A handbook for faculty mentors


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A handbook for faculty mentors

  1. 1. Paulo Freire on Mentoring:“The fundamental task of the mentor is a liberatory task. It is not to encourage thementor’s goals and aspirations and dreams to be reproduced in the mentees, thestudents, but to give rise to the possibility that the students become the owners oftheir own history. This is how I understand the need that teachers have totranscend their merely instructive task and to assume the ethical posture of amentor who truly believes in the total autonomy, freedom, and development ofthose he or she mentors.” From Mentoring the Mentor 1
  2. 2. Table of ContentsA Note from Dean Childers ..................................................................................3Introduction and Acknowledgements..................................................................4What is a Mentor? ..................................................................................................5Why Be a Mentor?..................................................................................................7Common Misconceptions about Mentoring ........................................................9What Does a Faculty Mentor Do? ......................................................................10How Do I Begin Mentoring? ................................................................................16Establishing Your Mentoring Relationship.........................................................17Developing Professional Relationships...............................................................19Mentoring in a Diverse Community...................................................................21 Common Themes Across Groups............................................................................. 21 Themes Particular to Specific Groups...................................................................... 25 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer (LGBTQ) Graduate Students...................... 25 Returning Graduate Students............................................................................................................ 26 Students with Working Class Backgrounds................................................................................... 27 Women Graduate Students .............................................................................................................. 29 Students with Disabilities ................................................................................................................... 30 Graduate Students with Family Responsibilities ........................................................................... 32 Underrepresented Minority Graduate Students .......................................................................... 33Wrapping It Up ....................................................................................................37Graduate Division Contacts ................................................................................39Works Cited and Consulted................................................................................42 2
  3. 3. A Note from Dean ChildersDear Colleagues:Congratulations on being selected to UC Riverside’s new Mentor Program. I am excitedto welcome you to the launch of a project I see as essential to the success of graduatestudents across the curriculum.Mentors have always played a crucial role in the accomplishments of graduate students,and here at UCR, faculty have embraced that responsibility. This year, we are fortunate tohave the resources to create mentoring teams that include both faculty and graduatestudents. In doing so, I believe we have begun to create a kind of mentoring relationshipthat will help our diverse population achieve great successes.Mentoring styles are many and varied, and I know that most of you have had experiencementoring a wide range of students. The purpose of this guide is not to interfere withyour understanding of the mentoring process, but rather to provide support for the skillsyou have, remind you of details and situations you may have forgotten, and provideresources specific to UCR so that you might utilize them in your mentoring. We alsohope that this will be a helpful tool for those who are new to mentoring in anenvironment as diverse as that of UCR.In this first year of our mentoring program, I urge you to track carefully your processes,progress, and successes so that we can reproduce your efforts in the future. All of yourfeedback is important both to me and to those others whose work has contributed to thisbeginning, a beginning I hope together we can turn into an ongoing championing of thegraduate community.I appreciate the time you take to read this guide, your commitment to your professionaldevelopment, and your dedication to the rewarding work of mentoring your fellowgraduate students.Joe ChildersGraduate DeanUCR 3
  4. 4. Introduction and AcknowledgementsIn putting together this UCR mentoring handbook, we consulted resources and materialsfrom multiple peer institutions. We adapted many aspects of mentoring handbooksdeveloped by the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Nebraska, Lincoln,Washington University, and others. Their themes resonated well with our own campusexperience. UCR’s graduate students, faculty, and staff were likewise instrumental inadding to our handbook their insights and experience. Finally, much of this informationwas borrowed from the UCR website.Like most program rollouts, ours is experimental and subject to change. We hope to gainfrom this initial foray into mentoring the kind of information most readily available fromthe ground zero perspective. This handbook will change and grow as our programdevelops and our goals and outcomes become clearer. It will improve as both mentorsand mentees provide us with accounts of triumphs and failures, of challenges andsolutions, of ideas and innovations. 4
  5. 5. What is a Mentor?Most university professors already assume therole of advisor to graduate students in theirdepartments or programs. The role of advisor isgenerally focused on academic progress, but therole of mentor requires more than advising.Effective mentoring involves playing a moreexpansive role in the development of a futurecolleague, a role centered on a commitment toadvancing the student’s career through an interpersonal engagement that facilitatessharing guidance, experience, and expertise.Like any interpersonal relationship, the one between mentor and student will evolve overtime, with its attendant share of adjustments. The fact that today’s students come from anincreasingly diverse backgrounds may add a layer of complexity, but that addeddimension of difference is more likely to enrich than confound the relationship.New graduate students, in particular, may express the desire for a mentor with whom theycan personally identify, but their eventual level of satisfaction with their mentors seemsto have little to do with this aspect of the relationship. This confirms the important pointthat you can be a successful mentor even if you and your student don’t share similarbackgrounds. Of course, each mentoring relationship should be tailored to the student’sgoals, needs and learning style, but the core principles apply across the board. What youand the student share – a commitment to the goals of the scholarly enterprise and a desireto succeed – is far more powerful and relevant than whatever might seem to divide you.Just as students have different learning styles, the skill sets and aptitudes of mentors areas varied as mentors themselves. There is no foolproof recipe. Our intent is to help youbecome a successful mentor in your own way. 5
