Friday, December 11, 2009

How to Mento r Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty

How to Mentor
Students: A Guide
for Faculty
Table of Contents
Letter from Dean Weiss
Chapter 1 What Is a Mentor?
Chapter 2 Why Be a Mentor?
Chapter 3 What Does a Mentor Do?
Chapter 4 General Guidelines for Mentors
Chapter 5 During the Initial Meetings
Chapter 6 Developing the Professional Relationship
Chapter 7 How Departments Can Encourage Mentoring
Chapter 8 Mentoring in a Diverse Community
Chapter 9 In Conclusion
Further Reading
Resources at the University of Michigan
© 2009 The Regents of the University of Michigan
All Rights Reserved
The University of Michigan grants permission to all educational institutions
to copy any material contained in this guidebook with proper citation.
A web version of this handbook can be obtained at:
For further information about the handbook or other mentoring
initiatives, contact Pat McCune at 734.647.2655 or
Dear Colleagues:
Faculty mentors play a crucial role in the success of graduate students; at the Graduate School we
hear this message frequently from students. While styles of advising and mentoring vary across the
disciplines, the fundamentals apply throughout graduate education. Our goal in creating this guide
is to provide a resource for faculty members who seek to improve their effectiveness as mentors; we
hope it is useful to those who are new to the role as well as for those who have enjoyed success but
are looking to become more skillful with a wider range of students.
Students and their mentors share responsibility for ensuring productive and rewarding mentoring
relationships. Both parties have a role to play in the success of mentoring. This handbook is devoted
to the role of faculty members; we also produce a companion volume for graduate students ([include
web address here]).
In the following pages, we’ve included suggestions for further reading, campus resources, and examples
of practices that other faculty have found useful for cultivating a positive mentor-mentee
relationship. I encourage you to share your promising practices, and suggestion for additional
resources, with Pat McCune, Director of Graduate Student Success. She can be reached at 647-2655
I appreciate your interest in this guide, your commitment to the profession, and your engagement in
the rewarding work of mentoring graduate students.
With best regards,
Janet A. Weiss
Dean of the Rackham Graduate School
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
The Rackham Graduate School’s mentoring guide for faculty, How to Mentor Graduate Students: A
Guide for Faculty at a Diverse University, has proven to be popular item for more than a decade: it
has been requested, adopted, and adapted by colleagues around the nation. This current edition is a
thorough revision, with assistance from Jeff Mortimer, of the text first produced by staff at the Graduate
School in 1999. The effort to bring this up to date is only one of the initiatives at the Graduate
School to improve the quality of mentoring available to our students, and to provide resources for
our dedicated faculty.
The impetus to revise this guide was generated by two of the Associate Deans at the Graduate
School, Alec Gallimore and David Engelke. They are members of the faculty committee dedicated
to a Graduate School initiative, Mentoring Others Results in Excellence (MORE). I am grateful
to the members of this committee, all of whom provided valuable critique and constructive suggestions:
David Engelke, Alec Gallimore, Theodore Goodson, Lorraine Gutierrez, Bobbi Low, Mahta
Moghaddam, Laura Olsen, Brad Orr, and Jing Sun. This was facilitated by the support of Elaine
Dowell and Ellen Meader. I am grateful, too, for the edits suggested by another of the Graduate
School’s Associate Deans, Peggy McCracken.
We also are indebted to the assistance of a number of Rackham colleagues. Ashley Reid, our Graduate
Student Research Assistant, contributed the background research and suggestions for further
reading. Amy Deitrickson collected and reviewed the campus resources. We are fortunate to have
the contributions of Elyse Rubin who edits all Graduate School publications.
The quotations included here are all taken from responses to the survey that is part of the Graduate
School’s annual Program Review. Similarly, the promising practices were shared by faculty at the
University of Michigan during the course of Program Review.
Finally, but most significantly, it is because Dean Janet A. Weiss is so firmly committed to ensuring
the success of graduate students that this guide possible.
Pat McCune, Ph.D.
Director, Graduate Student Success
Rackham Graduate School
Chapter 1: What Is a Mentor?
In nineteenth-century graduate education, the student-professor relationship looked a lot like the
worst kind of apprenticeship: the price of admission to the craft was to do the bidding of the master.
Today, that model is as obsolete as writing a dissertation on a typewriter.
The landscape of twentieth-century graduate education is much different, and so is its population.
The quantity of knowledge has exploded, the boundaries between disciplines have blurred, and advances
in both the resources and methods available for study and research fuel both phenomena.
Another key development has been the vastly larger pool from which the people engaged in graduate
teaching, learning and research are increasingly drawn, which has helped drive a concomitant expansion
of appropriate areas for scholarly investigation. Those people who were rarely included in higher
education in the nineteenth century are in the majority now. They bring invigorating experiences
and perspectives to the enterprise, but they also face challenges.
All these factors have necessitated both a broader, more sophisticated notion of mentoring, and a
heightened recognition of its vital role in the preparation of the next generation’s intellectual leaders,
both within and beyond the academy.
Consider this multi-faceted definition of mentors as people who:
• take an interest in developing another person’s career and well-being.
• have an interpersonal as well as a professional relationship with those whom they mentor.
• advance the person’s academic and professional goals in directions most desired by the individual.
• tailor mentoring styles and content to the individual, including adjustments due to differences
in culture, ethnicity, gender and so on.
Some faculty limit the responsibilities of mentoring to simply discharging their role as advisor. While
assigned advisors can certainly be mentors, and often are, effective mentoring requires playing a more
expansive role in the development of a future colleague. The role of advisor usually is limited to guiding
academic progress. The role of mentor is centered on a commitment to advancing the student’s
career through an interpersonal engagement that facilitates sharing guidance, experience and expertise.
Like any interpersonal relationship, the one between mentor and student will evolve over time, with
its attendant share of adjustments. The fact that today’s students come from an increasingly diverse
backgrounds may add a layer of complexity, but it’s more likely to enrich than confound the relationship.
New graduate students, in particular, may express the desire for a mentor with whom they can personally
identify, but their eventual level of satisfaction with their mentors seems to have little to do
with this aspect of the relationship. This confirms the important point that you can be a successful
mentor even if you and your student don’t share
similar backgrounds. Of course, each mentoring
relationship should be tailored to the student’s
goals, needs and learning style, but the core principles
apply across the board. What you and the
student share – a commitment to the goals of the
scholarly enterprise and a desire to succeed – is far
more powerful and relevant than whatever might
seem to divide you.
Just as students have different learning styles, the
skill sets and aptitudes of mentors are as varied as
mentors themselves. There is no foolproof recipe.
This guide surveys practices and approaches that
have demonstrated their value. Our intent is to
help you become a successful mentor in your own
My current advisor is very down to earth and places everything into perspective. Be
it research, classes or professional growth. He doesn’t force his opinion of these things
on me, but allows me to make my own priorities and live with the consequences.
I value my advisor’s devotion to his graduate students--he wants us to succeed, learn
to do research well, reach lofty goals, and graduate in a reasonable amount of time. ...I
value the faculty’s commitment to graduate students’ work and quality of life.
Chapter 2: Why Be a Mentor?
Far from being an optional extra, or a task to be attended as time permits, mentoring is as essential
to a faculty member’s success as teaching, research and publication are, and for the same reasons: it
benefits both students and mentors as it advances the discipline, ensuring the quality and commitment
of the next generation of scholars.
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Promising Practices:
Applied Physics
This program has a structured approach
to pairing new students with
faculty mentors that match student
interests and needs. The students have
a directed study or lab rotation during
the winter term of the first year,
the summer term, and then in the fall
term of the second year. This gives
the student exposure to working with
a number of faculty in their areas of
likely research. The program chair
then provides the students with guidance
regarding the faculty member
who may be the best match for the
Mentoring benefits students because:
• It supports their advancement in research activity, conference presentations, publication,
pedagogical skill, and grant-writing.
• Students are less likely to feel ambushed by potential bumps in the road, having been alerted
to them, and provided resources for dealing with stressful or difficult periods in their graduate
• The experiences and networks their mentors help them to accrue may improve the students’
prospects of securing professional placement.
