AMP – About AMP

It has been pointed out that building a mentoring culture in a university and maintaining it successfully play a crucial role in the success of a university. The academic profession is unique and presents a variety of challenges for both beginners and experienced academics. Mainly, mentoring has been identified as one of the approaches for developing early career academics (ECAs) and assisting in the smooth transition to the academic arena. Mentoring also improves the strength and quality of staff in universities. This is considered to be an essential component of the academic development of well-established universities around the world. Evidence indicates that many university academics face challenges in teaching, research, supervision and public engagements when they work in different institutions compared to the places where they have been trained, necessitating the need of a proper mentoring systemic system for ECAs to overcome the above challenges.

The Academic Mentoring Program – University of Colombo (AMP-UoC) is coordinated through the Faculty of Medicine program (AMP – UCFM) and offers its services to the University and wider academia in Sri Lanka including professional colleges and state Universities now.

AMP-UCFM was established in 2016 to enhance the quality and strength of the academic staff of the faculty. The strength and quality of university staff academics were identified as a key assessment criteria by the University Grant Commission (UGC) Standing Committee on Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Sri Lankan Universities. Considering this criteria and with the goal of advancing the strength and quality of university staff, faculty of medicine, university of Colombo initiated its first ever senate approved official academic mentoring program (AMP-UCFM) in September 2016.

During the first phase of the program the program infra- structure and program guidelines were developed, a working group and advisory panel were identified and a pilot program was conducted for the newly recruited academic staff of the Faculty of Medicine. New academics are recruited to the continued program annually.

Phase 2 focused on developing a culture of academic mentoring within the University of Colombo. Mentor training sessions were offered to academic staff of all faculties/institutes /campuses of the University of Colombo. A series of training sessions was conducted with the support from established overseas university programs on mentoring. These sessions aimed at developing the mentoring skills and capacity of academic staff to serve as mentors. Many of the faculties/campuses/institutes who participated in the program have gone on to establish their programs in their individual institutes.

AMP-UCFM also developed many international collaborations or received support from many international institutions including the Academy of Medical Sciences, University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol and University of Oxford in the UK, University of California San Francisco, USA and Monash University in Malaysia.

Focusing on wider academia, AMP has also offered many national events. The AMP is now moving into the third phase of the program. During this phase the AMP hopes to continue to provide support to the University of Colombo, other state universities and professional colleges in Sri Lanka. A University Network in mentoring, a university pool of mentors, and the professional colleges network are already in place. We invite interested members to join the interuniversity interest group in academic mentoring this year.

Who can join as mentees?

Probationary academic staff members of Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo (UCFM). Program is also open to any other interested academic staff member of UCFM.

Who would be the mentors?

All interested and volunteering academic staff members of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and at senior lecturer grade 1 and above can serve as a mentors.

How long should a mentorship last?

It is essential that all the probationary lecturers follow the mentorship program for a minimum period of 3 years. Program is considered complete upon completion of the essential 3 years/confirmation of the mentee or they can continue as mentees as long as they wish to do so. All other academic staff member can join whenever they wish to do so.

 What to be done during the first mentoring session?

  1. The mentor may try and identify
    1. the characteristics of the mentee
    2. interests and needs/aims of the mentee
    3. problems and strengths of the menteeinterests and needs/aims of the mentee,
    4. mode of communication during mentoring sessions (face to face, skype, email, phone- face to face meetings are encouraged,
    5. Frequency of meetings – 4-5 per year.
  2. and draw up a basic plan for the mentee’s progression.