  6. 6. Faculty Mentors in the UCR Mentoring program have multiple responsibilities:• They interact with, advise, and mentor two Peer Mentors and four Graduate Mentees.• They take an interest in developing another person’s career and well-being.• They have an interpersonal as well as a professional relationship with those whom they mentor.• They advance a person’s academic and professional goals in directions most desired by the individual.• They tailor mentoring styles and content to individuals, including adjustments due to differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic opportunity, physical ability or any other.• They share stories with students about their own educational careers and the ways they overcame obstacles.• They help students manage interaction with professors both in class and during office hours.• They show students how they learned time management.• They listen to students describe personal problems and explore resources at the university to deal with problems.• They help new students understand how to use academic resources at the university. 6
  7. 7. Why Be a Mentor? Mentoring benefits new students: • It supports their advancement in research activity, conference presentations, publication, pedagogical skill, and grant-writing. • Students are less likely to feel ambushed by potential bumps in the road, having been alerted to them and provided resources for dealing with stressful or difficult periods in their graduate careers. • The experiences and networks their mentors help them to accrue may improve the students’ prospects of securing professional placement. • The knowledge that someone is committed to their progress, someone who can give them solid advice, can help to lower stress and build confidence. • Constructive interaction with a mentor and participation in collective activities he or she arranges promote engagement in the field. And it rewards mentors in an abundance of ways: • Your mentees will engage you in their research, which will keep you abreast of new knowledge and techniques and apprise you of promising avenues for your own research. • A faculty member’s reputation rests in part on the work of his or her former students; sending successful new scholars into the field increases your professional stature. • Good students will be attracted to you. Word gets around about who the best mentors are, so they are usually the most likely to recruit – and retain – outstanding students. • Your networks are enriched. Helping students make the professional and personal connections they need to succeed will greatly extend your own circle of colleagues. • It’s personally satisfying. Seeing your mentees succeed can be very rewarding. 7
  8. 8. Effective mentoring advances the discipline because these students often begin makingsignificant contributions long before they complete their graduate degrees. Such studentsare more likely to have productive, distinguished, and ethical careers that reflect credit ontheir mentors and enrich the discipline. Effective mentoring helps to ensure the quality ofresearch, scholarship and teaching well into the future. 8
  9. 9. Common Misconceptions aboutMentoring  Misconception: In a university, you need to be an older person with gray hair (or no hair) to be a good mentor.  Reality: In a university, mentors can be young or old. Some of the most outstanding mentors of students are young faculty and fellow students.  Misconception: By calling yourself a “Mentor,” you become a mentor.  Reality: Mentors are those who have developed consciousness about mentoring and in their interactions with students demonstrate respect, patience, trustworthiness, and strong communication skills, especially listening skills.  Misconception: Mentoring programs at universities only are for high-achieving students.  Reality: All students need mentors, particularly those students who don’t have academic role models or mentors in their families or communities. Mentoring opportunities in graduate education provides students with necessary support services to help them succeed academically and serve their communities. Thus, central to the mission of the UCR Mentoring Program is the practice of mentoring to ensure that the university meets this responsibility for all of its students.  Misconception: Only the person being mentored benefits from mentoring.  Reality: By definition, mentoring is a reciprocal relationship where both the mentor and mentor learn from each other. True mentors are those who have developed the wisdom to learn from those they mentor. 9
  10. 10. What Does a Faculty Mentor Do?The mentor’s duties begin with the first meeting and extend through the first year of thementee’s graduate program. The mentor’s duties go well beyond helping students learnwhat is entailed in the research and writing components of graduate school. First andforemost, mentors socialize students into the culture of the discipline, clarifying andreinforcing—both by example and verbally—what is expected of a professional scholar.Here are some of the basic responsibilities mentors have to those graduate students whoseek their guidance. • Make a Commitment: Those who wish to become faculty mentors are asked to commit to mentoring students for at least one year. • Demystify graduate school. Many aspects of graduate education are unwritten or vague, and the ability of new students to understand them is hampered by the fact that they frequently do not know what questions to ask or what certain terminology means. Mentors can help by adjusting conversations accordingly and clarifying each program’s expectations for lab work, coursework, comprehensive exams, research topics, and teaching. For each stage of the student’s program, discuss the prevailing norms and criteria used to define quality performance. • Model professional responsibility. It is crucial that the mentor consciously act with integrity in every aspect of his or her work as teacher, researcher, and author. Students must see that their mentors recognize and avoid conflicts of interest, collect and use data responsibly, fairly award authorship credit, cite source materials appropriately, use research funds ethically, and treat animal or human research subjects properly. This list is not meant to be 10
  11. 11. exhaustive: never compromising the standards that bestow validity on the discipline is not a suggested guideline but essential to the profession. Encourage the effective use of time. Work with the student on developing schedules and meeting benchmarks. Share techniques and practices that have been useful for others but don’t insist there is only one way. Rather, help them blaze their own trail and devise a plan that keeps them on it. For many students, the shift from the highly structured nature of undergraduate education to the self-direction that is expected in graduate school presents a significant challenge. • Promote skill development: Help your mentee(s) to expand and improve academic and career skills. Work together to learn how to accomplish specific goals (e.g., refining research skills or brainstorming for a project or assignment). When and where appropriate, emphasize educational or career management skills, such as decision-making, goal setting, dealing with conflict, values clarification, and skills for coping with stress and fear.• Oversee professional development. Activities that have become second nature to you need to be made explicit to students, such as faculty governance and service, directing a lab, procuring grants, managing budgets, and being able to explain your research to anyone outside your discipline. Mentors help their students become full-fledged members of a profession and not just researchers. Assist mentee(s) in accessing academic and university resources. Provide information — or better yet, help your mentee(s) to find information about academic resources (faculty, staff, academic support services, student organizations, etc.). Assist your mentee(s) in learning how to access and use these resources. Don’t assume that just because new graduate students know where their professors’ offices are that they also understand how to talk to their professors or how to choose an exams or dissertation committee. 11