• The knowledge that someone is committed to their progress, someone who can give them
solid advice and be their advocate, can help to lower stress and build confidence.
• Constructive interaction with a mentor and participation in collective activities he or she arranges
promote engagement in the field.
And it rewards mentors in an abundance of ways:
• Your students will keep you abreast of new knowledge and techniques and apprise you of
promising avenues for research.
• A faculty member’s reputation rests in part on the work of his or her former students; sending
successful new scholars into the field increases your professional stature.
• Your networks are enriched. Helping students make the professional and personal connections
they need to succeed will greatly extend your own circle of colleagues.
• Good students will be attracted to you. Word gets around about who the best mentors are, so
they are usually the most likely to recruit – and retain –outstanding students.
• It’s personally satisfying. Seeing your students succeed can be as rewarding as a major publication
or significant grant.
Effective mentoring advances the discipline because these students often begin making significant
contributions long before they complete their graduate degrees. Such students are more likely to
have productive, distinguished, and ethical careers that reflect credit on their mentors and enrich the
discipline. Effective mentoring helps to ensure the quality of research, scholarship and teaching well
into the future.
My mentor is my strongest advocate and goes to bat for me when my program
throws road blocks in my path.
The t wo things I like best about my relationship with my mentor is one, he thinks
outside of the box when looking for funding for the lab and t wo, he is very good at
keeping his mentees abreast of what is going on as well as encourages us to keep him
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Chapter 3: What Does the Mentor Do?
The mentor’s responsibilities extend well beyond helping students learn what’s entailed in the research
and writing components of graduate school. First and foremost, mentors socialize students
into the culture of the discipline, clarifying and reinforcing – principally by example – what’s expected
of a professional scholar.
Let’s start with the basic responsibilities mentors have to those graduate students who seek their guidance.
Model professional responsibility. It is crucial that the mentor consciously act with integrity in every
aspect of his or her work as teacher, researcher and author. Students must see that their mentors recognize
and avoid conflicts of interest, collect and use data responsibly, fairly award authorship credit,
cite source materials appropriately, use research funds ethically, and treat animal or human research
subjects properly. This list is not meant to be exhaustive: never compromising the standards that
bestow validity on the discipline is not a suggested guideline but essential to the profession.
Demystify graduate school. Many aspects of graduate education are unwritten or vague, and the
ability of new students to understand them is hampered by the fact that they frequently do not know
what questions to ask or what certain terminology means. You can help by adjusting your conversations
accordingly and clarifying your program’s expectations for lab work, coursework, comprehensive
exams, research topics, and teaching. For each stage of the student’s program, discuss the prevailing
norms and criteria used to define quality performance.
Encourage the effective use of time. Work with the student on developing schedules and meeting
benchmarks. Share techniques and practices that have been useful for others but don’t insist there is
only one way. Rather, help them blaze their own trail and devise a plan that keeps them on it. For
many students, the shift from the highly structured nature of undergraduate education to the self-direction
that is expected in graduate school presents a significant challenge.
Oversee professional development. Activities that have become second nature to you need to be
made explicit to students, such as faculty governance and service, directing a lab, procuring grants,
managing budgets, and being able to explain your research to anyone outside your discipline. Mentors
help their students become full-fledged members of a profession and not just researchers.
Assist with finding other mentors. One size doesn’t fit all, and one mentor can’t provide all the guidance
and support that every student needs. Introduce students to faculty, emeriti, alumni, staff and
other graduate students who have complementary interests. Effective mentoring is a community
I value my mentor’s dedication and enthusiasm about science; also, his openness to discuss
and aid in the development of my projects. He was able to establish clear project
goals, in the beginning of my Ph.D., that reflected my preferences and listened to my
Reassurance... it’s great to know that other people had to go through many experiences
very similar to mine.
Chapter 4: General Guidelines for Mentors
The fundamental rubric for mentors is to be partial to the student but impartial about the student’s
Clarity is the foundation upon which such a relationship is built. Be transparent about your expectations
concerning the form and function of the relationship, and about what’s reasonable to expect
of you and what isn’t. Pay particular attention to boundaries, both personal and professional, and
respect theirs just as you expect them to respect yours.
Within mutually agreeable limits, mentors have an open door. Because your time is so valuable, it
is often the most precious thing you can give. What lies behind that door, literally and figuratively,
should be a haven of sorts. Give students your full attention when they are talking with you, and the
time and encouragement to open up. Try to minimize interruptions. Consider scheduling an occasional
meeting away from the office or department to help create more personalized time.
Use concrete language to critique students’ work. What the mentor communicates with the students
must be timely, clear and, above all, constructive. Critical feedback is essential, but it’s more likely to
be effective if tempered with praise when deserved. Remind students that you are holding them to
high standards in order to help them improve.
Mentors keep track of their students’ progress and achievements, setting milestones and acknowledging
accomplishments. Let your students know from the start that you want them to succeed, and create
opportunities for them to demonstrate their competencies. When you feel a student is prepared,
suggest or nominate him or her for fellowships, projects, and teaching opportunities.
Encourage students to try new techniques, expand their skills, and discuss their ideas, even those
they fear might seem naive or unworkable. Let students know that mistakes are productive because
we learn from our failures. These practices nurture self-sufficiency. As tempting as it can be to dictate
paths, the person in front of you has different strengths and aspirations.
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Provide support in times of discouragement
as well as success, and be mindful of signs
of emotional and physical distress. Don’t
assume that the only students who need help
are those who ask for it. If a student is falling
behind in his or her work, resist concluding
that this shows a lack of commitment.
Perhaps the student is exhausted, or unclear
about what to do next, or is uncomfortable
with some aspect of the project or research
team. Although it is ultimately the responsibility
of students to initiate contact with
you, it may make a difference if you get in
touch with those students who are becoming
remote. Let them know they are welcome to
talk with you during your office hours, and
that the conversation can include nonacademic
as well as academic issues.
Being open and approachable is particularly
important when a student is shy or comes
from a different cultural background. Many
new students suffer from the impostor syndrome
– anxiety about whether they belong
in graduate school – so it’s important to
reassure them of their skills and abilities to
succeed. The enthusiasm and optimism you
show can be inspirational. Make sure that
students understand not only the personal
consequences of their commitment to their
work, but also its value to the professional
community and to the general public.
Share what you’ve learned as both a scholar
and a member of a profession. You might
think things are obvious to students that
aren’t. At the same time, tell your students
what you learn from them. This will make
them realize they are potential colleagues.
Identify professional workshops and networking
opportunities for students. Involve
students in editing, journal activities, conference
presentations, and grant writing.
Promising Practices:
Students are reviewed annually by the
faculty. Prior to the meeting students prepare
a progress report with the assistance
of their advisors. Following the review the
student receives feedback on progress in
a letter explicitly intended to serve as a
mentoring document.
Chemical Engineering
Mentor matching: During and after
admission, faculty are encouraged to make
contact with students who are interested
in their areas, although no formal match
is made at this time. The match is done
in the first two months of the fall semester.
During the first few weeks of our
orientation course students hear twentyminute
presentations by all the faculty,
including faculty from other departments
who have some appointment in Chemical
Engineering also. Students also have
other opportunities to meet with the
faculty, such as a picnic held in the first
few weeks. The students then must make
appointments with and talk to at least
five faculty. Some faculty might ask the
students to read a paper, attend group
meetings, meet with the graduate students
of the group, etc. In early October, the
students submit a list of preferences for
We then match students with advisors,
trying to give most students one of their
top choices. When this is not possible,
we discuss other possible options with
the students and also faculty and work to
make an acceptable arrangement for all
Of course, it isn’t necessary to embody all of these attributes in order to be a successful mentor.
Individuals have relative strengths in their capacity for mentoring, and mentors should be clear about
what they can and cannot offer. Part of effective mentoring is knowing when to refer someone to
another resource that might be more helpful.
Most important, and more than any particular piece of advice or supportive act, your students will
remember how they were treated. The example you set as a person will have a profound effect on
how they conduct themselves as professionals.
