UHI Mentoring Scheme

Overview of the UHI mentoring Process

Mentoring is recognised as an effective way of supporting career development of individuals. In an informal, one-to-one relationship, an experienced staff member is able to offer support and coaching to a less experienced person and to respond to the needs of the individual with respect to their professional and personal development. In the context of research, many universities now operate mentoring schemes and a variety of benefits are reported.

University mentoring scheme

The university Mentoring Scheme has now been expanded to offer three distinct stands of mentoring:

  • Research Mentoring (strand lead Dr Melanie Smith)
  • Learning and Teaching Enhancement Mentoring (strand lead Ann Tilbury)
  • ALPINE Mentoring (strand lead Alex Walker)

Download the UHI Mentoring Guide (pdf)


What is mentoring?

What is mentoring?

What is research mentoring?

Mentoring is usually undertaken by a more senior, experienced member of staff in the subject discipline (or related area) of the mentee. Schemes are often part of a wider system of research staff support in an institution. Initial promotion and workshops would usually be offered to encourage engagement. The mentoring arrangement / relationship is established on a formal basis and can be an open ended or time bound arrangement. The usual arrangement for mentoring meetings is that they are informal, allowing for a mentor mentee relationship to be established. The discussions would work towards achieving objectives identified by the mentee. The process is driven by the mentee but requires engagement from both parties in order to be successful.

Key aspects of the mentoring arrangement:

  • One to one supportive relationship
  • Focused on the academic development of an individual
  • It is aimed at facilitating career progression and professional development
  • Is not part of reporting or line management structures
  • It is non-judgemental
  • It is confidential

Overall, mentoring contributes towards a culture of support in the research environment with specific benefits for different groups. Joining the scheme gives a number of benefits for all involved.

The process should be driven by the mentee and should be flexible to respond to the specific needs and objectives of the individual, as defined in the application.

The process is time bound and should end at twelve months, at which point the mentor and mentee will review and evaluate the process and whether objectives have been met. If mentee and mentor decided further mentoring would be beneficial, they would be free to enter a new cycle after setting new objectives.

It is recommended that the time commitment to the mentoring should be within 1-2 hours per month, but is flexible at the discretion of the mentor / mentee. Initial meeting are recommended to be face-to-face, particularly if the mentoring pair do not know each other, but there after can be arranged to suit both by agreement e.g. using Video Conferencing.

Mentoring meetings should be confidential, with disclosure of matters discussed only being revealed more widely with the agreement of both mentor and mentee. For the purposes of monitoring and evaluation, only generic questions would be asked about how the mentoring process had worked and met set objectives.

Who is it for?

The scheme aims to support the university’s diverse staff profile with varied research backgrounds:

  • Early career researchers (ECRs)
  • Staff aspiring to / or returning to research
  • HE lecturing staff.


Benefits of the scheme

Benefits of the scheme

Benefits for the mentee

  • Support for career and professional development
  • Helps with setting and achieving academic (and possibly future career) goals
  • Encouragement and increased confidence, particularly for aspiring and early career researchers
  • Enhanced networking across the university and potentially with other HEIs (if cross-intuitional schemes are created)
  • Helps individuals to find solutions to challenges
  • Improves understanding of research operation in the individual institutional setting and across the university partnership

Benefits for the mentor

  • Development of interpersonal and communication skills
  • Development of coaching, support skills and experience
  • Opportunity to reflect on one’s own practice
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Builds leadership skills
  • Supports engagement and development of a research culture across the university

Benefits for UHI

  • Develops a supportive research environment and culture
  • Enhances research performance and research excellence
  • Enhances the research reputation of staff
  • Increased commitment to the university
  • Highlights areas for future staff development
  • Support UHI’s REF submission and pathway to RDAP
  • To work towards the university’s strategic objectives

Contact and apply

Contact and apply

If you have any general questions or queries in relation to the overall scheme please contact the Mentoring Scheme Coordinator Alex Walker at mentoring@uhi.ac.uk.

The scheme is administered through an application called SUMAC which was originally developed by St Andrews University for their own use but has now been developed for use by subscribers.  The application allows us to set up and run various versions of mentoring schemes, gives mentors and mentees a central place to communicate and the information collected during the registration process allows for initial mentee/mentor matching which is then refined and partnerships are developed. All information is strictly limited within UHI for the purposes of making mentoring partnerships.

Note: if you would like to be both a mentor and a mentee please complete and submit the application form twice – firstly as a mentor and then as a mentee.

The expanded mentoring scheme is now open, and is being co-ordinated through the Learning and Teaching Academy. Read further general information about the expanded scheme.