By answering these questions, students begin to define the kinds of mentoring they need while faculty begin to define the kind of mentor they want to be and identify the building blocks for developing productive relationships with graduate students.

Ultimately, your vision will clarify the expectations you have about mentoring. Use Worksheet 1, Mentor Expectations to help you think about what you expect from a mentoring relationship.

Students

Enhanced self-knowledge helps you articulate your goals and choose the people whose personality, expertise, and style are best suited to your needs.

To develop a vision of the kinds of mentors you should seek, reflect on others who served as mentors earlier in your life and answer candidly the following questions:

  • What kind of mentoring have I received in the past? Was it work-related? School-related? Both?
  • Would I describe my past mentoring relationships as collegial ones (as equals or near equals) or apprenticeship ones? What does this difference mean to me now? Which do I prefer at this stage of my professional development?
  • What did I find most useful about the mentoring I received? What did I find least useful?
  • How does the mentoring I received compare to the kind that others received who were different from me in terms of race, gender, age, ability, or family background?
  • How well would the mentoring I received in the past apply to my graduate school circumstances now? How might I need to alter my expectations?
  • What kind of mentoring did I not receive earlier that would be particularly helpful to me now?

Faculty

To develop a vision of the kind of mentor you would like to be, reflect on your days as a graduate student and answer candidly the following questions:

  • What kind of mentoring did I receive?
  • How did it compare to the mentoring received by students who were different from me in race, gender, age, ability, or family background?
  • What did I find helpful and unhelpful about the mentoring I received?
  • How well would the mentoring I received apply to the graduate student population today?
  • How well did my mentors help me progress developmentally through my graduate program?
  • How do the people and questions in my field today present challenges that differ from when I was in graduate school?
  • How well did my mentors prepare me for my career?
  • What kinds of mentoring did I not receive that would have been helpful to me?