Six UC Davis faculty and staff members involved in the Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Mentoring Program smile at the camera camera

APRU, UC Davis and Universiti Malaya Launch Third Cohort of Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Mentoring Program

The University of California, Davis, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and Universiti Malaya launched the third cohort of the Asia Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Mentoring Program. The third cohort has 94 participants, consisting of 47 mentoring pairs that represent 24 APRU member institutions (out of 61 total member institutions). Of these 24 institutions, seven have participated in all three cohorts, 12 have participated in two cohorts and five are newcomers this year.

The APWiL Mentoring Program is a year-long commitment matching a mentor and mentee from one of the participating APRU member universities to provide mentoring and international and intercultural opportunities for the empowerment of aspiring women leaders. Empowerment remains an urgent task, given the persistent, complex cultural, social and economic barriers to women’s advancement in academic leadership.

The program is led by co-chairs Professor Yvonne Lim, associate vice-chancellor (Global Engagement) at Universiti Malaya, and Professor Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean of Global Affairs and a professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at UC Davis. Along with Global Affairs and Universiti Malaya, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis is a co-leader of the initiative. This program is supported by APWiL Mentoring Program Managers Kimberly Bellows, intercultural programs coordinator, and Chelsey Hawes, experiential and intercultural programs coordinator, both in Global Affairs at UC Davis.

"I’m truly excited about the APWiL Mentoring Program. Each year it has gotten larger and deeper. The program’s continued growth demonstrates the need for this kind of investment in women leaders across higher education," said Regulska.  

The third cohort kicked off with orientation during the first week of November, where mentors and mentees were given an in-depth look at the expectations and logistics of the program. At orientation, Professor Lim recalled how her time as a mentor in the pilot cohort led to a meaningful and special friendship between her and her mentee, illustrating that the program is a great opportunity for both mentors and mentees to learn to grow and connect and to work across differences of all types.

“What my mentee was sharing with me, made me reflect about the different stages in my own career when I was facing similar issues,” Lim said. “I think it helped me to be more empathetic to colleagues who are at different stages of their careers. And this helps me to be a better leader and communicator,” Lim added.

With the continued growth in participants, the APWiL Mentoring Program team has focused on strengthening the program's infrastructure. Each mentee was matched with a mentor through an individual matching process based on participant preferences and background. Using a mentoring agreement template, mentees identify goals and areas of interest where their mentor can support them. In addition, over the course of the year, mentors and mentees participate in program-wide workshops and seminars with an emphasis on networking.

“The start of the program is always an exciting time, and this year is no exception. We’re thrilled to partner with all of the new mentors and mentees as they begin to devote their time, energy and dedication to their one-on-one mentoring relationships as well as the institutions that are participating,” said Hawes.

“With five new institutions participating this year and 19 returning, we have participants across the Asia-Pacific and continue to bring more into the fold. We’ve also added ways for current participants and alumni of the program to connect through networking and a new Slack channel we’re piloting,” added Bellows. “In addition, before the kickoff of the third cohort, we invited UC Davis participants and alumni to an in-person meet and greet to connect and establish a strong foundation for the program.”

Of the over 90 participants in the third cohort, seven are from UC Davis:

  • Dr. Kim Barrett, Vice Dean for Research and Distinguished Professor, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine (mentor)
  • Dr. Poh Choo How, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine (mentee)
  • Dr. Cassandra Lee, Chief of Sports, Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine (mentor)
  • Professor Susette Min, Associate Professor, Asian American Studies, College of Letters and Science (mentor)
  • Dr. Katherine Ralston, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Biological Sciences (mentee)
  • Professor John Rundle, Distinguished Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Letters and Science (mentor)
  • Dr. Serena Yang, Division Chief, General Pediatrics; Vice Chair, Community Engagement, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine (mentor)

"It has been a pleasure to work with the APWiL program and to be affiliated with other universities in the U.S. and around the Pacific Rim. I am especially excited about being involved because this program provides women with opportunities to be in community with other scholars from a network of global universities, to be encouraged, and to be equipped with additional tips for success that will contribute to their ability to be change agents within their spaces." said Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull, vice chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis.

Mentors and mentees in the third cohort will be working together over the course of the next year, with the program culminating in October 2023. If you are interested in participating in the fourth cohort, please check back on the APWiL Mentoring Program webpage for the call for nominations in early 2023.

To stay up-to-date on the mentoring program and Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership, follow APRU on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn

About Global Affairs at UC Davis

Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships.

Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.

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