Identifying and Aligning Expectations in a Mentoring Relationship

W. Charles Huskins, Karin Silet, Anne Marie Weber-Main, Melissa D. Begg, Vance G. Fowler, John Hamilton, Michael Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The mentoring relationship between a scholar and their primary mentor is a core feature of research training. Anecdotal evidence suggests this relationship is adversely affected when scholar and mentor expectations are not aligned. We examined three questions: (1) What is the value in assuring that the expectations of scholars and mentors are mutually identified and aligned? (2) What types of programmatic interventions facilitate this process? (3) What types of expectations are important to identify and align? We addressed these questions through a systematic literature review, focus group interviews of mentors and scholars, a survey of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program directors, and review of formal programmatic mechanisms used by KL2 programs. We found broad support for the importance of identifying and aligning the expectations of scholars and mentors and evidence that mentoring contracts, agreements, and training programs facilitate this process. These tools focus on aligning expectations with respect to the scholar's research, education, professional development and career advancement as well as support, communication, and personal conduct and interpersonal relations. Research is needed to assess test the efficacy of formal alignment activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and translational science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Career development
  • Faculty development
  • Mentoring
  • Mentors
  • Staff development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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