Professor Tiantian Zhang is Deputy Dean of Research and Professional Practice in the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) at Bournemouth University. She is a leading figure internationally in research on cryopreservation of gametes and embryos of fish species and her research interests have been in the areas of cryopreservation of reproductive cells and the effect of cryopreservation on genome integrity and cellular metabolism with applications in biomedicine, conservation and aquaculture. In this blog post, Tiantian discusses the support available in FST to support mentoring.
In supporting the delivery of BU2025 and career development of academic staff, FST introduced a faculty wide mentoring programme to academic staff in 2019 building on from the good practice of mentoring in the faculty. The Faculty formally recognised two types of mentoring: one for staff on probation and one for all staff. The mentoring programme initially covered all aspects of Fusion and we have further enhanced the programme so staff can also have a research focused mentor where appropriate. The mentoring support was initially focused on ECRs and this has been further developed for MCRs and other staff. The uptake of research mentoring by ECRs have been high (eg 100% for Psychology department). Mentoring has also been offered to senior staff including professors and mentors from both BU and outside were used. Some department such as Psychology has a mentoring lead/facilitator and gender balance of mentors/mentees have also been monitored as part of the Athena SWAN activities (eg Depts of Psychology, Life and Environmental Science and Archaeology and Anthropology).
In addition to the formal mentoring arrangements, there are also a range of informal mentoring activities taking place in FST, these include research mentoring via research institute and research centre activities, collective mentoring via research groups, mentoring on individual research plan development and the use of visiting professors for targeted support eg income generation.