Mentors for each trainee are selected by the Executive Committee, with input from trainees based on their areas of research interest, identified training needs, and career goals. Mentors are expected to meet regularly with trainees, preferably at least two times per month. The primary mentor is expected to work with the trainee in developing a career development plan, which is then reviewed with co-mentors and submitted to the Executive Committee for review and input. The career development plan specifies the trainee’s overall professional goals and the specific steps/activities needed to achieve these goals (e.g., grant proposal development, job search, coursework, conference participation, specific topic areas for manuscript development, and areas targeted for additional training).
Mentors are expected to suggest directed readings of relevant literature, supplemental coursework, plans for enhancing research and statistical analysis skills, and conferences and publication outlets, and to refer trainees to relevant training activities on campus and elsewhere. Mentors engage in ongoing review of the trainees’ research and professional activities and provide feedback as needed.
Trainee participation in research activities varies, depending upon the trainee’s level of research skills, identified training needs, and stage of professional development. Trainees participate in ongoing research in order to expand their range of hands-on research experience, including instrument selection, research design, data collection, data management, data analyses, and overall project management. Trainees may observe their mentor’s research team meetings with their staff to see how these issues are managed in a real-world setting and participate in ongoing research activities. Some trainees specialize in conducting secondary analyses (and have access to a wide range of archived datasets at ISAP, particularly longitudinal datasets at CALDAR), whereas others learn skills essential to undertaking primary data collection in the field or to expand their research skills, such as in qualitative methods. Mentors work with trainees to devise a plan for research participation that includes access to the wide range of projects of the core ISAP faculty and affiliated faculty.