Be A Mentor

Mentor-Connect assists community and technical colleges so they may benefit from multiple grant funding opportunities provided by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program. Mentor-Connect provides grant-development mentoring for STEM faculty teams and stimulates individual leadership development. Mentor-Connect also provides technical assistance for all potential ATE grantees and a searchable resource library of resources specific to becoming NSF ATE grantees and implementing funded projects. Mentors are selected from among those who have been successful grantees in the NSF ATE Program. Participation by prospective grantees and Mentors is encouraged. New Mentors are prepared for service by completing a Mentor Fellows internship which includes shadowing a current Mentor through a grant development and submission cycle.

Experienced Mentors may move up into roles where they provide specialized mentoring and other support services. Natural attrition and the transition open up opportunities for Mentor Fellows to advance from their “internship” to serve as Mentor-Connect Mentors for those seeking small grants for institutions new to ATE.

Mentor Readiness/Preparedness

Demonstrate knowledge of the NSF ATE Program as evidenced by significant, active involvement in a successful ATE project or center

Have three to five years of involvement with an ATE center or project

Have experience writing or significantly contributing to a minimum of two successful ATE proposals

Have meaningful experience mentoring others in an academic context

Must have served as Mentor-Connect Mentors previously or have completed a Mentor Fellows “internship" with Mentor-Connect

*Note: The Mentor-Connect internship on-ramp to Mentor-Connect mentoring became available in 2017 (See Mentor Fellows for additional information).

Mentor Expectations

Uphold the highest standards of professional ethics in their work

Provide up to thirty-six hours of mentoring per mentored team

Serve as advisors to the Mentor-Connect Project

Provide links and referrals to ATE resources

Attend either the live or recorded technical assistance webinars produced by Mentor-Connect

Have knowledge of Mentor-Connect resources, the NSF ATE proposal solicitation, and components of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG)

Provide "just in time" help by serving as a learning broker, and be a sounding board for issues relating to the mentee's proposal development

Attend two Mentor-Connect Workshops (Winter and Summer)

  • The Winter Workshop generally requires three days and usually happens from the end of January to the beginning of February each year.
  • The Summer Workshop only requires one day and is held the day before the annual High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC). Most Mentors attend the HI-TEC conference in addition to the Mentor-Connect Workshop. The Summer Workshop and HI-TEC together require about three days.

Mentor Support

Travel support provided, as needed, for project-related activities (Winter and Summer Workshops)

Mentors receive a paid stipend at the end of the NSF ATE grant submission cycle and deadline

Mentor Process

When does mentoring begin?

The mentoring process begins in November of each year (the beginning of each new ATE grant cycle).

When does mentoring end?

The simple answer is upon submission of the ATE grant, usually October of each year. However, supportive technical assistance is usually ongoing, including Moving-Up and Second-Chance mentoring opportunities.

How does the mentoring process work?

Mentors are assigned two college mentee teams to mentor through the grant cycle. Current/returning Mentors are generally considered first when filling Mentor slots for the next year.

What is the make up of most mentee college teams?

• Most college teams to be mentored consist of two STEM faculty members who will serve as Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PI for the proposed project.

• Each college is encouraged to have a grant writer and supportive administrator participate in Mentor-Connect mentoring and other activities as members of the grant development team.

What is the role of the Mentors?
  • Serve as advisors to the Mentor-Connect project
  • Have knowledge of Mentor-Connect resources, the NSF ATE proposal solicitation, and components of the PAPPG
  • Develop grant-writing skills among community college faculty who lack sufficient grant development staff (or sponsored research officers) at their institutions
  • Insure communication with mentee teams; initiate communications throughout the grant cycle
  • Review grant proposal drafts and provide feedback to mentee teams
  • Engage in periodic evaluation activities, which typically consist of several very short feedback forms during the grant cycle and one telephone interview with the project evaluator that lasts less than one hour
  • Provide linkages and referrals to ATE resources

Leadership Development Opportunity

Through each Mentor-Connect mentoring process, those more experienced with ATE grants provide guidance to those who are newer and less experienced. As new grantees gain experience and success in securing grant awards and implementing projects, they may pursue the Mentor Fellows opportunity and later give back to the ATE Program that provided them with mentoring and assistance along their pathway to success in ATE. Mentor Fellows complete an internship with Mentor-Connect to prepare them to mentor those who are preparing small, new-to-ATE grant proposals. This completes the cycle of a regenerative mentoring system within Mentor-Connect and the ATE Program.

Mentor-Connect Mentors who have provided exceptional service for a number of years may be assigned special mentoring duties and/or other Mentor-Connect project responsibilities to support prospective grantees and the ATE Program. The time commitment varies by activity, but typically, special mentoring involves fewer hours per activity and no travel. Special mentoring services include Second-Chance and Moving-Up. Other special projects may include producing technical assistance webinars/podcasts, tutorial development, or presentations to groups of prospective grantees.

Mentor Fellows Application

The pathway to becoming a Mentor-Connect Mentor is to successfully complete a Mentor Fellows "internship" with Mentor-Connect. The Mentor Fellows internship is an activity of the Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach for ATE project. The internship prepares new Mentors to help new-to-ATE college faculty learn to develop competitive ATE grant proposals and grow as leaders. Individuals with grant writing and project implementation experience within the NSF ATE Program may apply to become a Mentor Fellow.