In meetings, I show results and indicate where I would like to take experiments. She
serves as a sounding board to improve and refine the ideas along with making additional
suggestions. It allows me to take ownership of my project and not just be a
What I like about my thesis advisor is how he balances both roles of listening to my
ideas and giving them reasonable consideration, and guiding the direction of study
from his own research experience. I don’t think this is an easy task.
Chapter 5: During the Initial Meetings
You were mentored in some fashion as a graduate student, so you may find it a useful starting point
to think about those days and how you felt about your mentoring. Consider these questions:
• What kind of mentoring did you have?
• What did you like and dislike about the mentoring you received?
• How well did your mentor(s) help you progress through your graduate program?
• How well did your mentor(s) prepare you for your academic career?
• What did you not receive in the way of mentoring that would have been helpful to you?
Thinking about these points can help you develop a vision of the kind of mentor you want to be, and
the most effective ways you can mentor students inside and outside your discipline.
In the companion mentoring guide for graduate students, we suggest that they undertake a critical
self-appraisal before they meet with faculty. Below are some points we recommend they consider. We
share a modified version of this listing as possible topics for your first meeting.
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• Find out about the student’s previous educational experiences and why s/he decided to go to
graduate school. What does the student hope to achieve in pursuing a graduate degree?
• Discuss your research projects and how they complement or diverge from the student’s interests.
• Offer suggestions about courses the student should take, labs that might be appropriate, and
other training experiences s/he should seek.
• Refer the student to other people inside or outside the University whom s/he should meet in
order to begin developing professional networks.
You and your student need to communicate clearly from the start about your respective roles and
responsibilities. Some people find it helpful to put such arrangements in writing, while recognizing
that circumstances and needs can change. (See samples in appendix). Here are a few areas you may
want to discuss.
• Goals: Ask students to develop and share with you a work plan that includes short-term and
long-term goals as well as the timeframe for reaching those goals. Make sure the student’s
work plan meets the program’s requirements and is feasible.
• Meetings: Tell students how frequently you will be able to meet with them, and that it is
their responsibility to arrange and take the lead in these meetings. Let them know if you have
a busy travel schedule, are about to take a sabbatical, or will be assuming an administrative
• Thresholds: Be explicit about the kinds of issues you feel require a face-to-face meeting. Also
let students know if they may contact you at home, and under what circumstances, and ask
them their preferences as well.
• Assessments: Discuss how often you will give them an assessment of their general progress,
and let them know what type of feedback they can expect from you. Tell them how long it
generally takes you to provide a response to their work, and how they can best remind you if
they do not hear from you within the specified time.
• Drafts: Discuss your expectations of what first drafts should look like before they are submitted
to you. If you do not want students to hand in rough drafts, suggest they share their work
first with a trusted peer or writing group.
• Publishing and Presenting: Share your expectations regarding when and where you would
like to see the student give research presentations. Explain the standards and norms for
authorship credit in your field, and the extent to which you can assist them with preparing
work for submission to journals and conferences.
• Intellectual Property: Before beginning work with students on a project, clarify who owns the
data that is being collected, and whether others will have access to it. Also discuss issues of
copyright and patent agreements that might occur as a result of a project.
The hallmark of a successful mentoring relationship
is a shared understanding of expectations and
responsibilities. These create the framework for
the relationship, and they are largely established
in the early meetings with a student. A relatively
modest investment in those meetings can yield
great dividends.
I am able to approach them and express
my concerns comfortably, they expect
hard work from me and I expect patience
and consideration from them.
I value that my mentor is very honest
and that I always end a meeting with my
mentor feeling as though I can tackle my
Chapter 6: Developing the Professional Relationship
While graduate students deserve your support and attention, the specific needs of a first-year student
just learning the ropes and fretting about the long and challenging road ahead are different from
those of a student who is nearing completion of the dissertation and has refocused on career decisions.
Here again, the apprenticeship model of nineteenth-century graduate education is insufficient. The
responsibility of the twenty-first-century mentor is to assist in the development of the next generation
of scholars and researchers, and that requires a relationship of ever-growing collegiality.
The greatest challenge that faculty face with incoming graduate students is helping them make the
transition from the format of undergraduate education – the short-term goals, predictable closure
and tight structure of course work – to the unfamiliar, loosely structured, and relatively open-ended
world of lab, research and dissertation. Mentors sometimes need to be directive, maintain a shortterm
focus, and assign concrete tasks and deadlines.
As students become more proficient with the basics, good mentors pay increasing attention to their
progress both as researchers, by acting as a consultant or sounding board, and as professionals, by so-
Promising Practices:
Asian Languages and
Students have a mentoring committee
assigned in their first year, and in second
and subsequent years they form
their own committee based on interests
and specialization. The mentoring
committee meets with the student
twice each year for the purpose of advising
on course selection and discussing
the student’s funding. The mentoring
committee makes an end-of-year
report to the graduate committee, and
all faculty meet to discuss each student
every year. The student receives a form
letter if s/he is on track, but if there
are concerns, these are addressed in the
annual letter.
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cializing them into the culture of their disciplines.
The former means suggesting lines of inquiry
and options for solving problems and discussing
potential outcomes. The latter means encouraging
the development of communication and networking
skills by providing opportunities for teaching,
writing, and presenting.
Good mentors help students gradually understand
how their objectives fit into the particular
graduate degree program, departmental life, and
postgraduate options. As the relationship evolves,
mentors expect and encourage their students to
accept increasing responsibility and more complex
challenges. It’s essential to keep in mind that the
doctoral program is the beginning rather than the
sum of the student’s career. The mentor’s “end
game” requires assisting the student in successfully
launching that career.
In particular, mentors need to understand that it
is much harder today to find a tenure-track position
or even, in many fields, any full-time faculty
position. This makes the mentor’s guidance,
encouragement, networking and promotion of the
student more critical than ever. If the relationship
is, indeed, lifelong, then opportunities to provide
such assistance don’t end with the completion of
the degree.
In some fields the primary career objective is the professoriate. Mentors need to understand that it is
much harder today to find a tenure-track position or even, in many fields, any full-time faculty position.
This makes the mentor’s guidance, encouragement, networking and promotion of the student
more critical than ever. If the relationship is, indeed, lifelong, then opportunities to provide such
assistance don’t end with the completion of the degree.
In other fields the majority of graduate students will pursue non-academic positions. In working
with them the mentor’s function goes beyond the promotion of academic success, and so the mentor
must be open minded about the students’ career interests and paths, and help them to explore those
options outside the academic world if that is where their interests lie.
The influence that research supervisors wield over their students is enormous; they are truly the
gatekeepers of the student’s professional future. How this power is used is at the heart of the difference
between graduate education in the nineteenth- and twenty-first centuries. The effective mentor
serves as advocate and guide, empowering the student to move from novice to professional.
Promising Practices:
English Language and
The department sponsors a group
known as Jobseekers. This group meets
once a month to prepare students for
interviews at the Modern Language
Association’s annual conference. They
offer students reimbursement for up to
$400 spent for dossier postage. They
also provide up to $600 in travel funds
for students who have interviews at
the MLA conference. In addition,
there are mock interviews with the
two faculty members who serve as directors
of the group. The directors vet
their cover letters and resumes. After
the MLA, they do mock job talks for
students who were invited for second
stage interviews during the winter
term. The directors keep a report on
the students’ interview progress.
They give me close personal attention (it’s a small lab), therefore they are able to correct
weaknesses and prevent me from wasting time. They care about me as a person,
and not just as a scientist.
His enthusiasm. Not just for my research, but for my post graduate school aspirations.
My mentor definitely provides useful insight to both my current problems and
any that he might foresee outside of school.
Chapter 7: How Graduate Programs Can Encourage
Effective mentoring cannot be done in a vacuum. A successful relationship between a graduate
student and mentor is built upon a foundation of commitment at the institutional as well as at the
program level. The institution must be committed to ensuring that its programs are of the highest
quality, producing professionals who are both ethical and accomplished. The department in turn
is responsible for setting clear expectations and supervising progress. Each department should be
responsible for creating an environment in which mentoring is valued and both students and faculty
have access to resources that promote graduate student success. The following are examples of practices
known to reinforce the efforts of faculty as they work with their students.
