The Faculty Mentorship Roundtable program aims to connect junior SE faculty with more senior mentors, and with peers at similar stage of their career. It is intended to provide a low-pressure atmosphere to foster building one’s support group and mentorship.

Junior participants will have the opportunity to suggest the topics they struggle with, ranging from research directions to career tips to “soft skills” (e.g., managing priorities, a quality process for hiring students, mentoring students to grow into tomorrow’s leaders, etc). Mentors will get to meet junior faculty who may become rising stars and pass along their tips for success in software research and mentoring students. The expected outcomes are:

  • Increase the feelings of community and belonging among junior faculty through positive interactions with peers and more established faculty

  • Exchange peer-best-practices in developing students, along with lessons learned from trial-and-error

  • Establish new connections and collaborations between junior and more established faculty

  • Grow the roundtable discussion group into a support group that will be a growth and accountability resource long after FSE’18

  • Create a culture of support, growth, and welcoming in the software engineering research community.

This will be the second time a Mentorship Session has been held at ESEC/FSE (the first was in 2016). The main motivation is the desire of junior faculty to discuss career advice with members of the community that have had more time to experiment and learn, and openly discuss solutions on how to hire, train and develop the next generation of students to become tomorrow’s technical leaders. We will discuss proven methods to raise student leaders, for example the philosophy and legacy of David Notkin “Focus on the students, since graduating great students means you’ll produce great research, while focusing on the research may or may not produce great students.”

By identifying faculty who are willing and excited to share what they are learning, we aim to reduce the pressure on the young faculty and facilitate connections in a relaxed atmosphere.

The Faculty Mentorship Roundtable program will be held on each of the days of the main conference (Nov 6-8). We will have roundtable discussions during the lunch period to make it maximally easy for all participants to schedule.

Younger participants in the mentoring session will express which research areas they work in (and optionally which senior researchers they would like to meet) and what are the main struggles where they need advice. Based on these preferences, the organizers of the mentoring session will form the roundtable groups. We strive to offer at least one roundtable for women only, which will discuss gender-specific issues with female mentors.


Faculty will apply to the mentorship sessions using a brief application process. We ask for the following information:

  • Stage in career (pre- or post-tenure faculty, etc.),

  • What research area they work in,

  • Whether they had a faculty support group in the past and how this engaged them,

  • What are the main challenges they see they are not fully resourced to handle, and

  • (Optional) Who they would like to meet with as a mentor.

Selection Process

We have only 20 slots available for faculty in this program.

Mentors in the program are selected initially by the organizing committee, based on recommendations from other faculty that attended similar events. We will expand based on requests from participants. Junior researchers will be selected by the organizers based on a combination of factors, including experience, stage of career, and their needs and challenges, as indicated above. We aim to select a diverse group, based on a need for mentorship (e.g., a junior faculty at an institution with no other software engineering faculty).

Important Dates

Application deadline: Oct 1, 2018 EOD Anywhere on Earth. Apply here:

Notification: Oct 15, 2018

Previously, one could apply for travel support from the US National Science Foundation for the travel of US residents. This required a separate application.

Organizing committee:

Danny Dig (chair)

Sonia Haiduc

Julia Rubin

Others - TBA

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Tue 6 Nov
Times are displayed in time zone: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey change

12:00 - 13:30
Mentoring Lunch I
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables

Wed 7 Nov
Times are displayed in time zone: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey change

12:00 - 13:30: Mentoring Lunch IIFaculty Mentorship Roundtables at Lakeview Restaurant Table
12:00 - 13:30
Mentoring Lunch II
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables

Thu 8 Nov
Times are displayed in time zone: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey change

12:00 - 13:30: Mentoring Lunch IIIFaculty Mentorship Roundtables at Lakeview Restaurant Table
12:00 - 13:30
Mentoring Lunch III
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables

Accepted Papers

Mentoring Lunch I
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables
Mentoring Lunch II
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables
Mentoring Lunch III
Faculty Mentorship Roundtables

Dear Faculty,

What’s your plan for your personal and professional growth?

How do you get better at what you do?

Would you like to improve your relationships?

Would you like to hire great students?

Would you like to mentor and grow them into tomorrow’s tech leaders?

How do you prioritize the important over the urgent?

If you have been on a flight recently, the flight attendant announced before the plane took-off: “in the unlikely event of the cabin pressure dropping, first put on your oxygen mask before assisting other passengers.” You cannot give what you don’t have. You cannot help your students become the best versions of themselves if you don’t become the best version of yourself.

We need to first grow on the inside, on the personal, before we experience and sustain growth on the outside, on the professional. I used to believe that I will automatically grow through experience. But I am discovering that experience is not the best teacher, some of us just go through life, others grow through life. I am discovering that *evaluated *experience is the best teacher. Having the mindset to intentionally learn and grow from experience is what makes the difference.

I am surrounding myself with other like-minded faculty who are intentional and dedicated to grow ourselves. We have weekly roundtable discussions where we talk about how to become better people, better mentors for our students, better parents, better spouses (or significant others), better members of the society.

For example, in the last week of July’18, we discussed about character. While it was tempting to discuss about the character of our students, we discussed about how we grow our own character. The weekly challenge was to ask 3 people that know us well to tell us what are our gaps between who we say that we are, and who we really are. I asked my spouse and it was mind-opening to see the gap between the leader I thought I am for our children at home, and who I was in the last months. These last few months I got sidetracked into the new industry-university center that I am bootstrapping along with other faculty. I failed to be the caring father that my children needed at home.

While it was painful to hear this, pain causes growth. It was the accountability of my weekly roundtable group of faculty that gave me the courage to ask these difficult questions. We grow together with our like-minded peers, and this is contagious.

Iron sharpens iron. I invite you at FSE’18 to sit down with other like-minded faculty and share some of the peer-best-practices in a relaxed environment while you are enjoying a meal together. — looking forward to serving you, Danny Dig