The role of graduate advisor and mentor is crucial - not only to our students, our disciplines, and the University, but to all who stand to benefit from the contributions made by those we advise and mentor. The resources listed below can help you improve your effectiveness as a mentor and an advisor.
The Graduate School provides training for faculty who seek to improve their mentoring within the research environment several times a semester. This evidence-based training curriculum comes from the CIMER Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The companion Mentee training will be offered through the Center for Graduate Life beginning in 2019-2020.
Tools for Mentors
Mentoring Compacts: These are agreements that state specific expectations for mentees. Compacts are most useful for mentee groups, such as students in a lab setting. These agreements can be shared with a group of students at the beginning of the working relationship. Download this example.
Individual Development Plans (IDP): Individual Development Plans are similar to compacts in that they include specific expectations for the mentee, but IDPs go beyond general expectations. These plans are tailored to the individual student and layout a roadmap for the development throughout their program and beyond. IDPs are intended to be updated annually. These documents are developed collaboratively between the mentee and mentor, and should reflect the career path targeted by the mentee. Download this IDP template which has been designed for UNC Charlotte, but can be tailored as needed.
The University of Wisconsin Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research offers a wide range of resources and tools for improving mentoring. Materials are grouped by level and discipline, creating a “curriculum” for mentoring.
This faculty guide was created by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and discusses the importance of mentoring graduate students. It also includes self-assessments and checklists that mentors can use.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created this helpful toolkit that shows how to set expectations, provide constructive feedback and more.
This guide by Laura Gail Lunsford and Vicki L. Baker provides a practical, student-oriented perspective informed by the authors’ experience and research on mentoring. The guide covers topics such as identifying a mentor, engaging with mentors to develop a professional identity, cultivating networks, and serving as a mentor to others.
In addition to providing general suggestions for good mentoring practice, this handbook from Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan explores some of the special challenges and rewards of advising an increasingly diverse graduate student population.
From the Ph.D. Completion Project of the Council of Graduate Schools, this source explores the distinctions between mentoring and advising and identifies specific practices for mentoring graduate students.
For both an understanding of the mentoring role and step-by-step strategies, this guide from the University of Washington Graduate School addresses mentoring for international students and students with disabilities, and the role that age and experience, race and ethnicity, and disadvantaged socioeconomic background plays in determining student success.
Journal Articles and Publications
- Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (1997). Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On Being a mentor to Students in Science and Engineering. National Academy Press: Washington, DC. This booklet provides a comprehensive overview of advising and mentoring relationships between faculty and a broad range of students (i.e., undergraduate to post-doctoral). Different mentoring/advising roles are addressed along with tips for being a successful mentor. Issues related to diversity and professional ethics are also examined.
- Deshpande, A. (2017). Faculty Best Practices to Support Students in the “Virtual Doctoral Land.” Higher Education for the Future, 4(1), 12-30. A thorough literature review of doctoral online learning is presented along with best practices to support success of online/distance doctoral students.
- Fedynich, L. & Bain, S. F. (2011). Mentoring the successful graduate student of tomorrow. Research in Higher Education Journal, 12. Fedynich and Bain review the changing graduate student population, develop an awareness of the significant impact of faculty mentorship, and offer practical implications for the improvement in quality of faculty mentorship.
- Wrench, J. S., & Punyanunt, N. M. (2004). Advisee‐advisor communication: An exploratory study examining interpersonal communication variables in the graduate advisee‐advisor relationship. Communication Quarterly, 52(3), 224-236. This study examined how graduate students perceive their advisors’ communication and whether these perceptions influence the effectiveness of the advising relationship.
Diversity Awareness in Mentoring
- Lucey, T.A., & White, E.S. (2017) Mentorship in Higher Education: Compassionate Approaches Supporting Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Multicultural Education, 24(2) 11-17. Report of a study of mentoring new graduate-level higher education instructors teaching diversity courses. Provides some suggestions for how to approach multicultural and diversity issues in a mentoring relationship as well as how to help newer teachers develop culturally sensitive pedagogical competency.
- McCoy, D.L., Winkle-Wagner, R., Luedke, C.L. (2015). Colorblind Mentoring? Exploring White Faculty Mentoring of Students of Color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 8(4), 225-242. A qualitative study examining the idea of “colorblind mentoring.” Colorblindness is a microagression—a subtle, indirect, and often unintentional action of discrimination against a member of a marginalized group. By pretending not to see or recognize a person’s race/ethnicity/identity group, people who enact colorblindness may both strip others of their identities and enable discrimination under the guise of treating everyone the same. This article shows the negative consequences of colorblindness in faculty-graduate student mentoring relationships and offers some suggestions for combatting colorblind mentoring practices.
Mentoring Roles and Relationships
- Beres, J.L., & Dixon, J.C. (2016). Examining the Role of Friendship in Mentoring Relationships between Graduate Students and Faculty Advisors, Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 9, 111-124. A thought-provoking piece examining boundaries of faculty/graduate student mentoring relationships: can/should faculty mentors be “friends” with their graduate students? Reading this exploration may help faculty reflect on their own feelings and thoughts surrounding boundaries in mentoring relationships.
- Fairbanks, A. J. (2016). Relationship factors influencing doctoral student retention and success: a study of faculty advisor and doctoral student perceptions (Doctoral dissertation, Kansas State University). In this dissertation, Fairbanks explains important faculty advisor-doctoral student relational factors that influence student retention and success.
- Lechuga, V. M. (2011). Faculty-graduate student mentoring relationships: Mentors’ perceived roles and responsibilities. Higher Education, 62(6), 757-771. Lechuga interviewed 15 underrepresented faculty members about their mentorship role with their graduate students and discusses the perceived role of faculty members as agents of socialization that introduce graduate students to the professional field.
- Mansson, D. H., & Myers, S. A. (2012). Using mentoring enactment theory to explore the doctoral student–advisor mentoring relationship. Communication Education, 61(4), 309-334. Mansson and Myers examine relational maintenance behaviors in doctoral advisor-advisee relationships such as appreciation, tasks, protection, courtesy, humor, and goals.
Ethics and Authorship
- Fine, M.A. and L.A. Kurdek (1993). Reflections on Determining Authorship Credit and Authorship Order on Faculty-Student Collaborations. American Psychologist, 48 (11), 1141-1147. Fine and Kurdek use a series of case studies to raise issues related to authorship decisions and suggest guidelines for discussing and determining authorship. The authors explore the problems associated with faculty who assign too little – or too much – credit to student contributions. Although the cases involve Psychology faculty and students, the issues and the advice cross disciplinary boundaries.
- Thompson, Brookins-Fisher, Kerr, & O’Boyle (2012). Ethical issues in professional development: Case studies regarding behaviour at conferences. Higher Education Journal, 71(5), 539-545. Case scenarios are presented related to ethical dilemmas in faculty and graduate student relationships and behavior at conferences. Recommendations for both graduate student and faculty behavior when faced with ethical dilemmas at conferences are offered as well as discussion questions for use in facilitating conversations about potential ethical dilemmas that may arise related to professional conference attendance.
- Weston, K.M. (2017). Educating students to play the publication game. Higher Education Research & Development, 26(5), 1085-1088. A discussion of how to help graduate students navigate the publishing arena—not just develop strong writing skills. Topics include: predatory publishers, intellectual property/data ownership, rights/responsibilities in interdisciplinary research, rivalry and competition among researchers, authorship challenges, etc.