Post-Graduate Mentoring Program

In 2009, the UTM Biology Faculty-led Post-Graduate Mentoring Program began with a weekend retreat to Joker's Hill. The retreat combined four workshops, a preparation meeting for the upcoming 'Pizza with a Guest' program component, scheduled lunch meetings of students with faculty and postdoc facilitators, a Nature Walk with Art Weis, Director of the Joker's Hill Research Station, and of course a dinner party. Joker's Hill provided an ideal environment for the event, fostering intensive group interaction.

The weekend was a great success in two important ways: first, in creating a community among graduate students, postdocs and faculty which hopefully will in the future reach beyond the people who were present at the retreat, and second, in providing truly relevant information and advice for the participants that will hopefully empower them to get on track with their research and take initiative to prepare for their future career within or outside of academia. The general opinion was that the weekend retreat, at least every 2 years.

How will the program continue?

  • The Workshop handouts and links to other relevant documents are available from the Graduate Mentoring page in the Blackboard UTM Biology Community. If you do not have access to this page, please contact Diane Matias at with your UTORid.
  • We will soon start with the "Pizza with a Guest" program. A group of graduate students and postdocs will meet with a faculty member of their choice for an informal chat about their life and career as a scientist.
  • Over the course of this academic year and the next (2010 - 2012), we will organize a series of professional skills workshops on campus. We welcome suggestions for workshop topics (from faculty, students and postdocs) and are looking for volunteers for developing or contributing to workshops.
  • We are looking for volunteers to organize a Graduate Research Day (and social event).
  • We will take steps to coordinate efforts with the downtown and UTSC departments.
  • We intend to present an update on the program including results from the assessment evaluation of the weekend retreat at the Biology General Meeting in December.

How can you get involved in the program?


  • When advising your graduate students, consider working with the 'Graduate Timeline' (developed by Linda Kohn) from the 'Getting on Track' workshop handout.
  • Volunteer to help organize further professional skills workshops or the Graduate Research Day.
  • Ask students and postdocs from other labs about their research.
  • Be willing to participate in a "Pizza with a Guest" event if approached by the grad students.
  • Actively support journal clubs, lab meeting presentations and the seminar series.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows:

  • Look up the workshop handouts and related links on Blackboard, UTM Biology Community, Graduate Mentoring.
  • Participate in planning the "Pizza with a Guest" series.
  • Discuss with others potential topics for additional professional skills workshops and submit suggestions (by email to
  • Ask students, postdocs and faculty from other labs about their research and their experiences, share your own research and experiences.
  • Organize or participate in journal clubs, lab meeting presentations and the seminar series.

For more information on this program, please contact Helene Wagner.