  12. 12. • Enhance your mentees’ ability to interact comfortably and productively with people/groups from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Contrary to popular belief, we are not “all the same.” It is important to acknowledge and understand, not ignore, our differences. We need to learn how to use our differences as resources for growth. Respecting our differences is necessary but not sufficient; we need to know how to negotiate our differences in ways that produce new understandings and insights. Everyone holds particular preconceptions and stereotypes about one’s own group and other groups. Take special care that you are not (intentionally or unintentionally) promoting your own views and values at the expense of your mentees’ viewpoints. Work at understanding and critically examining your own perspectives on race, sex, ethnicity, culture, class, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Your own willingness to interact with individuals and groups different from yourself will make a powerful statement about the value placed on diversity.• Assist with finding other mentors. One size doesn’t fit all, and one mentor can’t provide all the guidance and support that every student needs. Introduce students to faculty, emeriti, alumni, staff and other graduate students who have complementary interests. Effective mentoring is a community effort.• Be a good listener: Listen, Listen, Listen. Ask about your mentee(s) questions or problems and really listen to the answers. Let them vent their fears, frustrations and other important feelings, maintaining eye contact and showing that you’re interested in what they have to say. Resist the urge to give advice too soon.• Maintain Confidentiality: Students will be encouraged to come to faculty mentors for issues they cannot resolve with their peer mentors or that they feel would be better addressed by faculty mentors: these conversations should remain confidential. However, there might be occasions when a problem arises that the 12
  13. 13. faculty mentor is not equipped to deal with. These cases include psychological crises, major problems in the degree process, situations requiring the aid of a trained counselor, or any other case in which the faculty mentor feels is beyond his or her expertise. In such cases, the faculty mentor should consult with the student about his or her options, including the consultation of an outside source for additional advice. This may require that mentee’s give permission for a faculty mentor to share information pertinent in solving a problem.The fundamental rubric for mentors is to be partial to the student but impartial about thestudent’s work.Clarity is the foundation upon which such a relationship is built. Be transparent aboutboth your expectations concerning the form and function of the relationship and aboutwhat’s reasonable to expect of you and what isn’t. Pay particular attention to boundaries,both personal and professional, and respect theirs just as you expect them to respectyours.Within mutually agreeable limits, mentors have an open door. Because your time is sovaluable, it is often the most precious thing you can give. What lies behind that door,literally and figuratively, should be a haven of sorts. Give students your full attentionwhen they are talking with you, and the time and encouragement to open up. Try tominimize interruptions. Consider scheduling an occasional meeting away from the officeor department to help create more personalized time.Use concrete language to critique students’ work. What the mentor communicates withthe students must be timely, clear, and, above all, constructive. Critical feedback isessential, but it is more likely to be effective if tempered with praise when deserved.Remind students that you are holding them to high standards in order to help themimprove.Mentors keep track of their students’ progress and achievements, setting milestones andacknowledging accomplishments. Let your students know from the start that you wantthem to succeed, and create opportunities for them to demonstrate their competencies. 13
  14. 14. When you feel a student is prepared, suggest or nominate him or her for fellowships,projects, and teaching opportunities.Encourage students to try new techniques, expand their skills, and discuss their ideas,even those they fear might seem naive or unworkable. Let students know that mistakesare productive because we learn from our failures. These practices nurture self-sufficiency. As tempting as it can be to dictate paths, the person in front of you hasdifferent strengths and aspirations.Provide support in times of discouragement as well as success, and be mindful of signs ofemotional and physical distress. Don’t assume that the only students who need help arethose who ask for it. If a student is falling behind in his or her work, resist concludingthat this shows a lack of commitment. Perhaps the student is exhausted, or unclear aboutwhat to do next, or is uncomfortable with some aspect of the project or research team.Although it is ultimately the responsibility of students to initiate contact with you, it maymake a difference if you get in touch with those students who are becoming remote. Letthem know they are welcome to talk with you during your office hours, and that theconversation can include nonacademic as well as academic issues.Being open and approachable is particularly important when a student is shy or comesfrom a different cultural background. Many new students suffer from the impostorsyndrome – anxiety about whether they belong in graduate school – so it’s important toreassure them of their skills and abilities to succeed. The enthusiasm and optimism youshow can be inspirational. Make sure that students understand not only the personalconsequences of their commitment to their work, but also its value to the professionalcommunity and to the general public.Share what you’ve learned as both a scholar and a member of a profession. You mightthink things are obvious to students that aren’t. At the same time, tell your students whatyou learn from them. This will make them realize they are potential colleagues.Identify professional workshops and networking opportunities for students. Involvestudents in editing, journal activities, conference presentations, and grant writing. 14
  15. 15. Of course, it isn’t necessary to embody all of these attributes in order to be a successfulmentor. Individuals have relative strengths in their capacity for mentoring, and mentorsshould be clear about what they can and cannot offer. Part of effective mentoring isknowing when to refer someone to another resource that might be more helpful.Most important and more than any particular piece of advice or supportive act, yourstudents will remember how they were treated. The example you set as a person will havea profound effect on how they conduct themselves as professionals.     15
  16. 16. How Do I BeginMentoring?You were likely mentored in some fashion, so you may find it a useful starting point tothink about how you felt (or feel) about your own mentoring. Consider these questions:• What kind of mentoring did you have?• What did you like and dislike about the mentoring you received?• How well did your mentor(s) help you progress through your graduate program?• How well did your mentor(s) prepare you for your academic career?• What did you not receive in the way of mentoring that would have been helpful to you?Thinking about these points can help you develop a vision of the kind of mentor you wantto be and the most effective ways you can mentor students both inside and outside yourdiscipline.You likely met, or will meet, your peer mentors and your graduate mentees at a socialgathering before the academic year begins. Follow up by contacting them by email or byphone. You will receive contact information for each one of them. Invite each one ofyour mentees to a brief individual meeting so you can get to know one other and establishyour relationshipsIn the companion mentoring guide for graduate student mentees, GENERALGUIDELINES FOR GRADUATE MENTEES, we suggest that they undertake a criticalself-appraisal before they meet with both faculty and peer mentors. Below is a modifiedversion of this list for you to consider discussing at your first meeting. 16
