Academic Mentoring Program – University of Colombo Faculty of Medicine (AMP – UCFM) is aimed at improving strength and quality of academic staff of the faculty. It is further known that formal mentoring is superior to informal mentoring, while a mentor’s role is different from that of a research coach, administrative head or from that of a supervisor. Therefore, formal academic mentoring is widely practiced in many well recognized Universities at a global scale.
Probationary and junior academic staff members are encouraged to identify a mentor of their choice from among the Faculty of Medicine Colombo staff of senior lecturer grade 1 and above. It is aimed at supporting both mentors and mentees to conduct effective mentoring sessions through formal workshops on mentoring. Also program conducts mentee facilitation sessions covering different topics of relevance to the career enhancement of young academic staff members. It also aimed at conducting annual feedbacks and program evaluations with a view to improve the output.
Message from Chairperson, AMP.
The Academic mentoring program of the faculty of Medicine of University of Colombo in Sri Lanka (AMP-UCFM) welcomes you. We are dedicated to strengthen mentoring, through raising awareness, training mentors, and providing support to establish formal programs in mentoring. I invite you to take a moment to browse through our web pages and read about the activities carried out under this program. I hope you will join us, support us or collaborate with us in popularizing mentoring, and formal academic mentoring programs which are still relatively new concepts in local academia.
University teacher in an academic setting is expected to play multiple roles. Teaching, practicing, generating and disseminating of knowledge and developing science and technology (S&T), are prime requirements in national development. Academic mentoring is a well-recognized tool in many established Universities at a global scale employed to enhance the strength and quality of staff.
In 2016, Faculty of Medicine of University of Colombo (UCFM) initiated institution’s first formal Academic Mentoring Program. This is also the first such senate approved formal program in a University setting in Sri Lanka. Program has four main streams. In house program stream ensures continuation of an in house program for mentees and mentors. University of Colombo program provides support to faculties, Institutes, school and the campus of the University in establishing and running mentoring programs. Other two streams work on improving infra structure and raising awareness in mentoring at a wider scale.
In house program was established during the first academic year. During its pilot program, recruitment of mentees, selection of mentors, initial surveys to identify mentees needs and profiles, orientation sessions, further facilitation session, annual program evaluations, all staff surveys to identify faculty level needs, formal appreciation of mentor’s contribution and many other activities were conducted. Following this, a series of formal mentor training sessions was also completed during the second year of the program. During its third year, AMP-UCFM provided support to all its fellow faculties, institutes, campuses to establish formal in house mentoring programs.
Following completion of first two phases, we are now moving into the third phase of the program. Our focus is on supporting wider academia and professional organizations in Sri Lanka that includes professional colleges and other Universities.
AMP-UCFM had offered over 25 training sessions during this short period. Activities of AMP-UCFM have been immensely supported at various times by many of our international collaborators that include, Academy of Medical Sciences, University of Birmingham, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge in UK, South Asian University, Monash University in Malaysia, University of California, San Francisco and many of our senior academics in the local setting.
As the first chairperson, it was both challenging and rewarding for me to establish this program. Formal programs in mentoring were not known or scarce in Sri Lankan academia though there is a significant amount of informally efforts at every level. Organizing events to raise awareness, finding a group of members with enthusiasm in mentoring, developing a formal program, obtaining funds and infra structure support, offering workshops of high quality in spite of lack of expert resources have eventually turned out to be very rewarding.
Our success is the result of team work. I remain sincerely thankful to present and former Vice chancellors of the University and present and former deans of this Faculty for providing their active guidance, encouragement and support in establishing and continuing this program. I am also thankful to our local and international advisors, members of the AMP core group, resource persons, senior mentors, mentees and all our well-wishers. I hope you will benefit from the activities conducted through this program.
Dr. Yamuna Siriwardana,
Program Chairperson/Academic Mentoring,
Faculty of Medicine, Colombo.
The Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (UCFM), being the second oldest medical school in Asia has been a center of excellence for both teaching and medical research. This is evidenced by its high quality research out puts and the performance of the graduating medical professionals. Correct guidance, support and review of the newly recruited academics is necessary to maintain such standards in the long term to ensure good quality teaching, research, administration, and an academic who has a holistic approach. Facilitation of a newly recruited member will also improve the job satisfaction and retention in the same university upon completion of the probationary period.
There are various formal and informal activities conducted by this institution to support many academic activities including teaching, learning and research. Availability of a more formal program to facilitate career advancement of junior academics is an important need currently. Academic Mentoring Program was initiated for the newly recruited academics since September 2016, with a view to establishing a process in which each newly recruited academic (mentee) will have an opportunity to develop a professional relationship with an experienced academic member (mentor) aimed at enhancing the career, professional and personal development which will ultimately positively contribute to a high quality output of both the individual and the institution. I sincerely hope that the young academic staff members will benefit through this new program.
I thank Dr Yamuna Siriwardene for initiating this programme and wish all participants a very enjoyable, productive and successful future in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.
Professor Jennifer Perera,
Dean, Faculty of Medicine.
Advancements in healthcare, science and technology is a prime requirement for national development. Higher education institutions play a major role in improving the output in S & T sectors around the globe. Career development of the academics and researchers serving these institutions is critical in enhancing the output and achieving the goals of respective institutions. Job satisfaction, an improved mindset, active facilitation and encouragement of young University academics and other researchers is important in this regard.
Academic mentoring is a well-recognized tool employed for career development in many established Universities at a global scale. Formal mentoring is considered superior to informal ways of mentoring. Mentor’s role is different from that of a coach, supervisor and an administrator.
Faculty of Medicine of University of Colombo (UCFM) initiated the institution’s first formal Academic Mentoring Program in year 2016. The program aims at supporting the young academics and inculcating a mentoring culture in academia. Sensitization workshops on mentoring and a needs assessment survey were conducted, broad areas for action were identified, mentee facilitation sessions were conducted and pilot year program evaluation has also been completed. Program is now on-going.
I remain sincerely thankful to Dean, Faculty of Medicine, the advisory panel, all our resource persons, working group members, senior mentors and mentees of the program for the valuable guidance and support given and the keen interest shown in all program activities. I hope that academic members will benefit from the activities conducted through this program.
Dr. Yamuna Siriwardana,