Provide an orientation session. This helps faculty get a head start with new graduate students by introducing
them to program policies, practices, and resources, preferably at the beginning of the academic
year. This should be followed up with a refresher session in the second term. Students should
also be furnished with a departmental guide that acquaints them with its expectations, benchmarks
and milestones.
Assign a first year temporary advisor. To facilitate graduate student engagement with faculty immediately
upon entry into graduate school, assign incoming students a temporary faculty advisor.
Students and faculty can be paired based upon stated interests. Each advisor should be required to
meet with their advisees at least twice during the academic year to review course selections and departmental
requirements, and to answer questions that arise. After this first year, it should be viewed
positively if graduate students want to change advisors. Encourage the recognition that developing
relationships with other faculty is a signal of a student’s growth and progress.
Develop a set of core expectations for faculty to discuss with their advisees. Departments can affirm
that mentoring is a core component of the educational experience for graduate students by developing
a compact or agreement, relevant to the discipline or field of study, for use by faculty and the
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students with whom they work. Such a document
would list the essential commitments and responsibilities
of both parties, set within the context of
the department’s fundamental values. This could
be included in the departmental handbook and
reviewed—or even signed—by both parties to
acknowledge the mentoring relationship.
Provide an annual review of student progress.
The objective of a periodic review—annual, at
least—is to identify ways in which faculty can
more effectively help students make progress in
their graduate studies by routinely documenting
and sharing with each student a constructive
critique of that individual’s efforts across the entire
spectrum of mastery that the student is expected
to achieve. This extends beyond course grades
to offer feedback on whether the student is acquiring
the full set of experiences, methods, and
professional experiences that the faculty think are
critical to success in the field of study. While a
wide range of formats can be used, the one common
feature is that faculty share the results of the
review with each student in writing, and include a
copy in the student’s file. The intention is to provide
a framework for constructive discussion of student progress toward the degree and to document
suggestions, guidelines, and benchmarks provided to the student.
Create structured activity for faculty and students. These events could be academic in nature, such as
brown bags, colloquia, and workshops, or more socially oriented events like pot lucks, movie nights,
and picnics. To establish a collegial atmosphere it is helpful to designate a space, such as a lounge.
Many departments also use this space to host social events to which graduate students, faculty, staff,
and families are invited.
Provide peer mentoring opportunities. In order to ease the transition to graduate student life, pair
first-year graduate students with more advanced students who share similar interests. Peer mentors
can familiarize incoming students with departmental culture, strategies for success in the first year,
and resources at the University and in the local community.
Support professional socialization. Departments can make it easier for mentors to nurture the professional
development of their graduate students by instituting certain policies and programs. For
instance, a number of departments invite student participation on departmental committees, including
those focusing on hiring and/or admissions. Some departments offer a special course for their
graduate students who are working as graduate student instructors (GSI). Departments can require
each student to make a presentation at a seminar or brown bag, with one or two faculty assigned to
Promising Practices:
Political Science
The department has developed a
number of practices to build and
maintain community. Each fall and
winter semester the department sponsors
a “professional development day”
when faculty and graduate students
from each field gather for lunch to
discuss new developments in the field
and anything else that comes up. Then
graduate students take part in a variety
of professional workshops planned by
the student members of the Department’s
Graduate Affairs Committee.
These workshops have focused on a
wide variety of issues from nonacademic
employment to managing stress
to applying for outside fellowships.
provide a critique. Graduate programs can encourage students to present their work at professional
Promote successful mentoring practices. Some departments have found it useful to hold annual
seminars that update faculty on the latest employment trends and internship opportunities, as well
as issues such as appropriate faculty-student relations, professional standards, research responsibility,
and balancing career and personal life. New faculty often benefit from formal guidance in mentoring,
which can include briefings, workshops, the assignment of senior mentors, and information
about campus resources.
Reward effective mentoring. Mentoring performance and outcomes are worthy of inclusion in faculty
evaluation for salary and promotion. An additional means for rewarding mentoring is to factor
in teaching credits for faculty who assume heavy mentoring responsibilities. Another way of honoring
good mentors is through public recognition. Remember to nominate your faculty for school and
college awards, and for Rackham’s Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.
Chapter 8: Mentoring in a Diverse Community
The conventional categorization of students as traditional and non-traditional has outlived its usefulness.
Graduate education is continually evolving: content and practices have changed over the
decades and so have the students. If we put women, students from historically underrepresented
groups, international students, LGBT students, students with disabilities, and students with children
all in one category, it would constitute the majority of graduate students in the U.S. The diversity of
those in graduate education has forced us to consider what is worth preserving and transmitting, and
what is rooted in assumptions about homogeneity and should be adapted or discarded.
Research on the role that social identity plays in an individual’s ability to succeed in graduate school
indicates that there are issues that call for attention and thoughtfulness on the part of their mentors.
Consider how the following might pertain to your mentoring of current and future students.
Need for Role Models. Students from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups have a
harder time finding faculty role models who might have had experiences similar to their own. If the
faculty and graduate students in your department are ostensibly homogenous, become more involved
in efforts to identify and recruit new faculty and graduate students who represent diverse backgrounds.
At the same time, never forget that you can provide excellent mentoring to students whose
backgrounds are different from your own.
Questioning the Canons. Students from underrepresented or marginalized groups, particularly those
in the social sciences and humanities, sometimes find that their research interests do not fit into the
current academic canons. Some fear that when they select research questions focusing on race, gender
or sexual orientation, faculty will deem their work irrelevant, and others will see them as being
only interested in these topics for the rest of their
professional careers. More commonly, they find
that their experiences are missing from current
theory and research. Be open to hearing students’
experiences and perspectives. Ask where a student’s
research interests lie rather than making assumptions
about them based on the student’s personal
characteristics or past work. Think about the ways
that race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity,
and other characteristics help to expand the types
of questions that are asked in your discipline and
the approaches used for answering them. Direct
them to the many interdisciplinary programs and
research centers across campus that may provide
them with a community of scholars whose interests
intersect with their own.
Feelings of Isolation. Students from historically
underrepresented groups and international students
can feel particularly isolated or alienated
from other students in their departments, especially
if the composition of the current program
is homogenous. Be aware of students who seem
to be finding it particularly difficult to take active
roles in academic or social settings and take the
initiative to include them. Ask them about their
research interests, hobbies and activities outside
of their program. Introduce your student to other
students and faculty with complementary interests.
Remind students of the wealth of organizations
within or outside the University that might
provide them with a sense of community.
Burden of Being a Spokesperson. Students from
underrepresented groups often expend a lot of
time and energy speaking up when issues such as
race, class, gender, ability status or sexual orientation arise – or are being ignored. Instead of assuming
that certain experiences are the norm, question whether race, gender, or other characteristics
provide different perspectives from those being expressed. Avoid calling on male or female, black
or white, old or young graduate students to be spokespersons for their gender or race or age group.
While their perspective is wanted, allow them to offer it freely and remember that it is the individual’s
Concern about speaking up in class. Certain conditions may be greater obstacles for some students
than for others. For example, research has shown that an overly competitive and critical atmosphere
Promising Practices:
Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology
The Big Sibs Mentoring Program is
meant to provide a comfortable, informal
way for first year students (aka
Little Sibs) to learn about the culture
of graduate school, our department,
and how to excel at the University
of Michigan. A panel of older grad
students (typically 3rd and 4th year
students) meets regularly with the
new cohort to answer questions and
help ease the transition into graduate
school. In the past we found that few
Big Sib-Little Sib pairs worked out;
the pairings were arbitrary, rather than
natural pairings based on mutual compatibility.
By moving to group discussion
between the incoming students
and a panel of more seasoned students,
new students are introduced to a
broad cross-section of the department;
hopefully among these students is
someone each new student would feel
comfortable talking to one-on-one.
demic employment to managing stress
to applying for outside fellowships.
in graduate programs can alienate women and minority students, who lament that the system does
not reward praising the contributions of other scholars. Stay attuned to what’s happening in class.