  17. 17. • Find out about your mentee’s previous educational experiences and why he or she decided to go to graduate school. What does the student hope to achieve in pursuing a graduate degree? • Discuss your research projects and how they complement or diverge from your mentee’s interests. • Offer suggestions about courses the student might consider, labs that might be appropriate, and other training experiences she or he could seek. • Refer the student to other people inside or outside the University whom she or he should meet in order to begin developing professional networks.Establishing Your Mentoring Relationship.You and your mentees need to communicate clearly from the start about your respective roles and responsibilities. Some people find it helpful to put such arrangements in writing, while recognizing that circumstances and needs can change. Here are a few areas you may want to discuss. • Goals: Ask students to develop and share with you a work plan that includes short-term and long-term goals as well as the timeframe for reaching those goals. Make sure the student’s work plan both meets the program’s requirements and is feasible. • Meetings: There is a structured set of four meetings scheduled between you and your peer mentors and graduate mentees for the first quarter. You should invite your mentees to meet with you alone sometime in the first two weeks of the quarter and then again near the end, but other meetings will likely be necessary. Tell students how frequently you will be able to meet with them, and that it is their responsibility to arrange and take the lead in any extra meetings they need or want. Let them know your own schedule and limitations. 17
  18. 18. • Thresholds: Be explicit about the kinds of issues you feel require a face-to-face meeting. Also let students know if they may contact you at home, and under what circumstances, and ask them their preferences as well.   • Drafts: If you agree to read their work, discuss your expectations of what first drafts should look like before they are submitted to you. If you do not want read drafts, suggest they share their work first with a trusted peer or writing group.The hallmark of a successful mentoring relationship is a shared understanding ofexpectations and responsibilities. These create the framework for the relationship, andthey are largely established in the early meetings with a student. A relatively modestinvestment in those meetings can yield great dividends. 18
  19. 19. Developing ProfessionalRelationshipsWhile graduate students deserve your support and attention,the specific needs of a first-year student just learning the ropesand fretting about the long and challenging road ahead aredifferent from those of a student who is nearing completion ofthe dissertation and has refocused on career decisions. Here,the apprenticeship model of nineteenth-century graduateeducation is insufficient. The responsibility of the twenty-first-century mentor is to assistin the development of the next generation of scholars and researchers, and that requires arelationship of ever-growing collegiality.The greatest challenge that faculty face with incoming graduate students is helping themmake the transition from the format of undergraduate education – the short-term goals,predictable closure and tight structure of course work – to the unfamiliar, looselystructured, and relatively open-ended world of lab, research and dissertation. Mentorssometimes need to be directive, maintain a short-term focus, and assign concrete tasksand deadlines.As students become more proficient with the basics, good mentors pay increasingattention to their progress both as researchers, by acting as a consultant or soundingboard, and as professionals, by socializing them into the culture of their disciplines.The former means suggesting lines of inquiry and options for solving problems anddiscussing potential outcomes. The latter means encouraging the development ofcommunication and networking skills by providing opportunities for teaching, writing,and presenting.Good mentors help students gradually understand how their objectives fit into theparticular graduate degree program, departmental life, and postgraduate options. As therelationship evolves, mentors expect and encourage their students to accept increasing 19
  20. 20. responsibility and more complex challenges. It’s essential to keep in mind that thedoctoral program is the beginning rather than the sum of the student’s career. Thementor’s “end game” requires assisting the student in successfully launching that career.In particular, mentors need to understand that it is much harder today to find a tenure-track position or even, in many fields, any full-time faculty position. This makes thementor’s guidance, encouragement, networking and promotion of the student morecritical than ever. If the relationship is, indeed, lifelong, then opportunities to providesuch assistance don’t end with the completion of the degree.In other fields, the majority of graduate students will pursue non-academic positions. Inworking with them the mentor’s function goes beyond the promotion of academicsuccess, and so the mentor must be open minded about the students’ career interests andpaths, and help them to explore those options outside the academic world if that is wheretheir interests lie.The influence that research supervisors wield over their students is enormous; they aretruly the gatekeepers of the student’s professional future. The effective mentor serves asadvocate and guide, empowering the student to move from novice to professional. 20
  21. 21. Mentoring in a Diverse Community The conventional categorization of students as traditional and non- traditional has outlived its usefulness. Graduate education is continually evolving: content and practices have changed over the decades and so have the students. If we put women, students from historically underrepresented groups, internationalstudents, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, students economically andeducationally disadvantaged, and students with children all in one category, it wouldconstitute the majority of graduate students in the U.S. The diversity of those in graduateeducation has forced us to consider what is worth preserving and transmitting, and whatis rooted in assumptions about homogeneity and should be adapted or discarded.Research on the role that social identity plays in an individual’s ability to succeed ingraduate school indicates that there are issues that call for attention and thoughtfulness onthe part of their mentors.Common Themes Across GroupsThe Imposter Syndrome At one time or another nearly every graduate student wonders about his or her competence: “Sure, I got into grad school, but it is just a matter of time before (insert bad news here: I am exposed, I get kicked out, they find their mistake, or I fail.) I am obviously not as smart as everyone else, and that will soon become obvious.” Often, even new faculty members suffer from the imposter syndrome, wondering if the first or the second published article was a fluke, if it is possible to repeat the kind of success they have had. The impostor syndrome runs rampant in academia—and women and minority students are especially prone to it. The impostor syndrome is the feeling of being an intellectual fraud, and it is particularly rife among high achieving persons. It is characterized by the inability to 21
