Effective mentoring of graduate students by faculty members is one of the most important keys to a successful graduate program because of the one-on-one nature of most graduate programs.

Mentoring extends beyond advising because of the personal nature of the relationship between the mentor and the mentee. While a good advisor assists students in learning about their discipline and the skills needed to conduct research or practice their profession, a mentor develops a relationship with her or his mentee on several levels. A mentor is a trusted guide. A mentor can offer support in difficult times. A mentor socializes her or his mentee, to quote the Council of Graduate Schools, "to the values, norms, practices and attitudes of a discipline and university; [mentorship] transforms a student into a colleague." A good mentor must be a good listener (key to good communication), be a good problem-solver, and be a good observer (able to spot "problems").

A mentor is:

arrow imageAn advisor, who has career interests similar to the student and shares their knowledge with the student informally or in the classroom.

arrow imageA supporter, who gives the necessary level of emotional and moral encouragement, as for example, prior to the final oral examination.

arrow imageA sponsor, who provides sources of information about research, grant, internship, employment, or other opportunities.

arrow imageA tutor, who gives specific, timely, and constructive feedback on performance.

arrow imageA model, who is a professional with integrity, thereby serving as a good role model.

Mentor with students

Being a mentor can be a personally fulfilling experience, one in which the mentor benefits at least as much as the mentee. The rewards continue long after one's student becomes one's colleague, oftentimes for a lifetime.

arrow imageMentoring at UCSC

arrow imageMentoring Suggestions