Try to change the tenor of discussions when they become overly critical. Set ground rules with your
students for group discussions in your courses or labs, and explain how your expectations for participation
will advance students’ learning goals. Experiment with ways of preventing a few students from
dominating your seminars.
Suffering from stereotypes. Few of us go through life without suffering the experience of others’
assumptions and it still is challenging to displace that nineteenth-century gentleman scholar as the
typical graduate student. While each identity group may face different issues and experiences, all
students from that group will not share the same thoughts and perspectives. Social class, geographic
origin, economic status, health and a wealth of other factors also play an important role in shaping
behaviors and attitudes. Recognizing each student’s unique strengths and scholarly promise will go
far to eliminate stereotypes.
He understands family and a 7-4 schedule. He understands and is willing to talk about
female issues and is completely supportive... advising me of who to be careful of because
they are judgmental towards women, etc.
I value that my mentors recognize that this is my graduate school experience. My
mentors provide me with guidance and also allow me to make my own decisions. I
also value that my mentors see me as a whole person. My personal and professional
lives are interconnected and my mentors respect me beyond the work I do on a Friday
Chapter 9: In Conclusion
Effective mentoring is good for mentors, good for students, and good for the discipline. You’re probably
already doing much of what’s been discussed in the preceding sections: supporting your students
in their challenges as well as their successes, assisting their navigation of the unfamiliar waters of a
doctoral program, and providing a model of commitment, productivity and professional responsibility.
In most cases, the system works well: students make informed choices regarding faculty with whom
they work; faculty serve as effective mentors and foster the learning and professional development
of graduate students. During the graduate experience, students are then guided toward becoming
St ude nt Pe rspe ct i ve
independent creators of knowledge or users of research, prepared to be colleagues with their mentors
as they complete the degree program and move on to the next phase of professional life.
In order to learn more about mentoring resources at the University of Michigan, and in particular
about the Graduate School initiative, Mentoring Others Results in Excellence (MORE), contact Pat
McCune, director of Graduate Student Success, at 734.647.2655 or
We’ve also included a few suggestions for further reading if you’d like to explore some of the topics
raised in this guide, sample forms in the appendix, and a list of related resources at the University of
Michigan useful for those who work with graduate students in any capacity.
They treat me with respect. I understand my position as a graduate student working
for accomplished individuals, yet they treat me with the respect I deserve as well.
That is invaluable.
Further Reading
Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Graduate, Research, Education, and Teaching.
(2006). Compact between postdoctoral appointees and their mentors. Retrieved January 7, 2009, from
Council of Graduate Schools. (1990). Research student and supervisor: An approach to good supervisory
practice. Washington, DC: Author.
Crutcher, B. N. (2007). Mentoring across cultures. Academe Online. Retrieved September 5, 2008
Hesli, V., Fink, E., Duffy, D. (2003, July). Mentoring in a positive graduate student experience: Survey
results from the Midwest region, Part I. PS: Political Science and Politics, 36(3), 457-460.
King, M. F. (2003). On the right track : A manual for research mentors. Washington, DC: Council of
Graduate Schools.
Lee, A., Dennis, C., & Campbell, P. (2007). Nature’s guide for mentors. Nature, 447, 791-797.
Murrell, A. J., Crosby, F. J., & Ely, R. (Eds.). (1999). Mentoring dilemmas: Developmental relationships
within multicultural organizations. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
St ude nt Pe rspe ct i ve
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. (1997).
Adviser, teacher, role model, friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering. Washington,
DC: National Academy Press.
Nettles, M. T., & Millett, C. M. (2006). Three magic letters: Getting to Ph.D. Baltimore, MD: The
Johns Hopkins University Press.
Paglis, L. L., Green, S. G. & Bauer, T. N. (2006, June). Does adviser mentoring add value? A longitudinal
study of mentoring and doctoral student outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 47(4),
Rose, G. L. (2005, February). Group differences in graduate students’ concepts of the ideal mentor.
Research in Higher Education, 46(1), 53 -80.
Tenenbaum, H. R., Crosby, F. J., & Gliner, M. D. (2001). Mentoring relationships in graduate
school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 326-341.
Research, Writing, And Teaching
The Center for Research on Learning and
Teaching (CRLT)
CRLT works with U-M faculty, graduate
students, and administrators to support different
types of teaching, learning, and evaluation;
including multicultural teaching, technology in
teaching, evaluation, and workshops, and teaching
1071 Palmer Commons
100 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218
Phone: (734) 764-0505
Sweetland Writing Center
Sweetland offers writing assistance with course
papers and dissertations to undergraduate and
graduate students in the form of peer tutoring,
appointments with Sweetland faculty, workshops,
and additional resources.
1139 Angell Hall
435 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Phone: (734)764-0429
Knowledge Navigation Center (KNC)
The KNC provides workshops as well as one-onone
consultation over the phone, in person, or
over e-mail, on technology use related to research
and writing (i.e. managing bibliographies
with RefWorks and EndNote, using Microsoft
Word for your dissertation, etc.).
2nd Floor Hatcher Graduate Library
920 North University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1205
Phone: (734) 647-5836
GroundWorks Media Conversion Lab
GroundWorks is a facility supporting the
production, conversion, and editing of digital
and analog media using high-end Macintosh
and Windows computers equipped with CD-R
drives, flatbed scanners, slide scanners, slide film
exposers, and video & audio equipment.
Room 1315 Duderstadt Center
2281 Bonisteel Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: (734) 647-5739
Duderstadt Center
The Duderstadt Center is the library and media
center on North Campus. The center houses
computer labs, meeting space, the Art, Architecture,
and Engineering Library, the College
of Engineering Computer Aided Engineering
Network (CAEN), the Digital Media Commons
(GroundWorks), the Millennium Project, and
Mujo Café.
2281 Bonisteel Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Phone: (734) 763-3266
Center for Statistical Consultation and Research
CSCAR is a research unit that provides statistical
assistance to faculty, primary researchers,
graduate students and staff of the University.
3550 Rackham Building (3rd Floor)
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 764-STAT (7828)
Resources at the University of Michigan
English Language Institute (ELI)
The English Language Institute offers courses
for nonnative speakers of English enrolled at,
and visiting, the University of Michigan. ELI
also features instructional programs, courses,
workshops for graduate student instructors
(GSIs), ESL clinics, and intensive English summer
500 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2028
Phone: (734) 764-2413
The Career Center
The Career Center supports students and faculty
with exploring and pursuing their career and
educational goals by assisting with internship
searches, applying to graduate school, looking
for a full time job, providing career counseling,
and leading workshops.
515 E. Jefferson
3200 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316
Phone: (734) 764-7460
Rackham’s Dissertation Resources
This website provides a list of resources at the
University of Michigan that can be helpful as
students navigate their dissertation process.
Rackham Workshops
This site lists the workshops the Rackham
Graduate School offers throughout the year.
Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate
AGEP is a program funded by the National Science
Foundation to advance underrepresented
minority graduate students in the fields of
science, technology, engineering and mathematics
(STEM) as they pursue their degrees, and
to enhance their preparation for faculty positions
in academia. Participating students receive
professional development opportunities and
Office of Graduate Student Success
Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 647-5767
Support Organizations and Services
Center for the Education of Women (CEW)
Available to men and women, CEW has professional
counselors who help individuals explore
their educational and career goals. CEW offers
grants, free and low cost workshops, post-docs,
and other services to students, faculty, staff and
community members whereby they advocate for
women in higher education and in the workplace.
330 E. Liberty St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 764-6005
Institute for Research on Women and Gender
The Institute for Research on Women and
Gender coordinates existing research activities
by bringing together scholars across campus
who have related interests in women and gender
studies. IRWG also provides seed money for
new research projects, sponsors public events,
and supports research by graduate students.