  22. 22. accept one’s successes: denying accomplishments, awards, and academic excellence as well as dismissing success as simply luck, good timing, or perseverance. Those who suffer from Imposter Syndrome believe that they have only fooled people into accepting them into their university or program. They deem themselves less capable than others believe. This, of course, is not true. What it is, however, is damaging to a graduate student’s self-esteem, and therefore, to his or her productivity. The Imposter Syndrome perpetuates an unwillingness to contribute to discussions or to take reasonable risks in research projects for fear of being found out. Realistic and accurate assessments of performance are essential to eliminating the imposter syndrome. It is difficult, however, to help sufferers because they often just believe that you are fooled too. You might try documenting the successes of your mentee, including the specific actions that led to the success. Note the experience and qualities that the mentee brings to the University. When your mentee seems particularly doubtful of his or her performance, you can remind him or her of the details of the recent success. Sharing your own feelings about intellectual pressure will help. Knowing that most people question their abilities allows new sufferers to look past this emotional barrier.• Need for Role Models: Students from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups have a harder time finding faculty role models who might have had experiences similar to their own. Help establish relationships between your mentee and faculty and graduate students in your department whose experiences might resonate with your mentee’s. At the same time, never forget that you can provide excellent mentoring to students whose backgrounds are different from your own.• Questioning the Canons: Students from underrepresented or marginalized groups, particularly those in the social sciences and humanities, sometimes find that their research interests do not fit into the current academic canons. Some fear that when they select research questions focusing on race, gender, class, or sexual orientation, 22
  23. 23. faculty will deem their work irrelevant, and others will see them as being only interested in these topics for the rest of their professional careers. More commonly, they find that their experiences are missing from current theory and research. If you are open to hearing students’ experiences and perspectives, and if you ask where a student’s research interests lie rather than making assumptions about them based on the student’s personal characteristics or past work, students will realize that their choices are really their own. If they choose to do research in areas like race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, you can support them by letting them know how investigating these areas helps to expand disciplines. Direct them to the many interdisciplinary programs and research centers across campus that may provide them with a community of scholars whose interests intersect with their own.• Feelings of Isolation. Students from historically underrepresented groups and international students can feel particularly isolated or alienated from other students in their departments, especially if the composition of the current program is homogenous. Be aware of students who seem to be finding it particularly difficult to take active roles in academic or social settings and take the initiative to include them. Ask them about their research interests, hobbies and activities outside of their program. Introduce your student to other students and faculty with complementary interests. Remind students of the wealth of organizations within or outside the University that might provide them with a sense of community. • Burden of Being a Spokesperson. Students from underrepresented groups often expend a lot of time and energy speaking up when issues such as race, class, gender, ability, status, or sexual orientation arise – or are being ignored. Support your mentees’ experience of difference. Listen to them explain how race, gender, or other characteristics provide different perspectives from those being expressed. 23
  24. 24. • Concern about speaking up in class. Certain conditions may be greater obstacles for some students than for others. For example, research has shown that an overly competitive and critical atmosphere in graduate programs can alienate women and minority students as the system often does not reward praising the contributions of non-traditional scholars. Stay attuned to what’s happening in class.• Suffering from stereotypes. Few of us go through life without suffering the experience of others’ assumptions, and it still is challenging to displace that nineteenth-century gentleman scholar as the typical graduate student. While each identity group may face different issues and experiences, all students from that group will not share the same thoughts and perspectives. Social class, geographic origin, economic status, health and a wealth of other factors also play an important role in shaping behaviors and attitudes. Recognizing each student’s unique strengths and scholarly promise will go far to eliminate stereotypes. 24
  25. 25. Themes Particular to Specific Groups Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer (LGBTQ) Graduate Students LGBTQ students say that it is not uncommon to encounter homophobia in the classroom. Remarks can range from the blatantly offensive to the lessobvious such as “that is so gay.” Some LGBTQ students are out about their sexualorientation or gender identities and easy to identify. Others are invisible, and thesestudents become a challenge to mentor because they do not feel comfortable, or they donot think it appropriate, to reveal their identities. If  you  assume  there  are  LGBTQ  students  present  who  may  not  feel  safe  in  being  out,  you  will  fare  better  at  making  these  students  feel  that  the  university  both  values  and  welcomes  them.  Try  to  be  sensitive  to  whether  anti-­‐gay  comments  are  being  made,  and  discuss  how  they  may  be  offensive  to  other  students  in  the  class  or  discussion,  even  when  you  don’t  think  there  are  any  LGBT  students  in  the  room.  Be  aware  that  examples  you  and  others  in  the  class  are  using  may  be  based  on  heterosexual  experiences.  For  example,  when  talking  about  families,  don’t  talk  as  if  every  family  is  composed  of  a  husband,  wife,  and  children.  Simply  using  a  word  like  “spouse  and  partner”  instead  of  just  “spouse”  can  go  a  long  way  in  making  LGBT  students  (and  unmarried  students)  feel  they  are   represented  in  the  discussion. Being out as an LGBTQ student (or faculty) is not a one-time event, but instead is a decision the person experiences each time she or he enters a new situation. LGBTQ students face a burden of having to assess the personal, social and political ramifications of disclosing their sexual orientation each time they do so. Since heterosexual students do not have todisclose their sexuality, only LGBTQ students face these physically and emotionallydraining experiences. 25
