Keys to SUCCESS for Faculty Mentors & Graduate/Professional Students
The Need for Effective & Multiple Mentors
The work of the graduate faculty in preparing the next generation of scholars and professionals doesn’t stop with classroom teaching. Advising, tutoring, supporting and supervising are all part of the faculty role as stewards of the profession and mentors to graduate students. Mentoring future professionals and professors, therefore, requires a commitment that goes well beyond the capacity of a single individual advisor.
Best practices in graduate education indicate that graduate and professional students’ multiple professional and personal development needs are most effectively met by a network of people.
The Mentoring Network
The Council of Graduate Schools has identified six primary areas in which graduate and professional students need mentoring. Typically an advisor and other graduate faculty along with staff members will work with graduate and professional students in several of these areas to provide this network of support. As mentoring takes place, it is shaped by the goal-setting responsibilities of the graduate student at the center of the network.
The most common components of this mentoring network or constellation include:
TutoringProviding feedback on scholarly development; pointing out practices for seeking, prioritizing and using additional feedback.Ideas for action:Assist student by providing honest assessment of academic strengths and weaknesses, including planning for improvementModel writing as an integral and on-going part of the research processSet clear and fair expectations regarding the ownership and use of data and regarding authorship and joint authorship arrangements prior to beginning research projectsProvide fair and timely assessment and feedback on work productsAdvisingGiving counsel about degree program requirements; academic progress expectations; local dissertation standards, components, processes; and overall career planning considerations.Ideas for action:Assist in the selection of student’s schedule of coursesExplain accurately department/college academic policies and progressionAssist the student in the exploration of possible research areasFoster graduate student participation in the departmentAssist the student in planning academic conference participationSupportingOffering emotional support, practical resources related to academic, professional and personal concerns.Ideas for action:Guide the student to appropriate campus resources for personal, academic, career and community support and development as neededEncourage student’s increased independence as future presenters and teachers through on-campus professional development opportunitiesAssist students in generating an effective, respectful, practical problem-solving protocol for when interpersonal conflicts emerge within a cohortDirect student to career development resources for multiple career pathsSupervisingOffering training and feedback on employment related to teaching and research assistantships, internships, and project or program management.Ideas for action:Provide clear, realistic, achievable expectations in relation to teaching and research roles; agree to measures and evaluation proceduresKnow and guide student in navigating departmental, university, and external funding and award opportunitiesEnsure student understands compliance issues for proposed researchModelingProviding and pointing to authentic models of teaching, research, service and professional leadership to foster the career development of graduate and professional students.Ideas for action:Model respectful interactions and shared decision makingProvide the student with opportunities to discuss norms and expectations within department, university, field of study and other academic settingsShowcase your own current collaborations and past multiple mentoring relationships with internal and external professional colleaguesSponsoringOpening doors by providing information and coaching; playing a role in development of networks and sharing leads to professional opportunities across multiple career paths.Ideas for action:Provide information regarding expansions and contractions in the field of study, subfields and interdisciplinary alliancesAssist students in the development of a comprehensive portfolio, from vita/resume to cover letter to documenting teaching and research to gathering information in advance of campus interviews