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender
1136 Lane Hall
204 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290
(734) 764-9537
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (OMSA)
OMSA is located the School of Education and
promotes diversity and multiculturalism by providing
workshops and seminars to undergraduate
and graduate students on issues of diversity
and equity, specifically as they relate to educational
1213 School of Education Building
610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259
(734) 763-4328
Campus Connections: A Guide to Campus
Resources for Students of Color from the Office
of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
International Center
The U-M International Center provides a variety
of services to assist international students,
scholars, faculty and staff at the University of
Michigan, as well as U-M American students
seeking opportunities to study, work, or travel
603 E. Madison
Ann Arbor MI
(734) 764-9310
Services for Students with Disabilities Office
SSWD Office provides campus and external
resources as well as assistance for students with
physical and mental health conditions in a private
and confidential manner.
G-664 Haven Hall
505 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045
(734) 763-3000
The Adaptive Technology Computer Site
ATCS is an ergo-assistive work-study computing
environment open to U-M students, faculty
and staff. The site is designed to accommodate
the information technology needs of physically,
visually, learning, and ergonomically impaired
individuals and a personal assistant or canine
c/o Services for Students with Disabilities
G-664 Haven Hall
505 South State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045
Spectrum Center
The Spectrum Center provides a comprehensive
range of education, information and advocacy
services working to create and maintain
an open, safe and inclusive environment for
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and similarly-
identified students, faculty, and staff, their
families and friends, and the campus community
at large.
3200 Michigan Union
530 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1308
734 763-4186
LambdaGrads is the organization for Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) graduate
and professional students at the University
of Michigan that provides a safe, fun and open
environment for queer grad students to socialize
and build community across academic disciplines.
Faculty Pride Pages
Rackham School of Graduate Studies worked
with the Lambda Graduate Association, the
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Faculty Alliance, and
the Spectrum Center to develop a directory of
LGBT faculty willing to serve as resources for
LGBT graduate and professional students. UM
Kerberos Login is required.
Student Legal Services
Student Legal Services (SLS) is a free full-service
law office available to currently enrolled students
at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
2304 Michigan Union
530 S. State, #549
Ann Arbor 48109
Phone: 734.763.9920
Veterans Affairs: Transcripts and Certification
Michelle Henderson in the Transcripts and Certification
Office assists students who are veterans
with certification, paperwork, transcripts, veterans’
benefits, and other administrative needs.
500 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382
Michelle Henderson
Veterans Affairs: Office of New Student
Phillip Larson in the Office of New Student
Programs assists U-M students who are veterans
with their overall acclimation and adjustment
to being a student at the University of Michigan
(i.e. course work, finding housing, social networks,
Office of New Student Programs
1100 LSA
500 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382
Phillip Larson
Multi Ethnic Student Affairs Office (MESA) &
William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center
The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs
and the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural
Center work in conjunction with one another
to provide workshops and programs that foster
learning, and cross-cultural competencies that
represent an array of ethnic backgrounds.
Multi Ethnic Student Affairs Office
2202 Michigan Union
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 763-9044
William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center
1443 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 763-3670
Graduate School Dispute Resolution and
Academic Integrity Procedures
This office offers formal and informal dispute
resolution services, provides resources and
referrals, and can offer alternative resolutions
in consultation with other offices as appropriate.
Students can expect confidentiality in a safe
Office of Graduate Student Affairs
1530 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070
Phone: (734) 647-7548
Health and Wellness
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
CAPS provides services that are designed to
help students reach a balanced university experience,
ranging from various counseling services,
educational and preventive initiatives, training
programs, outreach and consultation activities,
and guidance on how to fully contribute to a
caring healthy community.
3100 Michigan Union
530 S State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
U-M Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES)
Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) provides
emergency/urgent walk-in evaluation and crisis
phone services available 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week, for people of all ages. The following
services are provided: psychiatric evaluation,
treatment recommendations; crisis intervention;
screening for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization
and mental health and substance abuse
treatment referral information.
University Hospital
1500 East Medical Center Drive
Reception: Emergency Medicine
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5020
Phone: 734-996-4747
Crisis phone service: 734-936-5900 (24 hours /
7 days)
Psychological Clinic
The U-M Psychological Clinic provides psychological
care including consultation, short-term
and long-term therapy for individual adults and
couples, for students and residents of Ann Arbor
and neighboring communities. Services and
fees are on a sliding scale according to income
and financial circumstances, and the clinic accepts
many insurance plans.
530 Church Street
East Hall, Suite 2463
Ann Arbor , MI 48109-1043
University Health Service (UHS)
UHS is a health care clinic available to U-M
students, faculty, staff and others affiliated
with U-M that meets most health care needs.
For students who are enrolled for the current
semester on the Ann Arbor campus most UHS
services are covered by tuition.
207 Fletcher
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1050
North Campus Family Health Services
North Campus Family Health Service
(NCFHS) is a community-based primary health
center where care is provided by nurse practitioners
and nurse midwives working collaboratively
with physicians and other health care
2364 Bishop St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2230
(734) 647-1636
SafeHouse Center
SAFE House provides free and confidential
services for any victim of domestic violence that
lives or works in Washtenaw County. Their programs
include counseling, court accompaniment,
information and referrals, emergency shelter, and
personal advocacy.
4100 Clark Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Crisis Line: 995-5444 (24 hours /7 days)
Business Line: 973-0242
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center
SAPAC provides educational and supportive
services for the University of Michigan community
related to sexual assault, dating and domestic
violence, sexual harassment, and stalking.
715 N. University, Suite 202
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Office Phone:
(734) 998-9368
24-hour Crisis Line:
(734) 936-3333
The Guide to Campus and Community for
Graduate and Professional Students
This online guide provides web links and information
to students about numerous resources at
the University of Michigan and in Ann Arbor.
Students with Children
This website is dedicated to the needs of students
at the University of Michigan who juggle parenting,
study and work. This site is described as a
“one-stop shop for all your parenting needs.”
Work/Life Resource Center
The Work/Life Resource Center is a starting
point for U-M staff, faculty, and students as
they begin to investigate resources for eldercare,
childcare, and other tools for work/life balance,
such as flexible scheduling and child care leaves
of absence.
2072 Administrative Services
1009 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1432
Phone: 734-936-8677
TTY: 734-647-1388
University Center for the Child and the Family
UCCF offers a wide variety of family-oriented
services to enhance the psychological adjustment
of children, families, and couples. Services are
offered on a sliding-fee scale and include individual
and group psychotherapy for children,
families, and couples, parent guidance, coping
with divorce groups for parents and children,
and social skills groups for children.
East Hall
530 Church
Suite 1465
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043
Telephone: (734) 764-9466
E-mail: or
Child Care Subsidy Program
The Child Care Subsidy Program provides funds
to students with children to assist in meeting the
cost of licensed child care.
Office of Financial Aid
2500 Student Activities Building
515 E. Jefferson Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316
Phone: (734) 763-6600
Housing Information Office
The Housing Information Office handles all
residence halls and Northwood housing placements,
provides counseling and mediation
services for off-campus housing, and special services
for students with disabilities, international
students, and families.
1011 Student Activities Building,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316
Phone Number (734) 763-3164
International Student Housing
See housing information office information.
There is an online housing request form for
international students.
Off-Campus Housing Resources
This program provides housing resources specifically
related to living off campus.
(734) 763-3205
Appendix: Samples of Tools Used by Rackham Degree Programs
Michigan Graduate Student Mentoring Plans, Rackham Graduate School
Student Information Form, Department of Psychology
Summary Report on Laboratory Thesis Progress, Immunology
Mentoring Report, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Procedure for Selection of Research Supervisor, Macromolecular Science and Engineering Program,
Academic Progress Report, Women’s Studies and Sociology Doctoral Program
Michigan Graduate Student Mentoring Plans
An early dialogue on the advising and mentoring relationship between faculty advisors and their
graduate students or postdoctoral scholars can be an essential tool for setting up expectations for the
mentoring relationship. The attached information and sample mentoring agreement offer tools for
students and faculty mentors to use in defining those expectations.
It is assumed that these mentoring plans can to be modified in whatever way the individual program
and advisor/advisee pair think is most appropriate to their intended relationship. These plans are not
intended to serve as any kind of legal document, but rather as an agreement in principle as to the
training goals of the advisor and advisee, after discussion between the two.