  26. 26. Returning Graduate Students Returning students are more mature than the traditional graduate student. Their reasons for returning to school vary from work demands, to personal satisfaction, to having finally met family or economic obligations that kept them from enrolling earlier. Regardless of the motivation to return to school, it is common for returning students to be more focused and aware of what they want out of graduate school than their younger colleagues. Perhaps one of their biggest assets is they are not intimidated by the prospects of engaging in discussions with faculty. Yet older students who have been out of school for a number of years can fear competing with their younger counterparts. They may see the younger students as being more up-to-date on the current issues within their disciplines and as having more computer experience. They often say that their real life experiences are devalued in the classroom, contradicted by the research and theory they are studying. Feelings of isolation sometimes affect returning students. Because of the age differences between them and their peers, many older students no longer want to be in the places where younger students go to relax and socialize; that, compounded with their feeling that some faculty are much more comfortable with the younger students than with them, drives feelings of isolation. Reaching out to older students shows your interest. Find out what they did before they entered their graduate programs and how their life experiences might be relevant to the classroom setting. Welcome and value the special contributions older students make in class discussions. 26
  27. 27. Students with Working Class Backgrounds Students from working-class backgrounds often do not have family members they can turn to for monetary support through graduate school. In addition, some students have the responsibility of financially supporting parents, siblings, or other relatives. These graduate students are aware they may not have or know how to develop professional networks as effectively as their peers who come from more advantaged backgrounds (especially those who grew up within academic families). This disparity is most visible when they attend conferences or when they seek summer employment. These graduate students also see a progressive disparity in what they and their more advantaged peers can do during the summer. The latter, because of their families’ financial assistance and their enhanced access to professional networks, can more easily afford and secure internships which provide them with further professional development. In contrast, students from working-class backgrounds may need to work in better paying jobs which are far removed from their graduate studies. Thus, students from working-class backgrounds feel they are falling behind in their graduate careers by not having more relevant job experiences over the summer. In addition, they fear some professors may not understand their financial situations and mistakenly assume they are less seriously involved in their academic work than more advantaged students. Once assimilated into their disciplines, students can often find it is both more difficult to talk to their families and old friends about their work and for families and friends to understand their new endeavors. This communication gap can make students feel like they are no longer able to live within their old worlds, but they are not yet comfortable in their new worlds. Working class students generally want upward mobility and want to take on a middle-class identity, but generally, they dont want to 27
  28. 28. jettison all of their working-class identity, relations, or values. For example,working-class people value independence—being able to do tasks alone; they valuecommunity—extended family and neighbors; they value frugality and are bynecessity recyclers and anti-consumerist; and they value respect for elders andauthority. This is neither to say that these qualities are always mainstay in working-class families, nor is it to say they are absent in middle and upper class families, butrather to point to strengths apparent in the working-class that might be valued asmaintainable aspects of personal history. Acknowledging and supporting thesestrengths as viable tools with which to navigate the academy and beyond will go farto encourage working-class students. Sharing these values with middle-class graduatestudents might help them understand both their working-class classmates and thevalues that they bring with them to the university.If you make an extra effort to introduce these students to the people you know whocould be helpful to them, working class students will learn to build networks. Assistthem in expanding those networks. Not all students have the same academic networksto draw on, so if you hear of funding opportunities, especially for the summer period,pass this information on to your students, especially those you feel most need it. 28
  29. 29. Women Graduate StudentsWhile traditionally females have been raised to be polite and soft-spoken, it is clear that successful graduate students need to assert themselves in classroom discussions. Many women say that they have difficulties in speaking up in class. Too often, they find that in order to say something in class, they have to interrupt another student. Women often see interjecting themselves in this manner as being rude and disrespectful. Some fear that their lack of participation in discussions will be wrongly interpreted as their not having any thoughts at all. On the other hand, other women tell us that when they assertthemselves, they are subjected to criticism in a way that men are not, even though it is thesame behavior.Research has verified that many students, but especially women, can feel alienated by thecompetitive and critical atmosphere that pervades many graduate programs. Women arecertainly capable of being critical of others’ work when they think it is appropriate, butthey think some students are being overly critical in order to appear intellectuallysuperior. Women, and other students, too often see that the system does not reward onefor praising the contributions of other scholars.Reminding students that people interrupt not only to disagree or silence a bad idea, butalso to support or advance exciting new thoughts or ideas helps them see passionatedialogue in a new way. Encouraging your mentees to join into even the most enthusiasticdiscussions helps them feel confident about doing so. Of course, stopping aggressivespeaking behaviors also provides openings for less assertive participants. 29
  30. 30. Students with Disabilities Obviously students with disabilities have different needs and concerns depending upon the types of disability they have. For example, a student who is visually impaired has needs different from a student who uses a wheelchair or a student with a learning disability. Yet students’ needs also vary depending upon whether they have had their disabilities since birth or whether their disabilities developed later in their lives. In this section, we try to deal with issues confronting those students with physical disabilities, those with learning disabilities (such as attention deficit disorder and dyslexia) and those with psychological illnesses (such as depression and bipolar disorder). Students with disabilities often fear that they may appear to be too dependent—or become too dependent—if they ask for help. This is especially true for those who have experienced a fairly recent onset of a disability and are unaccustomed to asking for help, as well as for those who have disabilities that are invisible to others, such as individuals with learning disabilities or chronic psychological illness. For those with physical and learning disabilities, meeting the basic requirements demands much more time and energy than it does for students without disabilities. Some students find they cannot participate in certain professional activities (such as submitting papers for conferences) as much as they would like because they need to devote all their time and energy to meeting the deadlines of their programs. Changes in reading assignments can be very difficult for students who are visually impaired. At the beginning of the semester, students who are blind or severely visually impaired have their readings converted into Braille. Any readings added on at a later date mean they need to make special emergency trips to have these new materials translated in a short period of time. Changes in room locations are also a hardship for visually and physically challenged students. 30
