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June 2019 Teacher Spotlight

Elizabeth Twamley, Ph.D., ProfessorElizabeth Twamley, Ph.D., Professor

Why do you love teaching/mentorship? There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you were able to help someone get to the next level of their academic career. Whether it’s undergraduate research volunteers, medical students, clinical psychology doctoral students, or postdoctoral fellows, teaching is truly the highlight of my week, every week.

What piece of advice do you have for mentors when in a mentorship relationship? Be as transparent as possible and put everything on the table. People tend to reject help they don’t want, so I always want to know what kind of help my mentees want and how much of it they want. The only way I can know this is to have periodic open conversations about their goals. Assuming I know, or guessing they want to be just like me, is not likely to result in the most productive or satisfying mentoring relationship. I also like to take some time to elicit feedback about how I’m doing as a mentor at least once every few months. I ask my mentees what I can do to make their academic lives easier or more satisfying, in hopes that if I elicit feedback regularly, they’ll become more comfortable giving feedback and asking for feedback themselves.

What piece of advice do you have for mentees when in a mentorship relationship? Keep your eyes on the prize – that is, stay focused on the career you want to achieve, and work with your mentor to overtly link your scholarly activities to your ultimate career goals.