Mentorship in Graduate School

Graduate student mentoring is an integral part of student and faculty life in the academy. Mentor/mentee relationships are as different as the people involved, but at the core, the relationship is synergetic, with both parties engaging in an educational, social, and intellectual relationship. In graduate school, you will be mentored as a student, but also at times, e.g. as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant, you may also serve as a mentor to peers and undergraduate students. 

Faculty – Student Mentoring

Mentoring within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering is based on respect, honesty, mutual trust, timeliness and feedback. In the mentor/mentee dyad, faculty focus on teaching the whole student, acclimating the student to the values and norms of the university and their shared discipline, and promoting a sense of belonging. The outcome of a positive mentor-mentee relationship is the growth from student to colleague. Well-mentored graduate students will move on to be great mentors themselves.   

A mentor is more than an advisor, and aspires to support students to grow academically, personally, and professionally. Good graduate school mentors should be careful listeners, actively promote and appreciate diversity, possess and consistently exemplify high ethical standards, recognize the contributions of students in publications and intellectual property, and in certain disciplines, have a strong record of research accomplishments and financial support. Mentors build confidence in students through providing constructive feedback on ideas, helping students to consider new perspectives, connecting the student to resources, and acting as a role model. Mentors support the development of a professional identity; they provide career support through activities such as facilitating networking, providing opportunities to collaborate on projects, and offering other organizational advice related to preparedness for a specific field or discipline.

Community of Mentors

Research suggests one person often cannot provide all the resources a mentee needs, and it is important students are connected to a variety of supporting individuals and mentors across the campus, including faculty within and outside their discipline, other graduate students, administrators and alumni or professionals in the field of interest.  

Mentorship Resources

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering connect students to resources on campus, and supports the Mentoring Circles program sponsored by the Post-doctoral Association and Graduate Student Council. Speakers, panels, and workshops are offered on the topic, and students should be sure to check the Professional Development Events Calendar to see what's offered each semester. Graduate Students can learn more about mentorship resources in their home departments through their department administrators, and work with the Tufts Career Center to develop their career goals.