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Qualities of a Good Mentor

A good mentor:

  • Has a willingness to organize and structure the mentoring relationship instead of relying exclusively on the student taking the initiative to schedule appointments and seek consultation
  • Allocates sufficient time for the advising relationship and has the availability to meet and interact on a regular basis with students
  • Promotes collaboration between faculty and students in research and advising, which includes clear definitions of roles, expectations, and responsibilities
  • Is attentive to the importance of good communication in building a strong working relationship with students
  • Has an ability to provide constructive feedback in a supportive way that challenges graduate students to improve their skills and strive towards excellence
  • Gives appropriate feedback whenever there is a significant concern and provides guidance on the changes that are necessary
  • Helps graduate students set realistic goals and holds them accountable
  • Displays an appropriate interest in a student’s life without being intrusive and refers students to available campus or community resources whenever this would be helpful
  • Is highly competent and provides technical assistance whenever necessary for a graduate student’s skill development or provides necessary resources
  • Has an awareness of the professional development needs of graduate students at different stages of their careers
  • Is a resource for information on the graduate program, course requirements, qualifying exams, research opportunities, etc.
  • Has sensitivity to cross-cultural issues that affect the advising relationship, including race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status as well as an openness to discussing these with the student as necessary
  • Is involved in all facets of a student’s professional development, including networking, conference presentations, grant writing, assistance with funding whenever possible, job search strategies, etc.
  • Promotes independence and has the ability to see a graduate student’s professional goals and aspirations as valid and legitimate (whether they conform exactly with the hopes and expectations of the adviser or not)
  • Understands how to motivate professionals and applies this knowledge to his/her work with graduate students