The mentoring programme is an collaborative project by the universities of Halle-Wittenberg, Jena and Leipzig. It integrates Postdocs and – in their role as mentors – experienced professors from these universities. Events are held in rotation at the three university locations.

Programme participation

Participation in the programme lasts 12 months. It is possible to extend participation for 12 further months. Each year, 24 new mentees enter into the programme. Participation is free of charge for the Postdocs.

Framework programme

The programme starts with a joint opening event for new Postdocs (mentees) and mentors in each new cohort to start the programme. As part of this event, the mentees take part in a preparatory ‚Analysis of objectives and potential‘ workshop. An introductory workshop is also offered for the mentors.

Joint interim and concluding events offer all participants the opportunity to exchange their experiences and network.

Programme components

The programme follows an integrative approach: at its core is personal guidance of Postdocs by experienced mentors in the same or a similar field at a partner university. Furthermore, the programme includes intensive training sessions tailored to the target audience in order to convey career-related key competencies, integrate participants in peer groups and facilitate a collegial exchange and networking.

One-to-one mentoring relationship

The Postdocs (mentees) are given individual guidance by experienced professors from the same or a similar field – but who, preferably, work at one of the other alliance universities. This method ensures a personal mentoring relationship which, while relevant to the mentee’s field, is independent and unrestricted.

The programme coordinators arrange contact between the mentee and mentor. In so doing, they take care to ensure that the mentee’s areas of focus, queries and objectives correspond as far as possible with the individual mentor’s capacity to support. The mentors are individually invited to participate in the programme.

The content and scheduling of the meeting are the personal responsibility of the participants, who must discuss and arrange them. In order to structure the meeting in an efficient manner, it is important that the mentee and mentor communicate their expectations and objectives to one another and define these in a mutual written agreement of objectives. In so doing, the participants also commit to apply strict confidentiality to the mentoring meetings.

The mentee is responsible for organizing the meetings. They inform their mentor of the planned topics and objectives to be discussed in advance of each meeting. Face-to-face meetings should be held (at least) once per semester.

Topic-related peergroups

Supplementary to the time-limited one-to-one mentoring, a forum is made available to the mentees; its collegial support can serve them on their career path beyond the duration of the programme. The thematic peer groups invite the mentees to participate in a collegial exchange and build an interdisciplinary network with other women in comparable circumstances in their professional and private lives, and who share the same interests.

The groups are compiled by the project coordinators based on the personal thematic focuses and objectives provided by the mentees during the selection process.

The content and scheduling of the peer group meetings are the personal responsibility of the Postdocs, and should be discussed and arranged by the participants. Group meetings should be held (at least) once per semester.

Training activities on career-related key competencies

In light of the process of reform in the German higher education system, the profile of requirements for leaders continues to grow. Of course, in order to enjoy a successful career in academia, key skills such as self-competence and professional management, team-building and leadership skills are required in higher education and academic positions, in addition to excellent academic achievement.

The three universities alternate in holding workshops on the following ranges of topics:

  1. Analysis of objectives and potential (to prepare for participation in the programme)
  2. Building an academic profile
  3. Career planning essentials
  4. Women in academia
  5. Leadership and management duties in academic operations
  6. Higher education management and policy (for Postdocs in the consultation phase)

The mentees should take part in at least one workshop per year in addition to the mandatory preparatory ‚Analysis of objectives and potential‘ workshop.

Childcare services will be made available on-site if required during these events.

Networking opportunities

Following the opening, interim and concluding meetings, networking soirées are held for all mentees and mentors. These meetings offer participants the opportunity to forge new contacts and intensify existing ones above and beyond the small peer groups and seminar groups.

In addition, the project coordinators facilitate new contacts by creating mailing lists and an Internet platform.