The attached document is based on a sample published by the Graduate Research, Education and
Training (GREAT) group of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). Departments
and Programs may wish to use it to create a customized mentoring plan that sets up a statement of
principles governing student/faculty mentor relationships, and to be used at the time a student commits
to working with a primary faculty mentor.
Tenets of Predoctoral Training
Institutional Commitment
Institutions that train graduate students must be committed to establishing and maintaining highquality
training programs with the highest academic and ethical standards. Institutions should work
to ensure that students who complete their programs are well-trained and possess the foundational
skills and values that will allow them to mature into independent academic professionals of integrity.
Institutions should provide oversight for the length of study, program integrity, stipend levels,
benefits, grievance procedures, and other matters relevant to the education of graduate students. Additionally,
they should recognize and reward their graduate training faculty.
Program Commitment
Graduate programs should endeavor to establish graduate training programs that provide students
with the skills necessary to function independently in an academic or other research setting by the
time they graduate. Programs should strive to maintain academically relevant course offerings and research
opportunities. Programs should establish clear parameters for outcomes assessment and closely
monitor the progress of graduate students during their course of study.
Quality Mentoring
Effective mentoring is crucial for graduate school trainees as they begin their academic careers.
Faculty mentors must commit to dedicating substantial time to graduate students to ensure their
academic, professional and personal development. A relationship of mutual trust and respect should
be established between mentors and graduate students to foster healthy interactions and encour31
age individual growth. Effective mentoring should include teaching research methods, providing
regular feedback that recognizes contributions and insights and offers constructive criticism, teaching
the “ways” of the academic research and teaching enterprise, and promoting students’ careers by
providing appropriate opportunities. Additionally, good graduate school mentors should be careful
listeners, actively promote and appreciate diversity, possess and consistently exemplify high ethical
standards, recognize the contributions of students in publications and intellectual property, and have
a strong record of research accomplishments.
Provide Skills Sets and Counseling that Support a Broad Range of Career Choices
The institution, training programs, and mentor should provide training relevant to academic and
other research and policy careers that will allow their graduate students to appreciate, navigate,
discuss, and develop their career choices. Effective and regular career guidance activities should be
provided, including exposure to academic and non-academic career options.
Commitments of Graduate Students
• I acknowledge that I have the primary responsibility for the successful completion of my
degree. I will be committed to my graduate education and will demonstrate this by my efforts
in the classroom and in research settings. I will maintain a high level of professionalism,
self-motivation, engagement, curiosity, and ethical standards.
• I will meet regularly with my research advisor and provide him/her with updates on the
progress and results of my activities and experiments.
• I will work with my research advisor to develop a thesis/dissertation project. This will
include establishing a timeline for each phase of my work. I will strive to meet the established
• I will work with my research advisor to select a thesis/dissertation committee. I will commit
to meeting with this committee at least annually (or more frequently, according to
program guidelines). I will be responsive to the advice of and constructive criticism from my
• I will be knowledgeable of the policies and requirements of my graduate program, graduate
school, and institution. I will commit to meeting these requirements, including teaching
• I will attend and participate in relevant group meetings and seminars that are part of my
educational program.
• I will comply with all institutional policies, including academic program milestones. I will
comply with both the letter and spirit of all institutional research policies (e.g., safe laboratory
practices and policies regarding animal-use and human-research) at my institution.
• I will participate in my institution’s Responsible Conduct of Research Training Program
and practice those guidelines in conducting my thesis/dissertation research.
• I will be a good research citizen. I will agree to take part in relevant shared research group
responsibilities and will use research resources carefully and frugally. I will be attentive to issues
of safety and courtesy, and will be respectful of, tolerant of, and work collegially with all
research personnel.
• For use in relevant fields: I will maintain a detailed, organized, and accurate records of
my research, as directed by my advisor. I am aware that my original notes and all tangible
research data are the property of my institution but that I am able to take a copy of my notebooks
with me after I complete my thesis/dissertation.
• I will discuss policies on work hours, sick leave and vacation with my research advisor. I
will consult with my advisor and notify any fellow research group members in advance of any
planned absences.
• I will discuss policies on authorship and attendance at professional meetings with my
research advisor. I will work with my advisor to submit all relevant research results that are
ready for publication in a timely manner.
• I acknowledge that it is primarily my responsibility to develop my career following the
completion of my doctoral degree. I will seek guidance from my research advisor, career
counseling services, thesis/dissertation committee, other mentors, and any other resources
available for advice on career plans.
Commitments of Research Advisors
• I will be committed to mentoring the graduate student. I will be committed to the education
and training of the graduate student as a future member of the scholarly community.
• I will be committed to the research project of the graduate student. I will help to plan and
direct the graduate student’s project, set reasonable and attainable goals, and establish a timeline
for completion of the project. I recognize the possibility of conflicts between the interests
of my own larger research program and the particular research goals of the graduate student,
and will not let my larger goals interfere with the student’s pursuit of his/her thesis/dissertation
• I will be committed to meeting with the student on a regular basis.
• I will be committed to providing resources for the graduate student as appropriate or according
to my institution’s guidelines, in order for him/her to conduct thesis/dissertation
• I will be knowledgeable of, and guide the graduate student through, the requirements and
deadlines of his/her graduate program as well as those of the institution, including teaching
requirements and human resources guidelines.
• I will help the graduate student select a thesis/dissertation committee. I will help assure that
this committee meets at least annually (or more frequently, according to program guidelines)
to review the graduate student’s progress.
• I will lead by example and facilitate the training of the graduate student in complementary
skills needed to be a successful researcher; these may include oral and written communication
skills, grant writing, lab management, animal and human research policies, the ethical
conduct of research, and scientific professionalism. I will encourage the student to seek
additional opportunities in career development training.
• I will expect the graduate student to share common research responsibilities in my research
group and to utilize resources carefully and frugally.
• I will discuss authorship policies regarding papers with the graduate student. I will acknowledge
the graduate student’s contributions to projects beyond his or her own, and I will
work with the graduate student to publish his/her work in a timely manner.
• I will discuss intellectual policy issues with the student with regard to disclosure, patent
rights and publishing research discoveries, when they are appropriate.
• I will encourage the graduate student to attend professional meetings and make an effort to
help him/her secure funding for such activities.
• I will provide career advice and assist in finding a position for the graduate student following
his/her graduation. I will provide honest letters of recommendation for his/her next
phase of professional development. I will also be accessible to give advice and feedback on
career goals.
• I will try to provide for every graduate student under my supervision an environment that
is intellectually stimulating, emotionally supportive, safe, and free of harassment.
• Throughout the graduate student’s time in graduate school, I will be supportive, equitable,
accessible, encouraging, and respectful. I will foster the graduate student’s professional confidence
and encourage critical thinking, skepticism and creativity.
Start of Program: TERM BEGAN PROGRAM
Advisor A: NAME
Advisor B: NAME
Instructions: Include all information from your entry into the program until now.
A. Courses: List (1) Name, (2) Number, (3) Term taken, (4) Grade received
Core Courses inside Graduate Program
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Core Courses outside Graduate Program
(1) (2) (3) (4)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Cognate Courses
(1) (2) (3) (4)
(1) (2) (3) (4)
B. Research
1. Master's Research
General area of interest: AREA OF INTEREST
Title: TITLE
First Reader: NAME
Second Reader: NAME
Proposal submitted (date): DATE
Data Collection (dates): DATE DATE
began finished
Current Status (in progress, submitted, completed): STATUS
Completion Date: DATE anticipated actual
2. Qualifying / Preliminary Examination (date): DATE
Anticipated date Passed Passed with revisions Fail
3. Dissertation
General area of interest: AREA OF INTEREST
Title: TITLE
Chairperson: NAME
Committee Members: NAME
Progress to date
Prospectus (date): DATE submitted accepted
Data Collection (dates): DATE DATE
began finished
Current Status (in progress, submitted, completed): STATUS
Dissertation Defense: DATE anticipated actual
C. Other research in progress (Please list and briefly describe the current status of each of your research
projects. Please include any presentations or publications you may be working towards.)
