Practicalities for the USI community

Academic Mentoring and Shadowing

In 2001, the Equal Opportunities Service launched a new program for women doctoral students and post-doc researchers called Academic Mentoring.

Adopted by all Swiss universities, academic mentoring represents a strategic contribution towards the career development of women scholars determined to engage in academic teaching and research. Academic Mentoring acts as a vehicle in providing guidance and advice to women academics, and it completes the guidance normally provided by Faculty tutors or supervisors.

In particular, USI's Academic Mentoring program ("Women's academic careers") enables to:

  • be teamed up with a mentor, a “resource person” - professor, lecturer, researcher of any gender who is an acknowledged expert in the chosen field of research;
  • apply for shadowing of an expert in another academic institution, allowing the applicant to take a temporary leave of absence from USI, i.e. temporary relief from her normal work load at USI;
  • take part in free training workshops and events organised by the Service on behalf of junior academics on issues related to equal opportunities.

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  • Mentoring

    Mentoring is a program designed for all junior female academics (doctoral student/assistants, post-doc researchers, etc.) at USI who wish to be better informed and guided in their academic career choices and planning, or who would like to improve and refine their knowledge or widen their network in their field of research.


    To be associated with a mentor

    A mentor is a person who is willing to encourage, train, and counsel one or more young female academics as they set off on their career path, by offering his/her experience as an example. The guidance of a mentor completes the benefits of guidance offered by one's own Faculty. Mentoring is tailor-made form of counselling, where the role of a mentor is to help define career paths more clearly and achieve objectives.

    The program is intended for:

    • research/teaching assistants and Ph.D students wishing to pursue an academic career;
    • post-doc researchers seeking sound advice in building up a first-rate academic record.

    If you wish to join the program, please fill out the relevant form and return it to the Equal Opportunities Service.

    Then, the mentee will be called in for an interview, and invited to define her objectives and draw up a profile of her ideal mentor. The mentor may be a person already known to the aspiring mentee; otherwise, the Equal Opportunities Service can identify someone on behalf of the mentee, taking into account the elements and requirements indicated by the latter.

    When the matching process has been completed, both mentee and mentor sign an agreement. The agreement sets out the objectives to be reached, defines the boundaries of the collaboration, a schedule, and the conduct of the meetings. Both parties are expected to act in line with the terms of the agreement, and to contact the Coordinator in the event of any changes or particular issues

  • Shadowing

    Women PhD students and post-doc researchers who are enrolled in the Academic Mentoring program "Women's Academic Careers" have the opportunity to engage in a period of “Shadowing”, and thus to spend one month in another university to collaborate with an expert (of any gender) in one’s own field of research or with a research group of special interest.

    During this period, mentees are exempted from activities carried out at USI, subject to prior agreement with their reference institute/Faculty or thesis supervisor, and their salary shall be covered by the Equal Opportunities Service.

    To engage in a period of shadowing, interested applicants are required to follow the procedure indicated in the relevant annual call.

    The call for applications opens on Friday 18 December 2020 and closes on Monday 25 January 2021.




Updated on: 17/11/2020