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What is Good Mentoring?

What does a good mentor do?

There is broad consensus that mentoring is key to graduate student success. The following list describes aspects of mentoring frequently associated with exemplary graduate mentors who support the advancement of students in three main areas: as scholars, teachers, and professionals. Mentors in the GSAB Mentoring Program will be asked particularly to provide professional development support. This list, adapted from one in use at the Duke University Graduate School, is offered as a starting point:    

Mentors who support the advancement of students as Scholars:
  • Provide intellectual guidance and ensure rigor within research projects;
  • Ensure students gain deep understanding of the field of study, including research methods and (inter)disciplinary trends;
  • Provide appropriate guidelines and expectations, and assist students in developing skills to pursue/achieve research goals within appropriate timetables;
  • Evaluate progress and coach academic performance in a timely and constructive fashion.
Mentors who support the advancement of students as Teachers:
  • Encourage students to develop a broad range of teaching, communication, and professional skills;
  • Provide opportunities for skills development related to lecturing, classroom communication, grading/assessment, and course development.
Mentors who support the advancement of students’ Professional Development:
  • Serve as informed advisors regarding career development and the job market;
  • Offer guidance and encouragement regarding participation in scholarly activities, including conference presentations, publications, professional networking, and grant writing;
  • Model impartial, fair, professional dealings with students and colleagues, and foster an ethos of collegiality and professionalism.