Culturally responsive mentorship is vital as it fosters inclusivity, respect, and understanding in the mentor-mentee relationship. By acknowledging and appreciating the cultural backgrounds and experiences of their mentees, mentors can provide more effective support. This leads to a more significant and meaningful experience, promoting both personal and professional growth for all involved.

The ROOT & SHOOT Research Coordination Network (RCN), encompassing seven plant science organizations, is forming a Working Group to identify the needs and create recommendations for what should be included in an online curriculum on culturally responsive mentoring

We are looking for a diverse set of volunteers across all career stages (from undergraduate students to established mentors) and across the RCN-participating societies and beyond to contribute to this effort. Given the critical role of mentoring for the success of individuals in the scientific research ecosystem, the effort will constitute an important step in achieving equity in the plant sciences.

The Mentoring Working Group (MWG) would have as its charge to:

  • Curate the appropriate materials for this mentoring curriculum;
  • Identify speakers and/or existing programs; 
  • Create a template and method of delivering the mentoring program; 
  • Determine requirements for the awarding of certification; 
  • Discuss the role that professional societies have in the mentoring experience; and
  • Discuss the specific needs of the plant science community. 

Working Group members will have the option to participate in the first iteration of the training to evaluate if the objectives are being met. 

We recognize that this service may be outside of an individual’s current position, and therefore, compensation will be provided for time and efforts related to this project. Stipends for labor and participation are available and will be distributed equitably by the Working Group themselves, through a process aligned with the values established by the ROOT & SHOOT RCN project.

Working Group Structure and Timeline

Working Group activity will encompass a full year, with the goal of launching the initial cohort of participants in Fall 2024. Thus, we estimate that accomplishing this work will require focused and intentional effort for approximately seven months, from February – August, 2024

  • This is an approximate 2 hours/week time commitment for full participants, including:
    • A monthly collaborative discussion involving the entire MWG, including pre- and post-discussion readings;
    • A weekly meeting with your small group (1 hour), and asynchronous work (1 hour);
    • Additional reading, writing, editing, and communication tasks. 

Working Group participants who are not able to commit 2 hours/week will still be able to participate in the MGW by attending the monthly check-in meetings and by providing additional stakeholder input and ad hoc guidance on the process. Participants would still be compensated for their time, but at a level that will reflect their different time commitments. 

  • Draft timeline
    • February 2024: Identify time commitment // literature review // “where are we now?” – small group discussions
    • March 2024: Brainstorming and identifying subgroups; stipends disbursed
    • April – August 2024: Weekly small-group work; monthly large-group check-ins
    • September 2024 [Optional]: First cohort launched

This initial effort will include the ongoing release of process experiences for our communities via the ROOT & SHOOT blog. In addition to the primary task above, the Working Group will document its processes and rationale, culminating in a final report to the plant science community and submitted for publication in an appropriate outlet.

If you wish to join the Mentoring Working Group  and are able to make a commitment to the effort described above, please answer the questions in the linked application.

Please plan to apply by Wednesday, January 10, 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact Marcia Puig-Lluch, ROOT & SHOOT Program Facilitator, at

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