Duration and Cadence

Program Structure

With respect to the frequency of meetings between the faculty mentees and their mentor(s), the program planning group should decide on a) the length of the program; and b) its cadence.  The two are interrelated; shorter programs may require faster cadence compared to longer programs.  Another consideration is whether the program will entail structured trainings or workshops.

Most programs are designed to last for one year, with an option for participants to continue into subsequent years until a certain milestone is reached such as promotion or reappointment. At a minimum, the program should require a quarterly meeting between the mentor(s) and mentee. 

Shorter program lengths (i.e., quarter-long or 6-months-long programs) typically target a specific goal (e.g., getting promoted; getting a certain NIH Grant) or are topic-focused (e.g., learning how to develop a clinical trial). As a result, they warrant frequent meetings (e.g., monthly). There are also other formats of very intensive mentoring programs that form and adjourn mentoring groups for even shorter periods; these are task-based experiences-- for example, when a group of mentors convene in working sessions with a mentee to go over manuscripts or proposals in detail and offer immediate feedback in settings dedicated for these purposes.  Such programs often take place over a week, or a weekend.  They are high-impact and also resource-intensive.

Programs that include didactic skills training or workshops typically hold them at monthly, bi-monthly or quarter intervals.  These activities do not substitute for mentoring dyad meetings which continue to be held at their regular interval.