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Councilors' Challenge

The Councilors’ Challenge is an annual event that engages the expertise and creativity of APS Subject Matter and General Policy Committees​ to work collaboratively to develop ideas and products to meet needs of APS members and the profession of plant pathology. 

FY22 Councilors' Challenge: Developing a Mentorship Toolkit​ for Professionals in Phytopathology​​

Background and Goal

Mentoring is critical to the professional and personal success of individuals in the public and private sectors. Mentoring can have a positive impact on mentees, mentors, and our entire organization. Mentees experience opportunities for growth and learning, improved access to resources, and increased confidence in their work. Mentors experience personal satisfaction in knowing that they have given back to our organization in a way that adds value to the scientist and society. Mentoring also improves productivity, socialization, and member retention.​

The goal of the Councilors’ Challenge is to promote awareness of the importance of intentional mentoring, develop resources for structured mentoring, and increase mentoring activities of plant pathology professionals and students across the society. For this, a mentorship toolkit will be built, which will enable a future robust mentorship program across APS.   


​APS Committees will develop content for a mentorship toolkit that will facilitate successful mentor/mentee relationships within plant pathology or provide subject-specific content for addressing common career challenges within the discipline. Committees are encouraged to submit one or more toolkits assets. Entries will be evaluated and ranked by Council for:

  • number and quality of submissions
  • appropriateness to meet the articulated mentoring need(s)
  • potential for broad ​impact

Committees with the highest ranked submissions will be awarded an award honorarium and the virtual Councilors' Challenge Cup. Winning submissions will be developed in full then made available to the Leadership Institute and to APS members. 

Examples could include:   

  • What do a mentor and mentee do?
  • What defines a successful mentorship?
  • Navigating the challenges unique to mid-career professionals
  • Interview skills for jobs in the public and private sector 
  • How to negotiate for compensation and resources in a new position
  • Strategies for launching a successful new research program 
  • Effective student advising/mentoring 
  • Communicating and managing upward
  • Establishing workplace cultures that exemplify excellence, respect, and service 
  • Servant leadership
  • Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
  • Public communication in science outreach and education
  • How to communicate effectively and respectfully with growers and other stakeholders 
  • Maintaining a work-life balance
  • Engaging in APS leadership and other society functions
  • Recruiting and enabling under-represented minorities

Be sure to first review content that is already available through​ the Professional Development Center.

Submission Deadline

Submissions closed on October 13, 2021. Recipients of the  FY22 ​Councilors' Challenge will be announced later this fall. 


Please contact Councilor-at-Large Courtney Gallup.​