Inclusive Research Mentor/Manager Course

Dates for the fall 2022 offering of the Inclusive Research Mentor/Manager Course (TRAIN-UP) are coming soon! To receive announcements about this series, join the OCPD listserv. We will be offering this series virtually via Zoom. To learn more about this course, see the module descriptions below.

Modules and Format

Modules 1-7 are open to all students and postdocs and may be taken independently of each other or together as a course. Participants who attend all workshops and complete all in-workshop activities and out-of-workshop assignments will receive a Letter of Completion issued by the UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development. This Letter of Completion is required if you wish to participate in the Inclusive Mentoring Fellows program.

Module 1: Are you ready to be an inclusive research mentor/manager? How good people unintentionally build inequitable work environments.
Many scientists have the best of intentions, but lack clearly articulated benchmarks with which to evaluate their preparedness to be inclusive as a research mentor/manager. In this session, participants will use frameworks to self-evaluate their current knowledge and skill level,  discuss barriers (including previous personal lab experience, etc.), identify resources and strategies to further develop their skills, and consider language to frame and discuss their abilities as an inclusive research mentor/manager. 

Module 2. Effectively supervising people who aren’t you: Managing different workstyles  
In this module, participants consider how individual differences in values, approaches and relationship to work can impact productivity, morale and retention of team members. We also discuss tangible steps that managers can take to intentionally cultivate inclusive environments. 

We consider several factors that may make up our individual ‘operating systems’ when we engage in work, including how we prefer to communicate, make decisions, feel organized, and manage change/conflict. Participants will also have the opportunity to assess some facets of their own work style preferences, as well as develop the vocabulary to discuss others’ preferences without pathologizing their approach to work. Finally, we discuss and brainstorm tactics that team leaders can use to inclusively manage multiple work style differences and reap the benefits of working in diverse teams. 

Module 3. How to transparently set (performance and conduct) expectations
Gallup’s national State of the American Worker poll notes that half of all workers do not know what is expected of them. We discuss the challenges – the impossibility, actually – of setting all performance and behavioral expectations at the beginning of someone’s tenure, and the strategies that successful research mentors/managers use to set and manage those expectations over time.

Participants will 1) identify which key expectations need to be set immediately to preserve their own productivity, 2) define and articulate expectations to team members, 3) overcome common challenges in setting expectations, including when mentoring/supervising individuals who are more experienced than themselves or have a strongly held ‘operating system’/way of doing things, and 4) consider criteria to determine if they’ve set an expectation effectively. 

Module 4. Teach/train and delegate: Using best practices to train your diverse team 
Using effective training practices is important in any organization, but it is particularly important in research organizations. In biotechnology companies, the constant evolution of knowledge requires a solid training process to stay up to speed on innovative technology and knowledge. 

In this module, we discuss common training issues that can result in loss of productivity for individuals and their teams, and can put team members from some underrepresented groups at a disadvantage. We propose evidence-based approaches to avoid, detect and correct these training issues.

Module 5. Communicating inclusively: developing your own feedback strategy and style
Do you feel most comfortable offering positive (or kudos) feedback? Do you tend to avoid or sugarcoat corrective feedback? Not sure what  ‘evaluative’ feedback is?  Then this is the session for you.  In this module, we begin by dissecting the three types of feedback that everyone (including you) needs to be productive: kudos, corrective and evaluative feedback. 

Participants will practice giving feedback using a protocol that works for both kudos and corrective feedback  Next, participants will modify the protocol as they consider their style (including their personal values, approach and language). We’ll discuss strategies to both gain buy-in/determine how the recipient can best hear and act on that feedback, and how to engage when the recipient has a strong reaction to feedback. 

Module 6: When someone isn’t meeting your expectations: strategies & resources to manage performance equitably 
When someone repeatedly fails to meet performance or conduct expectations, many research mentors/managers frequently under- or over-correct and mistakenly attempt to handle the situation alone (rather than reaching out for support).  In this session, participants will learn tactics to determine how their particular organization expects them to manage performance or conduct issues, how to access organizational resources to help them navigate the situation (including HR, Learning and Development, etc.), and common mistakes and approaches (including building a circle of support/self care) to manage one of the most challenging responsibilities for any mentor/manager.

Module 7. How to inclusively hire: Which strategies will you use?
In this workshop, participants will learn evidence-based strategies to assess and select candidates using tactics from four inclusive strategy clusters: 1) adding intentional respect, 2) adding diverse voices, 3) adding accountability) and 4) leveling the playing field. Participants will learn how to transparently structure the overall hiring process, begin to develop their own questions/rubrics to assess for their priority qualifications, consider steps to prepare and manage a hiring committee, and discover tactics to mitigate others - and their own - unconscious biases. 


  • Naledi Saul - Director, UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development and Interim Chief of Staff, SAA/Graduate Division
  • Karen Leung - Biotechnology Faculty, City College of San Francisco

What participants said about the course:

  • "I wish this course was offered before I had an intern! Very useful tools and I look forward to putting them to use in the near future."
  • "I have a much better idea of how to write a job description and conduct an interview in a way that will help communicate my expectations to my potential trainees."
  • "I plan to rely on the framework and strategies that were taught and practiced during the TRAIN-UP course. The seven steps of an effective mentor were excellent for me to refer back to and have as core concepts that I can remind myself of regularly."


Upcoming Events


"Ask a Life Science Recruiter": Virtual Coffee Chat with Recruitomics

Date: August 17, 2022
Time: 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Pacific Time