Setting expectations


Mentor competencies Mentor best practices Mentee competencies
Set and clearly communicate expectations of your trainees, as well as your own commitments and limitations. Communicate your expectations in writing and invite questions and discussion about them. Re-visit your lab expectations periodically to ensure they are aligned with your values and practices. Review the expectations communicated by your mentor(s) and assess whether they align with your own expectations. Communicate regarding any questions or differences in a timely manner. 


Refer to the Mentoring Resources page for supporting materials and training opportunities.

  • Prepare a mentoring compact or other written description of your lab expectations. Share it with candidates before they join your group and use it as a framework to facilitate discussion with current lab members; treat this as a living document that you update as needed.
  • Examples of mentoring compacts of different styles are available on the resources page.
  • Workshops to support writing personalized lab expectations documents will be offered annually to faculty at all ranks.
  • Hallie Dowling-Huppert can provide support to mentors who would like to develop or revise their mentoring compacts or prepare a lab values statement.

Potential pitfalls for mentors

  • Requiring trainees to routinely complete tasks outside of agreed-upon working days or hours.
  • Taking a trainee into your lab if you cannot come up with a plan to provide them with mentoring, funding, and support for their professional growth.