at which mentee-mentor pairings are defined. The program is completed at Women-in-Physics Wrap-Up event that should be attended by all mentees and mentors. It is intended is a forum to exchange the experience collected during the mentoring program.