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For Mentors

Für Mentoren

Thank you for your interest in AdvanceMent Freiburg. We are delighted that you want to get involved in the program for our doctoral candidates and postdocs. On this page you will find all relevant information for mentors. For more information about the programme and your role as a mentor, please also see our guidelines.

How do I become a mentor?

Since AdvanceMent Freiburg is open to all faculties and all career profiles, the program does not work with an existing mentor pool. However, if you are interested in becoming a mentor, you can contact us at any time.

The mentees of each programme round select potential mentors who could support and accompany them in planning their next career steps. During the matching phase, the programme management makes initial contact with these individuals and clarifies all questions about the programme and the mentoring partnership with them. If the requested persons show interest in becoming involved in the programme, an initial meeting takes place with the mentee. Here, the nature of the collaboration as well as possible topics and goals of the one-to-one mentoring are discussed. If mutual expectations and interpersonal chemistry are in agreement, the mentee and mentor sign a mentoring agreement to establish the binding framework conditions for the mentoring.

Am I suitable for this task?

You as a mentor

  • are interested in strengthening the competences of a mentee and in contributing to his*her development.
  • have a strong network and extensive contacts and can imagine using these for the mentee.
  • know the informal structures and rules of your institution and are willing to share your knowledge.
  • are interested in an honest exchange at eye level, which also allows us to openly address mistakes and weaknesses.
  • are open to learn yourself from your mentee and to recognise this as an enriching aspect of the mentoring partnership.
  • are willing to invest time in the mentoring partnership and to enter into a binding cooperation over a defined period of time.

For the discussions with the mentee, it is helpful to put yourself back into the situation of your career entry and to remember which questions moved you at that time. Answering the following questions can help you prepare personally:

  • What is your own motivation for participating in the mentoring program?
  • Who were supporters along the way? And how did you find them?
  • What personal and professional challenges have you overcome?
  • What were your success factors in the process?
  • How did you experience your own time in college?
  • How much time can you spend with your mentee?
  • What expectations and wishes do you have for your mentee?
  • What events could your mentee accompany you to in order to facilitate access to networks?

Who are the mentees?

The programme is aimed at early postdocs and advanced doctoral candidates from all faculties of the University of Freiburg. The mentees participate in the mentoring programme in order to be accompanied and supported in a structured way in the planning and implementation of the next career step in science or in business and society. Mentoring takes place outside of dependent relationships, involves no authority to issue directives, and is a voluntary exchange between two people with different levels of experience. The goal is to exchange ideas on an equal footing.

How long does the mentoring last and how much time am I expected to invest?

AdvanceMent has a duration of approximately 12 months per mentoring round. The program begins with an introductory workshop for mentees for the program lines @newpathways and @academia and a ceremonial kick-off event, and ends with the awarding of certificates. The matching phase can vary in length, resulting in mentoring relationships of different durations. The mentoring relationship begins after matching and is limited to the duration of the program.

As a mentor at AdvanceMent Freiburg, you will accompany your mentee in one-to-one mentoring over a period of around 10-12 months. During this time, regular meetings take place (recommended interval every 8-10 weeks). The arrangement and length of the meetings is up to the mentoring partners. However, a total of at least four meetings should take place over the course of the program in order to provide constructive support to the mentee.

At the end of the programme, the mentoring relationship is dissolved. In individual cases and on agreement in the partnership, the relationship can also be continued informally beyond the programme period. In this case, however, it is also advisable to clarify the new roles and determine an end to the mentoring relationship.

What can I expect as a mentor?

As a mentor at AdvanceMent Freiburg, you will support the next generation of doctoral candidates and postdocs at the University of Freiburg: you will help them develop their individual career strategies in personal interviews, give them feedback, and introduce them to the structures and rules of the game within your field of work.

While the mentees go through a fixed workshop and support programme, you as a mentor are mainly involved in one-to-one mentoring. We have compiled guidelines and a collection of materials to help you prepare and structure the mentoring discussions. At the same time, the mentees are called upon to be active themselves: They prepare the mentoring talks, set topics on which they would like to receive suggestions or feedback, and go about implementing the defined tasks and goals after the talks.

The program management is always available to answer your questions and concerns.

As a mentor, you will receive a mentoring certificate at the end of the programme in recognition of your outstanding commitment.

What qualifications do I need to become a mentor?

In general, you should be willing to share your knowledge of structures, strategies and informal rules of the game in your field of work, and to advise and support the mentees. The mentors allow the mentees to share their own successes and failures as well as their knowledge of how to act. An important prerequisite for this is an enjoyment of and interest in exchanging ideas with the next generation.

You should have the following qualifications to be a mentor:

  • You have completed a scientific university degree and, if applicable, a doctorate
  • You hold a chair or are a group leader at a university (@academia)
  • You have several years of professional experience as a specialist or manager
  • You would like to pass on your experience with structures, strategies and rules of the game as informal knowledge
  • You have consulting skills, empathy and the ability for self-reflection
  • You enjoy exchanging ideas with the next generation


As a mentor, you can take on various roles in the mentoring process and support your mentee in a variety of ways, depending on the mutually agreed upon objectives: You can advise and impart knowledge, inform about career profiles, let your mentee participate in your everyday professional life in a practical way in the form of shadowing or internships, accompany your mentee to networking events or conferences, give feedback, and act as a role model. What exactly you can and want to offer, you decide individually and based on the mutual goals of the mentoring partnership. It is important that you perform your function for a limited period of time and that your mentee does not form dependent relationship with you. Openness, confidentiality, empathy and forward-looking advice are the cornerstones of the mentoring relationship to ensure optimal support for the mentee's development.

What is the benefit for mentors?

As a mentor with AdvanceMent Freiburg, you contribute your valuable time and experience to the mentees. Your commitment to AdvanceMent also offers you personal advantages and opportunities:

  • direct contact with the next generation of skilled professionals
  • enjoyment of sharing experiences and valuable insider knowledge
  • opportunity to reflect on your own path
  • appreciation and visibility as a person who promotes young researchers and professionals
  • enhancement of consulting and leadership skills
  • exchange and networking with other mentors
  • opportunity to engage with the academic system or corporate or industry culture from the perspective of the next generation


What happens if there are issues?

If you notice a problem in your mentoring relationship, address it with your mentee. Explain what you are dissatisfied with and give your mentee an indication of what you would like to see instead. If the problem cannot be solved within the mentoring partnership, the programme management of AdvanceMent Freiburg is available to advise you at any time.

Contact: Dr. Rebecca Bitenc,