IARPC Collaborations Mentorship Program

IARPC Collaborations brings together individuals from a variety of disciplines, knowledge systems, career paths, and career stages around the shared goal of improving collaboration in Arctic science and research. The IARPC Collaborations Mentorship Program draws on this community to provide mentoring opportunities from a variety of career stages and paths within the Arctic research community. It brings together small groups of researchers and other professionals to discuss career opportunities and issues, learn from and support one another, and grow together.

We are currently piloting the first six-month session of the IARPC Collaborations Mentorship Program. The program will consist of a series of small mentoring circles (4-5 people per circle) that include individuals from a spread of career stages and types of career. Depending on the number of people interested in the program, circles may be organized by general field, or may include a variety of fields and themes. 

Sign-ups for the mentorship program are now closed. Please check back in fall 2021 for information about the next session.

How the Program Works

Who Is Eligible?

Anyone working in the Arctic research space can join the IARPC Collaborations Mentorship Program. You do not have to be a scientist or to be actively researching/publishing. This program is not exclusively for early-career individuals—we encourage people from all career stages to sign up.

How Do I Sign Up?

Sign-ups for the mentorship program are now closed. Please check back in fall 2021 for information about the next session.

How Will I Get Placed in a Circle?

Once the application period closes, the IARPC Collaborations Web Manager & Community Coordinator will review the application with the support of members of the Mentorship Working Group1 and place people in groups of 4-5.

Depending on the number of people interested in the program, circles may be organized by general field (e.g., oceanography, social sciences, etc.), or may include a variety of fields and themes.

Once circles are created, the Web Manager & Community Coordinator will help circles schedule their first meeting. After the first meeting, the circle will be responsible for setting a monthly meeting time.

Why Mentorship Circles?

Having mentoring circles rather than one-on-one pairings will help people work with mentors from a variety of disciplines and career stages, and will also help break down some of the hierarchies inherent in mentoring: for example, mid-career individuals can mentor one another, and early-career and established individuals can also learn from one another.

How Do Mentorship Circles Work?

Mentoring circles will meet monthly over the course of six months. Their structure and discussion style will follow the Circle Way, which supports non-hierarchical discussions.

For each discussion meeting, circles will be given a series of questions/prompts, sometimes paired with an article or other reading. Circles can also develop their own lines of inquiry based around their groups’ interest.

As the program develops, we will also be partnering with Migration in Harmony to host workshop webinars on career skills; monthly meetings may be used to debrief/discuss these workshops.

Code of Conduct

The IARPC Secretariat and IARPC Collaborations community is committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is particularly committed to supporting the inclusion of historically minoritized groups in Arctic science. IARPC Collaborations strives to create an inclusive, constructive space for sharing information about research, science, and knowledge co-production in the Arctic.  

The IARPC Collaborations Mentorship Program follows the IARPC Collaborations code of conduct. Mentorship Program participants are expected to be inclusive, professional, and respectful at all times.

IARPC is working on a process for reporting, enforcement, consequences, and response. We haven’t finished that work yet, but it is also important that all IARPC Collaborations members feel safe and supported. All should be empowered to find an ally that they trust so that nobody is left to deal with issues alone. We hope that you feel free to reach out to IARPC leadership with any comments or concerns.

If you believe you’re experiencing unacceptable behavior that is counter to this code of conduct, please contact Liz Weinberg, Community Coordinator, at liz@iarpccollaborations.org or Larry Hinzman, Executive Director of IARPC, at larry.d.hinzman@ostp.eop.gov. If you feel uncomfortable reaching out to either of these people, you may appoint an ally to reach out on your behalf. The team leads of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (Tracie Curry, tracie@northernser.com; Sarah Aarons, smaarons@ucsd.edu; Allen Pope, allen.pope@post.harvard.edu; Colleen Strawhacker, colstraw@nsf.gov; Olivia Lee, oalee@alaska.edu) are available to serve as allies, or you may appoint a different person. 

Discussion Format: The Circle Way

Mentorship circles will be guided by an adapted form of The Circle Way, a discussion format that prioritizes thoughtful speaking and listening, and supports nonhierarchical interactions. We encourage all participants to read the basic guidelines for calling a circle. While this format is designed for in-person interactions, IARPC recommends the following adaptations:

  1. Roles: These should rotate among group members from meeting to meeting:
    1. Moderator: This person guides the meeting, including setting the intention, starting the meeting, and prompting discussion when needed.
    2. Guardian: This person safeguards the group and calls a pause if a breach of the group norms occurs or for any other reason a moment to take a breath would be helpful.
    3. Scribe: Groups are not expected to take comprehensive notes, but the scribe notes any items for follow-up or resources that are mentioned during discussion. The scribe may also note down who will fill which role in the next meeting.
  2. Setting intention: Begin the meeting with an overview of the goals of the meeting. What do we want to get out of this meeting? What questions are we considering?
  3. Welcome: It may be helpful to start the meeting with some kind of gesture (a moment of silence, a deep breath, etc.) to shift group members from work/social space into the mentorship circle space.
  4. Check-in: This step usually starts with a volunteer and proceeds around the group, giving each member a chance to share how they are doing that day, week, or month. This is one of the most important steps, as it supports interpersonal connection and helps group members show up authentically.
  5. Three principles:
    1. Leadership rotates among all circle members.
    2. Responsibility is shared for the quality of the discussion and the wellness of the member.
    3. Emphasis is on what everyone is getting out of the mentorship circle, rather than on any personal agenda.
  6. Three practices:
    1. Speak with intention, focusing on relevance to the conversation at the moment.
    2. Listen with attention—close out of email and other distractions.
    3. Tend to the well-being of the circle, paying attention to the impact of your contributions.
  7. Check-out: At the close of a mentorship circle meeting, allow a few minutes for each person to comment on what they learned or what will stay with them as they leave. This helps signal an end to the conversation and to tie up any loose ends.

Who to Contact If You Need Help

For questions about the mentorship program, contact Liz Weinberg, IARPC Web Manager & Community Coordinator, at liz@iarpccollaborations.org.

1Kelsey Aho, Lavanya Ashokkumar, Angela Bliss, Kaja Brix, Roberto Delgado, Lance DiAngelis, Victoria Herrmann, Church Kee, Mariel Kieval, Olivia Lee, Allen Pope, John Read, Lisa Rom, Sandy Starkweather, Colleen Strawhacker, Alex Taitt, Liz Weinberg

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Membership suggestions are subject to approval and adherence to the IARPC Collaborations codes of conduct.


Liz Weinberg
Web Manager & Community Coordinator
(503) 893-8910