  31. 31. Like LGBTQ students, these students are sometimes invisible. Try suggesting thatanyone with special needs speak to you as soon as possible about what those needsare. Don’t hesitate to ask students with physical disabilities if they need assistance,but don’t force your help upon them. Offering to aid someone is much different fromassuming he or she is incapable of performing a task. Keeping these challenges inmind as you work with these students will make them feel welcome in thecomplicated world of graduate school. 31
  32. 32. Graduate Students withFamily Responsibilities Students with parenting responsibilities are committed to being successful graduate students and feel they can succeed by being highly organized and intensely focused during the blocks of time they carve out for their studies. Unfortunately, these students often feel that some professors and students perceive them as lacking in commitment to their fields because of other priorities in their lives. This situation is exacerbated when an emergency makes it impossible for them to attend classes or meetings. Students with family responsibilities typically need to be home in the evenings to tend to those in their care. Difficulties can emerge in a group project since commonly other students find the evenings the best time to meet. In addition, it is often difficult for students with parenting responsibilities to come back to campus for evening lectures or departmental meetings. As a result, students who cannot attend social, academic, and professional functions can feel isolated from others in their cohort and from their departments as a whole. Planning a departmental social event where it would be appropriate for students, faculty, and staff to bring their children along encourages students with these extra responsibilities. For these events, make sure you pick a time of day when families can attend, and, of course, be sure the invitation specifically states that children are welcome. 32
  33. 33. Underrepresented Minority GraduateStudents Students of color speak passionately about many issues, most of which are covered in the section entitled “Common Themes Across Groups.” Among these issues, the one most often cited was their lack of role models. The few faculty of color at the university level reduces their chances of finding someone in their fields who “looks like them.” Likewise, low numbers of faculty of color convey the message that the academy remains an unwelcoming environment for many who are not white. Many underrepresented students, especially African American and Latino students, sometimes feel other students and faculty assume they are less qualified to be in graduate school. On the other hand, Asian American students are burdened by the “model minority” myth, which assumes they are exemplary students particularly in math and science. Stereotyping in either direction has negative consequences for students of color. Sometimes, underrepresented students are, or feel, overlooked for Graduate Student Instructor and Graduate Student Research Assistant appointments. As a result, these students have fewer opportunities to interact with faculty or to experience the formal and informal mentoring that occurs for student instructors or research assistants. They also miss the teaching and research experiences that strengthen their graduate work and their curricula vitae. Different underrepresented groups face different issues and experiences from other groups, yet we should not assume that all students from one group will share the same thoughts and perspectives. Economic and geographic origin play an important role in 33
  34. 34. shaping people’s behaviors and attitudes. We can help erase stereotypes by refusingto engage in classing students of color in stereotypical ways and instead recognizingeach student’s unique strengths and scholarly promise. Thinking about our ownsocializations and making efforts to increase our awareness will help eliminatecasting students into large groups. 34
  35. 35. • Mentoring Issues Facing Underrepresented Faculty Although this may not be an exhaustive list, we include this information so that you can be aware of some of the faculty issues as well. If you find yourself here, we hope you take some comfort in knowing that the Graduate Division is working to help alleviate the beliefs and practices that contribute to these conditions. If the following situations do not apply to you, please understand that many of your colleagues face these real and persistent challenges on a daily basis. We have likewise included a section like this in the mentee’s handbook so that they will understand the special stresses of underrepresented faculty. Minority and women faculty often mentor a higher number of graduate students than their peers. Students seek them out not only because of their research and professional interests, but also because of their gender or race. As the number of women faculty and faculty of color remains low, these few faculty attract many students. In contrast to this problem, faculty of color, female faculty and LGBT faculty are aware that some graduate students do not select them as mentors because of their marginalized positions in the academy. Graduate students perceive that these faculty wield less power and influence inside and outside their departments. Historically marginalized faculty are therefore seen as being less effective in providing the types of instrumental assistance graduate students need. Sometimes, graduate students seek them out for their counsel but hesitate to use them on committees because of their perceived lower status in the academic community. This puts the extra time commitment of helping graduate students onto faculty who receive no credit for mentoring dissertations or other work. 35
  36. 36. Women faculty can feel that some students expect them to be more nurturing andemotionally supportive than their male counterparts. Junior faculty are in anespecially difficult situation because excessive time spent in mentoring jeopardizesthe amount of time they have to carry on the work needed for promotion. The resultsare dichotomized with women ending up at each end of the spectrum: some complywith these expectations until they have no time for their own work; others, in anattempt to protect their research time, establish such firm boundaries that they seemdetached and emotionally unavailable to students.Some women professors and faculty of color feel that some students question theirlegitimacy as professors because of their race or gender. These faculty state thatstudents challenge their authority in the classroom and generally do not accord themthe same level of respect that they give to other faculty.Forming faculty mentoring groups that encourage and support each other helpsminimize the isolation that often accompanies such frustrations as accompany theseoften unfair situations. These faculty mentoring group members can findopportunities both within and outside the University to highlight the academic workand mentoring skills of a faculty member who is undervalued in your department. 36
