Mentorship represents a spectrum of expectations and responsibilities and is defined as a dynamic and collaborative learning relationship from which both mentor and mentee can prosper personally and professionally. The mission of the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology is to establish a culture of effective and inclusive mentoring by exposing faculty to evidence-based training, enabling them to be more intentional mentors. Training will promote mastery in skills needed to establish effective mentoring relationships to ensure successful research training outcomes. An optimal collaborative relationship will promote productivity, self-efficacy, work-life integration, and overall career satisfaction for trainees.  Adapted from: IMAT Education Mentor Training Program Mission Statement

The guiding principle is for CDB faculty to engage in mentor training that is current and comprehensive. Evidence shows that the impact of mentor training depends on the mode of delivery. High-Value trainings include workshop and discussion-based sessions, whereas Allied trainings are delivered in lecture and on-line only modes.

Most CDB faculty have had significant mentor training, and those who have met the mentorship training standards defined here will be marked by a Trained Mentor Icon on the CDB website. A Trained Mentor Icon is earned by successfully completing both High-Value and Allied trainings over the most recent three-year period.


High-Value Training can be satisfied by completing:

One national mentorship workshop


National Research Mentoring Network

HHMI Gilliam


Raising a Resilient Scientist (RRS) Series

Or two Penn-based mentorship workshops

Center for Teaching & Learning

IDEAL Office

MSTP Program

BGS Programs

The latter programs cover topics such as: Effective Communication & Aligning Expectations; Culturally Aware Mentoring; Work-Life Integration; Building Research Self-Efficacy & Achieving Independence; Professional Development of Mentees; Mitigating Unconscious Bias, etc.


Allied Training can be satisfied by participating in one of the following:

Faculty Bias Training (Canvas)


Penn Faculty Pathways (faculty on-boarding)

CDB Workshops (Microaggression, Bystander Intervention, Imposter Syndrome)

CDB Book Club Discussion


To support alignment of expectations and the career and professional development of trainees, CDB faculty are encouraged to adopt a Mentorship Compact and complete an annual Individual Development Plan with all trainees.

Mentorship Compact templates

PhD Students

Combined Degree Students

Postdoctoral Fellows

Individual Development Plan templates

First Year PhD Students

Second year PhD Students

Thesis Phase PhD Students

Third Year Combined Degree Students

Thesis Phase Combined Degree Students

Postdoctoral Fellows