Mentoring: A Guide for Faculty

Effective mentoring begins with the faculty. From the UW Graduate School’s work with a range of departments, we have learned that mentoring is best when graduate students and faculty share responsibility for ensuring the quality of such support. A working relationship between you and your mentees is an essential part of academic success. A growing body of research shows that a good mentoring relationship also is conducive to the mentor’s own success.

This guide will help faculty members enhance their knowledge of the mentoring process — the elements, roles and stages of development associated with it — along with strategies for nurturing rewarding relationships with graduate students. Because mentoring is a two-way street, we have also developed a companion guide for graduate students. Mentoring is the key to success for all those involved in graduate education, and we hope these resources will be useful for faculty, students and staff alike.

The themes and recommendations in this guide are derived from several respected sources. First, we consulted resources and materials from our peer institutions and adapted many aspects of mentoring handbooks developed by the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan. Their themes resonated well with our own campus experience. We also drew on findings from national studies and initiatives, such as the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Responsive Ph.D. Initiative and the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. Closer to home, we incorporated many insights from students, faculty, and staff who have participated in the Graduate School’s Preparing Future Faculty Initiative and the Re-envisioning the Ph.D. project, both funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

This guide for faculty and the companion version for graduate students are part of a collection of resources the Graduate School has developed to enrich mentoring. In addition to these guides, the Graduate School’s Office of Student Affairs is also a resource to faculty for questions that may arise.

We wish you every success in the challenging and rewarding experience of mentoring graduate students.