Year One
Year Two
Year Three
Year Four
Year Five
Page 2 of 4
D. Publications (List all published work, including work that is in press.)
E. Paper Presentations (List all paper presentations.)
F. Teaching Experience (List all courses taught at UM or elsewhere.)
List (1) Course Number, (2) Instructor, (3) Term Taught, (4) Appointment, (5) Average Evaluation
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
G. Funding (Please list your primary sources of funding for graduate school (tuition, books and living
expenses) for each term. Examples of these sources are: UM-fellowships, non-UM fellowship, GSI, GSRA,
GSSA, department training grant, temp work, work study, employment outside of UM, personal income,
family income, loans.)
Year in
Graduate Program
Fall Winter Summer
H. Please provide a short paragraph detailing what you have been doing or anything else you would like
the faculty to know about your progress for the student evaluation meeting.
Year One
Year Two
Year Three
Year Four
Year Five
Page 3 of 4
Page 4 of 4
I. As of Date (Please enter the date you submitted this document.)
Year One: DATE
Year Two: DATE
Year Three: DATE
Year Four: DATE
Year Five: DATE
Graduate Program in Immunology
Semester: WINTER 2008
Grade Given (S/U) _____ PLEASE NOTE: Grade will need to be entered via Wolverine
Access by April 28, 2008
Summary of Research effort:
A. Time put into actual laboratory work:
Extensive _______ Adequate _______ Little _______
B. Reading relevant scientific research articles
Extensive _______ Adequate _______ Little: _______
C. Intellectual interest in the project:
Extensive _______ Adequate _______ Little: _______
D. Student’s capacity to grasp the appropriate concepts and follow the analytical
transition between concept and experimental design:
Good _______ Average _______ Poor _______
E. Please rank (circle) student’s own intellectual input into the experimental design:
Total passivity with Strong creative contribution
All input from advisor 1 2 3 4 5 by the student
Please comment on the student’s strengths and weaknesses in research:
Are you satisfied with the student’s progress?:
When did the student’s Dissertation Committee last meet and what were their recommendations?
(Please note: The Immunology Program strongly recommends that the Dissertation Committee
meet within 6 months after the student passes the preliminary exam, and at least once each year
thereafter until the defense.):
STUDENT SIGNATURE: _______________________
MENTOR SIGNATURE: ________________________
Student: (
Committee Members:
Excellent Good Satisfactory Unsatisfactory N/A
Current knowledge in chosen
Motivation and perseverance
toward goals
Ability to work independently
Ability to express thoughts:
Communication/Listening Skills
Ability/potential for college
Ability to plan and conduct
Linguistic competence in
research field
Circle the year in progress to degree: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
If prelims have been scheduled, please note dates (describe fields in the comments section):
If in candidacy, is student writing chapters?
Have you seen any chapters? If yes, how many?
Will student defend this academic year? If yes, is there a date set?
Additional Comments
The GPC is interested in knowing
the committee’s general appraisal
of the student’s performance,
particularly regarding lacunae in
coursework, additional or
extraordinary training needs,
financial issues, plans for
study-abroad, and specific
discussion points the committee
intends to revisit in future
mentoring sessions. Use extra
pages if necessary.
If this is a 4th Term Review report,
please describe the conclusions of
the committee, highlighting any
concerns that arose. Please end
with a recommendation to the GPC.
Signature of Mentoring Committee Chair _____________________________________ Date ________
Please return this form to Nicole.

Academic Progress Report
Women’s Studies & Sociology Doctoral Program
Over the next several years, we will work collaboratively with you to bring success to your scholarly work and to your
development as a teacher. The purpose of the academic progress report is to: document and reflect on your progress
as a teacher and scholar; create an annual opportunity for you to meet with your advisor about your efforts; and obtain
written feedback from your advisor.
You should
• complete a draft of this form including the statement described on page 6
• download your unofficial transcript (available through Wolverine Access)
• and prepare your CV
After you complete these steps you should meet with your advisor.
After that meeting, make any revisions to your documents and electronically send your CV, progress report, personal
statement, and your transcript to the Women’s Studies Graduate Student Services Coordinator. In the meeting or shortly
thereafter your advisor will draft a statement about your progress and will send it to you and the Women’s Studies Graduate
Office. These are to be submitted before the end of the exam period in Winter term so please remind your advisor of that.
We recommend setting up an appointment now with your advisor to be certain it takes place in time for this
City, State:
Prelim Chair(s):
Dissertation Chair(s):
WOMEN’S STUDIES COURSEWORK (Please give reason for any incomplete grades and your plans for completion)
Course Title Term Grade Instructor Comments
WS 501 Intro to Graduate Studies
WS 530 Feminist Theory
WS 60
Methods Course
WS 891 Joint PhD Research
SOCIOLOGY COURSEWORK (Please give reason for any incomplete grades and your plans for completion)
Course Title Term Grade Instructor Comments
SOC 500 Orientation Seminar
SOC 505 Theory & Practice
SOC 506 Theory & Practice
SOC 507 Research Logic
SOC 510 Statistics
SOC 610 Statistical Methods
Research Practicum
Research Practicum
Milestone Term Date (if known) Comments
5th Term Review
Professional Paper
891 Proposal Approved
Prospectus Defense
Diss Committee Form
filed with Rackham
Dissertation Defense
Have you received any grades about which you have particular concerns? If so, please describe the grade and your
Indicate status of WS 891 project
Proposal approved and work underway
Proposal being developed
Not yet begun
Expected Completion Date:
891 Committee:
Indicate status of Sociology prelim:
In progress
Not yet begun
Expected Completion Date:
Prelim Committee:
If “in progress,” what remains to be completed?
Dissertation Committee Chair(s):
If you have revised your committee, have you filed your new form with Rackham? Yes No
Women’s Studies requires an annual meeting with your full dissertation committee. Please indicate the date of the
most recent meeting:
Please indicate precisely where you are in the research process:
Is this a multi-paper dissertation single manuscript dissertation
Are you collecting data analyzing data writing up results
What point? (e.g. completed first paper and drafting second):
If a single manuscript, which portions have you drafted?
Has your advisor seen your chapters? Yes Not yet
If you are planning to defend soon, have you contacted Rackham? Yes No
If you are planning to defend this term, have you registered for Sociology 995? Yes No
Prospectus Title:
Dissertation Title:
TEACHING Please list all teaching appointments.
2nd Year Fall 2nd Year Winter 2nd Year Summer
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
3rd Year Fall 3rd Year Winter 3rd Year Summer
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
4th Year Fall 4th Year Winter 4th Year Summer
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
5th Year Fall 5th Year Winter 5th Year Summer
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
6th Year Fall 6th Year Winter 6th Year Summer
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Course Name & No:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Supervisor if not solo:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median Eval for Q1 and Q2*:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
Median grade given:
* The median score for Question 1 and Question 2 on Instructor Evaluations, found on the summary sheets for each set of
evaluations. These scores are only part of an indication of your teaching progress.
Do you plan to apply to teach Women’s Studies 253? Yes No Maybe Expected term/year:
FUNDING Please list all sources.
1st Year Fall 1st Year Winter 1st Year Summer
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Name of Fellowship:
Name of Fellowship:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
2nd Year Fall 2nd Year Winter 2nd Year Summer
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Name of Fellowship:
Name of Fellowship:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
3rd Year Fall 3rd Year Winter 3rd Year Summer
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Name of Fellowship:
Name of Fellowship:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
4th Year Fall 4th Year Winter 4th Year Summer
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Name of Fellowship:
Name of Fellowship:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
5th Year Fall 5th Year Winter 5th Year Summer
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Fellowship GSI GSRA
Name of Fellowship:
Name of Fellowship:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Awarded By:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
Term & Year:
List any honors or awards received, presentations, or published papers accomplished during the last year.
Comment on any curricular, structural, financial or advising problems that you have encountered in the last year and
indicate suggestions for improvement.
1. A personal statement (approximately 250 words) describing your plans for moving forward in the coming year
including teaching, research, presentations/publications, department service, career planning, job search, etc.
2. A statement from your advisor (below).
Please comment on the student’s progress, indicating areas of strength and plans discussed for continuing