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Postdoc Mentoring Certificate

In category: Teaching and Mentoring Programs


The Postdoc Mentoring Certificate provides a framework on which to develop your mentoring skills, practice new techniques, and reflect on your experience.

The 2-part certificate provides flexibility, encouraging the development of fundamental skills in Tier 1, and then applying those skills in Tier 2. The combination of workshops, small group discussion, and practice is supported by postdoc coaches and regular drop-in lunch sessions to address real-life challenges and celebrate success. 

Tier 1: Learn focuses on fundamental skills in mentoring. An interactive workshop along with several Mentoring Monday sessions provides the context for a capstone reflection that underlies future development as a mentor.

Tier 2: Practice applies skills and reflection to a mentoring relationship. Mentoring Mondays, self-assessment, and guided development of expectations and philosophy support a capstone portfolio.

Tier 1 must be completed before beginning Tier 2.

Requirement Overview

  Tier 1: Learn Tier 2: Practice

Mentoring Fundamentals

Mentoring Mondays (4 sessions minimum)

Completion of Tier 1

Mentoring Mondays (4 sessions minimum)



Complete a self-assessment to benchmark your mentoring confidence. Use the same assessment after completing the training to measure your growth.


Integrate what you learn into your mentoring practice.

Mentoring Experience

Apply new knowledge as a mentor for a minimum of a quarter. Begin by developing a mentoring compact with them.


Complete a self-assessment both before and after the mentoring period. Mentees may also submit an optional confidential assessment.


Complete weekly reflections to support mentoring engagement.

Attend a 1:1 peer mentor coaching session.


Reflections on Mentoring

Reflect on new mentoring skills using guided questions.

Mentoring Portfolio

Create a portfolio consisting of assets developed during Tier 1 & 2 (mentor-mentee check-in outline, mentoring compact, and philosophy statement).


Tier 1: Learn

  1. Register for the mentoring certificate HERE.
  2. Log all activities marked *Log in the PMC reflection form.
    You’ll receive a link to the reflection form when you register.
  3. Complete the Tier 1 pre-assessment. 
    You’ll receive a link to the pre-assessment when you register.
  4. Take Mentoring Fundamentals, offered every 6 weeks.  *Log
  5. Attend 4 Mentoring Mondays*Log
  6. Complete the Tier 1 post-assessment, focusing on your learning through Tier 1.
    You’ll receive a link to the post-assessment when you have logged the minimum requirements.
  7. Complete and upload your Reflections on Mentoring.
    You’ll receive a link to Reflections on Mentoring when you submit your post-assessment.
  8. Celebrate your Tier 1: Learn certificate!

Tier 2: Practice

  1. Identify a mentee
  2. Log all activities marked *Log in the PMC reflection form.
    You’ll receive a link to the reflection form and instructions when you register for the certificate; this is the same link as Tier 1.
  3. Complete the Tier 2 pre-assessment. 
  4. Develop a mentoring compact with your mentee. Details are sent via email. 
  5. Develop your weekly mentor-mentee check-in outline to guide your mentee check-ins.
  6. Submit a weekly reflection during the mentoring period  *Log: minimum 6
  7. Participate in 4 sessions of training, including a minimum of 2 Mentoring Mondays.  *Log
  8. Complete the Tier 2 post-assessment.
  9. Participate in a Peer Mentor Coaching Session: Make sure to complete the Coaching Structured Feedback Form, Mentoring Compact, and weekly Check-ins before scheduling this.  *Log
  10. Create your Mentoring Philosophy capstone and upload all portfolio documents.
  11. Celebrate your Tier 2: Practice certificate!
  12. Continue attending Mentoring Mondays!


Past Events

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 - 13:00

Do I need to tell my faculty mentor I’m doing this?

We recommend discussing your plans with your faculty sponsor in the context of your Individual Development Plan. The Tier 2 mentoring experience in particular can benefit from discussion with experienced mentors.

How do I sign up?

Click here to register for the postdoc mentoring certificate.

How long will it take to earn Tier 1?

Tier 1 can be completed as quickly as within 2-3 months, though postdocs may take as long as they need.

How long will it take to earn Tier 2

Tier 2 can be completed within 6 months, though postdocs may take as long as they need.

What activities do I have to log?

In Tier 1, complete:
(1) pre-assessment
(2) post-assessment
(3) each workshop you attend (Mentoring Fundamentals and 4 Mentoring Mondays)

In Tier 2, complete:
(1) pre-assessment
(2) post-assessment
(3) weekly check-in reflections during the mentoring experience (6 minimum)
(4) each workshop you attend (4 Mentoring Mondays and/or elective workshops)
(5) mentoring compact
(6) mentoring portfolio (including philosophy statement)

How do I track my progress?

We encourage you to click the checkbox to designate the database to email yourself a copy of your form responses, as this will be helpful as you create your capstone.

Is there a checklist to assist me in tracking my progress?

Yes, use this checklist (requires being logged into Google with your Stanford address; this URL will make a copy of the checklist in your own drive).

What is the purpose of the self-assessments?

The purpose of the pre-assessment is to benchmark your mentoring confidence prior to engaging in the mentoring curriculum. The post-assessment will measure your growth over time.

How will my responses to the self-assessments be used in the future?

The data from self-assessment will be anonymized and aggregated for OPA program evaluation and potential publication.

What is Mentoring Fundamentals?

This interactive workshop, facilitated by OPA staff, addresses crucial topics in mentoring. Offered approximately every 6 weeks. The workshop has limited enrollment and requires attendance for the full session. Visit this link for more information.

