This Week for Graduate Students: Making the Most of Mentorship

by | Oct 23, 2023

Making the Most of Mentorship

Are you wondering how to get the most out of your mentoring relationship? Mentorship, both formal and informal, is an integral part of personal and professional development. While each mentor-mentee relationship is unique, some broadly-applicable principles and practices can help to foster trust, growth, and inclusivity in any context.

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn concrete strategies for identifying and addressing common mentorship challenges. An interdisciplinary panel of mentor-mentee pairs will share their tips and tricks for entering mentoring; participants will then move into informal conversation with these “model mentorship” pairs. The session will end by identifying on-campus resources and next steps for taking a mentorship relationship to the next level. Panelists will include Ruben Gonzalez, Professor of Chemistry; Helen Lu, Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Senior Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Advancement; Kristin Myers, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and selected mentees accompanying these mentors.

This session will offer pertinent guidance and models for current and future mentees and those planning to take on the role of academic mentor during their careers. Breakfast will be available to registered participants.

This event is part of the Advancing Mentorship Practices: Supporting Mentors of Graduate Students and Postdocs at Columbia initiative and sponsored by the Office of the Provost. It is a collaborative offering of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Office of Research Compliance and Training.

Date: Thursday, November 2, 2023
Time: 9:30–11:00am
Location: 212 Butler Library

This event counts towards track completion in the Teaching Development Program.

Upcoming Lead Teaching Fellow Events

The 41 2023-24 Lead Teaching Fellows are running workshops and discussions in departments all around Columbia. These are generally advertised locally. Below are upcoming events that are open to participants beyond the LTFs home departments. 

Read more about the LTF program here, connect to an LTF in your department via the LTF directory, and discover more upcoming LTFs events on the LTF calendar.

LTF events count towards track completion in the Teaching Development Program

Pedagogies of Discomfort in the Language Classroom

In most modern language departments there are many opportunities for students to speak their chosen language. However, not all students make it to these opportunities and many struggle in the target-language environment of the classroom. As it is possible to evade the target language outside the classroom, learners may first need to develop their strategies for coping with these emotions before confronting such situations.

How might discomfort in the face of unknown vocabulary or structures facilitate transformative learning? How can students be encouraged to develop meta-cognitive strategies to engage with this discomfort? Thus prepared, will students actively seek out potentially uncomfortable scenarios?

This workshop is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Romney Walker Wood (Germanic Languages and Literatures), and is open to all language instructors. Lunch will be provided.

Date: Tuesday, October 24
Time: 12:00–1:00pm
Location: Deutsches Haus, 420 116th Street

✨Learning to Learn✨ in STEM Programs

Are you annoyed that your homework touches on topics not covered in class? Are you exasperated by those seemingly trivial questions you keep getting during office hours? Are you tired of feeling stuck as a student? Are you burdened by having to teach? Then come learn STEM-specific strategies for developing your self-directed study skills, and discover how you can promote those same skills in your own teaching! If you want to become a better independent learner or if you love to hear that “ooh!” when your students figure something out by themselves, then this event is for you! If you think you’re already a great independent learner, then come tell us your secrets… 🧐 We will end with a discussion where everyone is welcome to share their own tips and experiences on the topic.

This workshop is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Kitty Gîrjău (Statistics), and is open to all STEM instructors. 

Date: Monday, October 30
Time: 10:00–11:30am
Location: Room 1025, School of Social Work (1255 Amsterdam Ave)
Register: Email Kitty at

Balancing the Scales: Exploring Pros and Cons of AI in Second Language Learning

This interactive forum has been designed as a space where attendees will be able to share their views and doubts about the pros and cons of using AI in the specific context of second language teaching. The objective is that the ideas presented here will help teachers make an informed decision about the use of these technologies in the classroom.

This workshop is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Mónica Ramírez Bernal (Latin American and Iberian Cultures), and is open to all language instructors.

Date: Monday, October 30
Time: 12:00–2:00pm
Location: Room 201, Casa Hispánica
Register: Email Mónica at

Teach Outside the Box: Creativity in Science Learning

Science, technology, engineering, math—these subjects are not usually the first that come to mind when people think of creative disciplines. Yet, creativity is essential to STEM. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies on how to engage students and encourage creativity while teaching complex content. Re-designing assignments to be more open-ended, forming an environment in class and office hours to support students to think outside the box, and framing subject matter to spark imagination are some topics that will be explored. Creativity is the basis of innovation, and innovators are born in STEM classrooms! Join us October 31, lunch and Halloween treats will be provided!

This workshop is led by Lead Teaching Fellow Abby Ayers (Biomedical Engineering), and is open to all STEM instructors. 

Date: Tuesday, October 31
Time: 12:00–1:00pm
Location: Engineering Terrace 343 (BME Multipurpose Room)