Your Faculty Mentor
You and your Ph.D. mentor share the responsibility for establishing a relationship that contributes to the successful pursuit of your graduate degree. Your mentoring relationship should reflect mutual respect, fairness, collegiality, honesty and open communication. The following guidelines outline the ideal responsibilities of each party in the mentoring relationship. Of course, both you and your mentor must expect a degree of real-world accommodation to these specifications.
The Ideal Mentor:
- Reads and returns work promptly, with constructive comments.
- Develops with the student a list of short- and long-term research and professional goals.
- Clarifies expectations and policies.
- Communicates regularly about research progress,scheduling changes, and workshops or seminars that will aid in the student’s professional development.
- Provides students with opportunities to develop and practice professional skills required for research, teaching and service.
- Helps students develop an innovative dissertation topic.
- Helps students develop a marketable job dossier.
- Supports the variety of professional interests a student may have in research, industry, teaching and service.
- Facilitates networking.
- Knows course and milestone requirements.
- Treats students respectfully as future colleagues.
- Encourages students, and provides emotional and moral support.
The Ideal Student:
- Chooses his or her mentor thoughtfully and wisely by becoming familiar with the professor’s research and professional interests.
- Has developed short- and long-term professional and research goals, and shares these goals with his or her mentor.
- Is aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses.
- Submits work promptly and comes to meetings prepared with specific goals, questions and tasks to be accomplished in that meeting.
- Communicates regularly with faculty about his or her progress, changes in focus, and professional needs.
- Asks for clarification of the mentor’s expectations and policies.
- Respects the mentor’s time and reputation.
- Asks the mentor for information and advice about workshops that will enhance professional development.
- Knows the requirements for the degree program, and asks the mentor for help in successfully completing those requirements.
- Takes the mentor’s advice seriously.
These guidelines were created for a workshop offered by The Graduate School during the fall 2008 Graduate Student Orientation. Mentoring Relationships for USC Graduate Students brochure.