Can I do a different training for Mentoring Fundamentals?

There are no substitutions available for Mentoring Fundamentals in Tier 1: Learn. However, if you previously took an OPA-facilitated mentoring workshop, contact us at with details.

What are Mentoring Mondays?

These lunchtime sessions provide a deeper dive into mentoring topics among a community of postdocs with a shared interest in mentoring. Trained postdoc coaches lead these in-person sessions, and expand on mentoring principles through small-group activities, reviews of current literature, and didactic instruction. Visit this link for more information.

I took a mentoring class last year, can I use it to count towards the certificate instead of taking Mentoring Fundamentals?

Contact us at with more information, including a link to the class description.

I took Mentoring Fundamentals but could only stay for the 1st day, does it count?

No, if you are not able to stay for both days, please register for a different session. This is a popular, space-limited workshop that we offer several times a year.

Can other training count toward the certificate?

There are many excellent mentoring workshops and classes offered at Stanford and beyond. Up to 2 elective workshops, upon review by OPA staff, may take the place of 2 hours of Mentoring Mondays for the Tier 2 training requirement.

OPA will share opportunities hosted by campus partners or externally that would count toward Tier 2 via the Postdoc Mentoring Programs mailing list; subscribe at

In addition to OPA workshops, the following partners offer mentoring-related training open to postdocs:
  • Center for Teaching & Learning (mentoring-related CTL events, CIRTL training)
  • Vice Provost for Graduate Education (mentoring-related VPGE events)
  • Teaching & Mentoring Academy (mentoring-related Academy programs)
  • Campus schools, departments, and research groups

If you have questions about whether an activity would be applicable, email prior to registering for the workshop.

Can I teach a Mentoring Monday?
Thank you for your interest in facilitating a Mentoring Monday session. Mentoring Mondays are facilitated by postdoc Peer Mentoring Coaches. As a result, facilitation opportunities are not currently open to other postdocs. If you’re interested in applying to serve as a Peer Mentoring Coach, subscribe to the mailing list at We’ll share information widely and via this mailing list when the coach recruitment period opens.

I mentored someone last year, can that count for the experience to complete Tier 2?

No, Previous experience is valuable in reflecting on specific mentoring dimensions, but cannot be used for Tier 2, which includes pre- and post-assessments as well as paired activities.

I am part of a summer program and would like to attend Mentoring Fundamentals with my whole group, can you accommodate that?
Yes, we are eager to support group mentoring programs. Contact us at to discuss.

Will OPA find me a mentee for Tier 2?
We are happy to provide you with a partial list of programs seeking postdoc mentors. Applicable mentoring opportunities include but are not limited to:
  • Mentoring a student trainee in your research group
  • Mentoring in a formal program, such as:
      • Stanford Community College Mentoring Program & Science Small Groups
      • Stanford Summer Research Program (SSRP)
      • Stanford REACH Postbaccalaureate Program
      • BioRETs INSPIRE Program

We will share other mentoring opportunities open to postdocs via the postdoc mentoring mailing list; subscribe at

How does the Postdoc Mentoring Coach session work?

Review your assessments to identify mentoring skills that you’d like to further develop. Email to schedule your session, include the topic(s) or skill(s) you’re interested in discussing. Prior to your session, the postdoc mentoring coach will review your pre- and post-assessments. During the session, the coach will learn more about your recent mentoring engagement and discuss how to improve on the skill areas you identified.

You may also elect to take advantage of coaching from Postdoc Mentoring Coaches throughout your mentoring experience and beyond, if you have a question or issue you would like to work through.

Can my mentee provide feedback regarding my mentoring?

Yes, your mentee can submit an assessment, if interested. This assessment will be not be shared with the postdoc mentor. However, a postdoc mentoring coach can review the assessment to supplement your coaching session. OPA will provide postdoc mentors with guidance on how to approach this conversation with their mentee.

How can I become a Postdoc Mentoring Coach?

When the coach recruitment period opens, we will announce it via this postdoc mentoring mailing list; subscribe at

When can I begin the Reflections on Mentoring capstone for Tier 1: Learn?

Submit a Reflection Form after you finish each Training activity. You will receive an automated email with the link to the “Reflections on Mentoring” capstone after you have fulfilled the Tier 1: Learn Training and Integration components.

What are the questions that comprise the Reflections on Mentoring capstone?

  • What have you learned and how do you intend to use it?
  • What is a mentor? What does a mentor do? What does a mentor not do?
  • How have your newly developed skills and conversations impacted your view of mentoring?
  • What new ideas or approaches would you like to implement in your mentoring relationship?
  • How has your view of mentoring changed as you have considered new perspectives?
  • What else have you learned from your participation in Tier 1 mentoring?

You might consider drafting your responses prior to visiting the form, as you are not able to save your progress.

What are the components of the Mentoring Portfolio?

Mentoring portfolios include the following:
  • Mentoring compact*
  • Regular check-in form*
  • Mentoring philosophy statement

*Mentoring Portfolio annotations assist a hiring committee in assessing your portfolio items. Information to provide may include:
  • Mentee description: who are the students, what level?
  • Mentoring relationship context (within the research group, program, length, etc.)?
  • Specific (development) goals?
  • What did you learn? What would you change?

Are there any resources available for writing a mentoring philosophy statement?

We encourage you to refer to your Tier 1 capstone (Reflections in Mentoring) to assist you in developing your statement. In addition, the following websites are great resources for writing a mentoring philosophy statement: OHSU and University of Pittsburgh Department of Communication.