Mid-Career Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Mentoring Program

The Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP)’s Mid-Career P2P program aims to help mid-career economists find community, support, and mentoring. Participants will form small groups of economists at a similar career stage or with similar concerns. CSWEP will provide a suggested “curriculum” and supplemental materials, covering topics like goal setting, time management, planning for promotion, and managing service.

Program Details:

  • The suggested curriculum consists of five modules, with several alternative modules that can be substituted to meet the group's needs. It has associate professors or equivalent non-academic or non-tenure-track positions in mind. However, it is easily adaptable for full professors, administrators, managers, and others. The suggested curriculum is below, and registrants will receive a link to a folder with resources in late August.
  • CSWEP encourages participants to form a group of 4-6 people with similar interests (e.g., career stage, institution type, concerns). However, if you want to participate and do not have a group, we will try to find you a good match.
  • We anticipate that groups will meet (typically virtually) at least five times in a six-month period, for 60-90 minutes each time. Once launched in late August, groups will self-direct, with support as needed from CSWEP.

Groups have already been formed; however, if you have questions about the program, please contact Kasey Buckles at kbuckles@nd.edu

Suggested Curriculum

Session 1: Introduction and group organization

  • Group members introduce themselves and share why they joined the group and what they hope to get from the program.
  • Agree on any ground rules the group wants to establish (e.g., confidentiality, respect, participation).
  • Review the proposed curriculum. Do any assignments/sessions need to be modified to meet the needs of the group? Do you want to add any optional sessions or make a substitution?
  • Discuss assignment for next time: Identify and review documents that describe promotion standards or job expectations (e.g., university/department handbooks, job descriptions).

Session 2: Planning for promotion (or career success more generally)

  • Each member should talk about their experience of reviewing the documents. Some questions to consider:
    • Were you able to find them? If not, why do you think that is? Is there someone to ask, or do they not exist? If these documents do not exist, are there other ways (possibly informal) to convey expectations?
    • Does the document align with your prior understanding of what the expectations are? Were there any surprises?
    • Is anything unclear?
    • What materials will be required, and what are the steps in the process?
    • Where are the most significant gaps between the standards for promotion and your current body of work?
  • Members might share their experiences or understanding of the process, but remember that institutions vary a lot, and each case is unique.
  • Accordingly, a suggested assignment for next time is to meet with a supervisor (chair, dean, boss) or senior mentor to discuss anything unclear about the process and possibly discuss the timeline for promotion.
  • Members should also review the productivity/time management resources for Session 3.

Session 3: Productivity and Time Management

  • Discuss: What are your biggest obstacles in this arena?
  • Members should share strategies that work for them.
  • CSWEP will provide several resources on productivity/time management techniques, including the Pomodoro method, lists of books or productivity apps, and resources from the AEA and CSWEP websites.
    • Did any of these work for you?
  • Members will identify (individually or as a group) a new strategy to commit to trying for the next month.
    • One recommended option is to schedule a shared Pomodoro writing session for the group before the next meeting.
  • In addition to committing to the above, the assignments for next time are 1) to create an inventory of your current service commitments using the provided template and the approximate amount of time each takes per week and 2) to read the document on intentional service. 

Session 4: Managing Service

  • Begin with a discussion of the idea of intentional service.
    • What types of service most align with your values?
    • Which service items complement your personal or professional goals (e.g., editorial/referee work, high-profile professional service, esteem markers)? 
  • Review your current list of service obligations. Which ones are intentional service? Which do you truly have to do? Are there any items that do not fall into one of these two categories that you could cut back on?
  • Are there ways to request additional resources to accommodate the work in areas where you have a significant service obligation? Are there ways to turn informal service into formal service?
  • Each member will begin working on a service plan (see provided template) that identifies the service they want/need to do over the next three years.
  • In addition to finishing the service plan, members will produce an aspirational CV reflecting what they would like to have accomplished by their next promotion. The aspirational CV should consider the work done to identify the standards in session 2. 

Session 5: Making a Plan

  • Discuss the aspirational CV activity. Suggested topics:
    • Does your aspirational CV feel attainable?
    • How did creating it make you feel?
    • Is there anything about which you would like feedback from the group? 
  • Take 10-15 minutes to fill out the promotion plan worksheet. This activity should incorporate work from the aspirational CV and service plan.
  • What accountability practices can you implement–individually or as a group–to achieve your goals?

Optional/Substitute Session Topics

  • Invite a senior mentor or role model to join your group for one week.
  • Discernment–thinking intentionally about how you want to spend the next phase of your career.
  • Creating an impact with your work–policy, media, and/or self-promotion.
  • Managing caregiving responsibilities.
  • Book Club–discuss a book the group chooses in one of your first meetings. Some suggestions:
    • The No Club
    • How to Write a Lot
    • Burnout
    • What Got You Here Won't Get You There
    • Academic Leadership
    • Ask For It
    • Machiavelli for Women
    • The Engaged Scholar