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Resources for Faculty Who Mentor Graduate Students

Effective mentorship is critical to the retention and success of your graduate students. As a mentor, the time you spend with your graduate students has the potential to be one of the most impactful relationships of their time at ASU and have continuing effects throughout their professional careers.

The world our graduate students are entering is changing in everything from career pathways to workplace conventions and social norms. With it, the expectations and needs of our graduate students have shifted. Mentorship in the twenty-first century must encompass not only the support of our students’ academic, intellectual, and professional development needs, but their psychosocial ones, too. Our campuses are increasingly complex environments. To be most effective, our mentorship strategies must acknowledge the multiple identities, backgrounds and circumstances factoring into the personal wellbeing and academic success of our graduate students. 

Why is mentoring important?

The success of our graduate students depends upon the strength of the connections and relationships they form within our institution. When focused around building academic self-efficacy, professional guidance, and development of support networks, mentorship can dramatically bolster graduate student persistence. Mentorship provides an orientation to the expectations and norms of academia and the professional world, and helps graduate students solidify their developing scholarly identities. The presence (or lack) of motivational resources and support (including faculty mentorship) is a stronger predictor of graduate student persistence than student aptitude and is a key factor positively influencing persistence and degree completion.

Mentoring resources at ASU

Specific mentoring roles and strategies are a matter of individual preference. Some faculty are naturally comfortable building social relationships with students, while others prefer a strictly professional dynamic. Similarly, every student has unique mentoring needs – whether strictly academic guidance, professional role modeling or emotional support – and will respond to mentoring approaches differently.

Regardless of your personal mentoring style or philosophy, an essential component of mentorship is being able to connect your students to the tools they need to succeed.

The resources compiled here provide an orientation to the resources available to mentors and graduate students at ASU. Among these resources are training opportunities and programs designed to help you better understand or support your students, resources graduate students should be aware of as they navigate their academic and professional identities and pathways, and networks and opportunities for graduate students seeking greater involvement within the graduate student communities.

Graduate College mentoring resources — The Graduate College’s GradConnect professional development initiative maintains resources for faculty, students and staff on graduate and peer mentorship.

  • CIRCLES Mentor Training Program CIRCLES is the Graduate College's new group mentorship training program. It is designed to help academic units and graduate student organizations to create and run effective mentoring groups for increased student affinity, development, and persistence.
  • Mentoring 101 tip sheets — This series of best practice tip sheets addresses common questions and concerns in initiating mentoring relationships, including the following: Goalsetting for Mentors and Mentees, Initiating Mentoring Relationships, Intentional Conversations and Nine Practices for Mentors.
  • Graduate faculty search tool encourages graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to identify and connect with graduate faculty resources at ASU, including research professors, scholars, and ASU research affiliates.
  • Mentoring Matters workshops — Mentoring Matters is a new workshop series designed for graduate students and academic units interested in developing stronger mentorship practices and frameworks. Workshops are designed for virtual facilitation.

ASU mentoring resources — ASU supports student mentorship on multiple levels. The Graduate College recommends the following resources for both faculty and graduate students looking for additional mentoring opportunities, training and networking.

  • ASU Mentor Network. With a fast-growing network of over 10,000 faculty, students and alumni, the ASU Mentor Network allows students to find peers and faculty with related academic or career interests, network with alumni and match with prospective mentors based on their individualized mentoring needs.
  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. As a part of its inclusion and diversity initiatives, ASU is proud to be an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. The NCFDD offers a variety of webinars, training materials, and other resources ideal for faculty, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. Individual free account activation required.

Additional ASU support resources — As a faculty member, you have many resources available within the university to assist you in supporting the success of your graduate students. These include the following:

  • Resources for professional development. ASU offers a variety of resources geared toward graduate student academic success. As a mentor, it’s important to be aware of and direct students to these resources to ensure their best opportunities for success.
  • Non-academic resources for graduate student support. A successful mentor recognizes signs of distress or challenges their students are facing and directs them to the appropriate resources. ASU offers comprehensive non-academic support for the diverse needs of our large student population.
  • Understanding the student experience: diversity and inclusion. Our graduate students come from an array of backgrounds and cultures. To best support that diversity, it’s important to understand the unique challenges our students may encounter or needs important to their success. As a mentor, strive to get to know your students – who they are and what is important to them beyond the classroom or lab – as well as how best to support their needs in culturally-appropriate ways.

See our comprehensive resource list here.

Further reading

For more information on research literature on mentorship and mentoring outcomes, the Graduate College recommends the following peer-reviewed sources here.