Peer Connections Program

The Peer Connections program pairs new School of Science staff with mentors who will help them navigate job responsibilities, MIT policies and procedures, and Institute organization and culture. The program provides opportunities for both mentors and new employees to expand their skill sets, increase their confidence, and make connections with School of Science community members outside of their home department, lab, or center. If you would like to find or become a mentor, please contact Heather Williams, Assistant Dean, School of Science.  

Program Structure

  • Peer connections last for three consecutive semesters, but can be renewed at the end of the term if both participants agree.
  • After an introductory in-person meeting, advising will be conducted in person or electronically as needed by the advisee. The School provides a small allocation of funds for lunches.
  • Advisees will be supported by SOS and MIT web resources.
  • Peer connections are set up and overseen by the program coordinator at the School of Science Dean's Office.  

Peer Advisor

  • Arranges the introductory meeting.
  • Ensures confidentiality of the relationship
  • Answers advisee questions in a timely fashion
  • Helps advisee locate and answer questions about job responsibilities and MIT policies and procedures.
  • Helps advisee learn to navigate the Institutes geographically, organizationally, or culturally.
  • Is not responsible for training the advisee or replacing his or her supervisor.
  • Directs advisee to appropriate resources for counseling or professional development issues.
  • Does not intervene or take action on behalf of the advisee, or act as his or her "counselor."
  • Alerts the program coordinator when questions can't be answered or problems resolved.
  • Alerts the program coordinator when the advising relationship needs to be dissolved because of mismatched personalities or schedules, or because of a promotion, transfer, or the acquisition of significant new duties.

Peer Advisee:

  • Emails or calls advisor to ask questions about job responsibilities, MIT policies and procedures, or Institute organization and culture.
  • Actively researches training materials, MIT and SOS website, and manuals before contacting advisor.
  • Will not contact the advisor too frequently or interfere with the advisor's ability to carry out his or her own responsibilities.
  • Prioritizes a supervisor's input over the advisor's.
  • Takes counseling or professional development issues to the appropriate resources (HR, ombuds office, etc.), though it is appropriate to ask an advisor where to take such an issue.
  • Alerts the program coordinator when the advising relationship needs to be dissolved because of mismatched personalities or schedules.  A new advisor may be assigned.

Program Coordinator:

  • Checks in by email with advisees to monitor progress.
  • Coordinates introductions of advisors to advisees.
  • Helps advisors answer questions when they are stuck.
  • Helps recruit advisors.
  • Identifies and dissolves matches that aren't working.
  • Sends a notice 2-3 weeks before the end of a term that includes an inquiry about continuation.


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