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The Palaeontological Association needs mentors!

Article from: Newsletter No. 96
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Are you interested in raising the profile and increasing the competitiveness and diversity of scientists working in palaeontology and allied fields?  The Palaeontological Association is establishing a mentoring scheme to assist palaeontologists to progress in their careers.  Mentoring is a tool to support the development of an individual, helping him or her make informed choices via the exchange of knowledge and experience.  At this stage in the process we are seeking academics in permanent positions, regardless of seniority, to step forward as potential mentors.

Who will you be mentoring?

We have identified priority areas as major career transitions, in the first instance focusing on the postdoc-to-permanent job transition (in academia or elsewhere).  You will therefore be paired with a postdoc palaeontologist.  Other transition points such as late-stage PhD to postdoctoral position and mid-career to senior leadership role will be the focus of later mentoring schemes.

What is required?

The Palaeontological Association mentoring scheme will be via direct mentoring.  That is, direct contact between the mentor and mentee via e-mail, skype or other forms of communication.  The expectation is that you will have formal meetings two or three times per year, and mentors should provide open and honest advice whilst maintaining confidentiality at all times.  Full guidelines on lines of communication and flexibility (length of the mentorship) will be provided.

How will the scheme be monitored?

Mentors and mentees will have a point of contact via a member of Council, the Vice-President in the first instance, who will oversee all mentor-mentee pairings and the general running of the scheme.

Who do I contact?

To express interest in acting as a mentor, please e-mail Vice-President Prof. Emily Rayfield (  To emphasize, we are looking for academics in permanent jobs at any level of seniority.  Those obtaining permanent jobs in recent years have as valuable experiences to share as more senior academics.  Aside from the warm glow of knowing you are making a positive difference to someone else’s career, there is much to gain from being a mentor, such as enhanced leadership skills and personal reputation.  We hope you can take part and contribute to the continued development and success of the palaeontological sciences in a competitive academic world.

Author Information

Emily Rayfield - University of Bristol

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