  37. 37. Wrapping It UpCertainly, mentors won’t encounter all of the problems presented in the pages above, andcertainly not every person from the groups we have discussed feels the same way aboutall of these issues. We are all products of our environments; we are each unique, but wehope that those issues we have pointed to will help mentors understand as legitimatethose feelings and positions described here.While it may seem that we make accommodations for underrepresented and non-traditional students, let us remember that the original scholar had his accommodationsbuilt into the academic system as it developed. It was a program created to serve a certainselect sector of the public. We condone neither lowering academic standards nor offeringspecial favors; rather, now we work to expand the service area of the university toaccommodate the vast array of students who have opportunities that only a few onceenjoyed.Effective mentoring is good for mentors, good for students, and good for the discipline.You’re probably already doing much of what’s been discussed in the preceding sections:supporting your students in their challenges as well as their successes, assisting theirnavigation of the unfamiliar waters of a doctoral program, and providing a model ofcommitment, productivity and professional responsibility. During the graduateexperience, students are guided toward becoming independent creators of knowledge orusers of research, prepared to be colleagues with their mentors as they complete thedegree program and move on to the next phase of professional life. 37
  38. 38. We have much to learn from our own faculty and students here at UCR. We want toencourage ongoing conversation about mentoring and diversity issues within theGraduate School, and we welcome your participation in that discussion. Feel free tocontact Kim Palmore, Director, Professional Development by phone at 951-683-6113 orby email at kim.palmore@ucr.edu with any comments and suggestions you have. 38
  39. 39. Graduate Division ContactsGraduate Division100 University Office Building951-827-4302Joseph W. ChildersGraduate Deangraddean@ucr.eduKen BaerenklauAssociate Dean, Graduate Academic AffairsResponsibilities include petitions, employment, grievances, academic integrity andprofessional development. ken.baerenklau@ucr.eduLeah HaimoAssociate Dean, Recruitment and OutreachResponsibilities include graduate student recruitment and outreach, supervision ofUCLEADS and AGEP programs.leah.haimo@ucr.eduBette QuinnAssistant DeanChief staff officer, budget control (graduate student financial aid and departmentalbudget)bette.quinn@ucr.eduVirginia BustamanteGraduate Council CoordinatorManages administrative matters of the Graduate Council that include graduate programreviews, new graduate program proposals, graduate program changes, catalog copy andcourse proposalsvirginia.bustamante@ucr.eduAccounting AssistantProcesses staff employment, payroll—all departmental accounting functions. 39
  40. 40. Yung PhungSenior Administrative AnalystGraduate Support Management Manages fellowship budgets and works with programs toprovide financial reporting and data analysis relating to fellowships and recruitingyung.phung@ucr.edu· Academic Affairs140 University Office Building951-827-3315The Academic Affairs section of the Graduate Division is the unit within the GraduateDean’s Office that handles all matters pertaining to the academic record, employment,and fellowships of graduate students. We work closely with the Graduate Advisers andGraduate Program Assistants on problems that may arise in these areas with theirgraduate students helping them to interpret the rules and regulations of the Office of thePresident, Academic Senate, and Graduate Council. The division also approves allstudent petition, dissertation, thesis, and qualifying exam committees for the Dean,approves all advancement paperwork and all theses and dissertations. Additionally, weprovide the certificate of completion of all degree requirements. If the student needsassistance in finding financial support this office provides help.Linda G. ScottDirectorOversees all matters relating to graduate academic affairs, employment and TADPgdivls@ucr.eduKim PalmoreDirector, Professional DevelopmentOversees the Graduate Mentoring ProgramKim.palmore@ucr.eduKaren SmithAdministrative AnalystOversees graduate student employment and fellowships; processes petitions for leaves,Withdrawals, half-time status and ESL issueskaren.smith@ucr.eduKara OswoodAdministrative AnalystResponsible for degree progression issues and petitions, including committee approval,advancement to candidacy, dissertation/thesis formatting, and graduationkara.oswood@ucr.edu 40
  41. 41. · Academic Preparation and OutreachAcademic Preparation and Outreach is a vital component of the Graduate Division (andthe campus as a whole) and strives to diversify and increase our graduate studentpopulation by facilitating the recruitment and retention of highly qualified students inUCRs 45 graduate programs.Maria Franco-AguilarDirectorConducts graduate student outreach and recruitment activities. Coordinates diversityfellowship competitions, Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program, UC LEADSand AGEP. Assists in development of special projects and grant proposals pertinent tograduate student recruitment.maria.franco-aguilar@ucr.edu 41
  42. 42. Works Cited and ConsultedMentors Peer Resources. Peer Resources-Learn About Mentoring. [On-line] http: www. mentors. ca/learnmentor.html“Graduate Student Peer Mentoring Handbook.” Graduate Student Senate. Washington University. Missouri. 2002.Hesli, V., Fink, E., Duffy, D. (2003, July). Mentoring in a positive graduate student experience: Survey results from the Midwest region, Part I. PS: Political Science and Politics, 36(3), 457“How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty” Rackham Graduate School. University of Michigan. <http://www.rackham.umich.edu/ StudentInfo/Publications>.acKing, M. F. (2003). On the Right Track : A Manual for Research Mentors. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.Lee, A., Dennis, C., & Campbell, P. (2007). “Nature’s Guide for Mentors.” Nature, 447, 791-797.“Mentoring Handbook for Students.” UNL Graduate Studies. www.unl.edu/gradstudies/ current/dev/mentoring/Murrell, A. J., Crosby, F. J., & Ely, R. (Eds.). (1999). Mentoring Dilemmas: Developmental Relationships within Multicultural Organizations. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. (1997).Nerad, M. (1992) Using time, money and human resources efficiently and effectively in the case of women graduate students. Paper prepared for the conference proceedings of Science and Engineering Programs: On Target for Women (March, 1992).Nerad, M. & Stewart, C.L. (1991) Assessing doctoral student experience: Gender and department culture. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Conference of the Association 42
  43. 43. for Institutional Research San Francisco, CA, May 1991.Omatsu, Glenn. Coordinator c/o Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Peer Mentoring Resource Booklet. California State University at Northridge. <http://www.csun.edu/eop/ htdocs/peermentoring.pdf>.Omatsu, Glenn. Coordinator c/o Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Peer Mentoring Resource Booklet. California State University at Northridge. <http://www.csun.edu/eop/ htdocs/peermentoring.pdf>.Paglis, L. L., Green, S. G. & Bauer, T. N. (2006, June). “Does Adviser Mentoring Add Value? A Longitudinal Study of Mentoring and Doctoral Student Outcomes.” Research in Higher Education, 47(4), 451-476.Rose, G. L. (2005, February). “Group Differences in Graduate Students’ Concepts of the Ideal Mentor.” Research in Higher Education, 46(1), 53 -80.Scott, Elizabeth. “Build Friendships with Good Listening Skills.” Stress Management. <http://stress.about.com/od/relationships/ht/howtolisten.htm>.Tenenbaum, H. R., Crosby, F. J., & Gliner, M. D. (2001). “Mentoring Relationships in Graduate School.” Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 326-341.Trice, A.D. (1999). Graduate education at the University of Michigan: A foreign experience. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Rackham School of Graduate Studies.UCRiverside. Home page. <www.ucr.edu>. 43