Graduate College Mentoring Network

At Arizona State University one of the most essential elements of a quality graduate education is the opportunity it offers for connection – to a diverse graduate population, to broader communities of practice and resources, and to faculty and professional worlds. Mentoring offers this connection, providing graduate students with both interpersonal support and academic or career-focused guidance needed to successfully integrate interpersonal and academic identities and navigate career pathways.

The Graduate College Mentoring Network (GCMN), housed within the Graduate College, fosters and promotes a university-wide mentoring culture by:

  • Promoting community-building, cultural and academic diversity, engagement and inclusion through identity-based mentoring initiatives;
  • Connecting graduate students and post-doctoral scholars to academic and career-related mentoring resources across academic colleges;
  • Recognizing and rewarding outstanding mentors and mentoring initiatives across ASU;
  • Supporting academic departments and graduate faculty in creating and sustaining mentoring initiatives, best practices and programming models.

The GCMN fosters these values through four networks: community-building initiatives, faculty mentoring resources, mentoring excellence recognition, and academic and career development.

Two students participating in peer mentoring.

Community-building initiatives

ASU attracts students, staff, faculty and postdoctoral scholars from all demographics, and its scholarly communities are strengthened by diversity and inclusion of a multiplicity of perspectives and ideas. The Graduate College mentoring initiatives offer engagement and navigation of academic, cultural and interpersonal identities in meaningful ways that enrich all graduate education and foster pathways between undergraduate and graduate education and professional careers.

SHADES cross-cultural mentoring

The SHADES cross-cultural mentoring program is a peer-to-peer mentoring program designed to encourage and develop intercultural competencies and identities. SHADES provides a forum for students to embrace and discuss  the roles of identity in academia and our lives, to seek out peers with shared social or cultural identities, and to explore the intersections of identity, learning and public discourse.

SHADES is open to all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Apply to join the 2018-2019 cohort as a mentor or mentee today. Note: you must have a current ASURITE ID to apply.

2018-2019 SHADES Participant Materials

SHADES mentoring program overview
SHADES program expectations form
SHADES mentoring agreement form
SHADES mentoring goals worksheet
SHADES personal resilience assessment form
SHADES 2018-2019 community engagement programming schedule
Mentoring 101: Tips for New Mentoring Relationships training bundle

HUES LGBTQ+ mentoring

Designed to bolster community engagement, increase representation, and provide critical identity-development and engagement opportunities to ASU’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer  (LGBTQ+) communities, HUES is open to any LGBTQ+ undergraduate, graduate student or postdoctoral scholars. Mentoring matches are made based on participant preference with options for peer, faculty or staff matching.

HUES is open to all new and current ASU students. Faculty and staff may apply as mentors only.  Apply to join the 2018-2019 cohort as a mentor or mentee today. Note: you must have a current ASURITE ID to apply.]

2018-2019 HUES Participant Materials

HUES mentoring program overview
HUES program expectations form
HUES mentoring agreement form
HUES mentoring goals worksheet
HUES community identity blog overview
HUES resilience assessment overview
HUES 2018-2019 community engagement programming schedule
Mentoring 101: Tips for New Mentoring Relationships training bundle

Graduate Student Organizations

Although less structured and with a greater emphasis on collect interest and interpersonal development than the one-to-one personal development offered by mentoring, graduate student organizations are an excellent way to build academic and cultural self-efficacies. ASU has over 1,000 student-run clubs and organizations designed to support academics, culture, religion/spirituality, art, politics, sports, and much more, with over 60 specifically created by and for graduate students. The Graduate College encourages graduate students to enrich their ASU experiences by getting involved and networking with other graduate students. In addition to mentoring, joining a graduate student group is an excellent way to develop professional contacts, engage with your academic network, or find connections within the greater Sun Devil community.

To learn more about these opportunities for involvement at ASU, visit our graduate student organizations page.


A professor counseling a graduate student.

Faculty mentoring resources

Fostering strong paraprofessional relationships with faculty allows graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to network and prepare for careers.

The Graduate College highly recommends all faculty review the excellent faculty mentoring resources provided by the University of Washington Graduate School.

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.

Further reading: mentoring new faculty and postdocs

For an introduction to the importance of faculty-to-faculty, faculty-to-new faculty and faculty-to-post-doctoral scholar mentoring, we recommend the Jennifer Lundquist and Joya Misra Inside Higher Ed article Faculty-to-Faculty Mentoring.

Further reading: mentoring graduate students

The graduate student mentor plays many roles -- academic advisor, career exemplar, advocate and support. An integral part of mentoring is nurturing the development of best practices in research and scholarship and instilling professional practices that will support your graduate student not only through their academic program, but into their professional careers. Academic integrity standards are key to the ongoing success of your students. Learn how to model strong standards to your students, with particular mindfulness to the roles sociocultural values and norms can play in students' understanding of academic integrity, in Gabriella M. Gillespie's (University of South Carolina) Guide to Advising International Students about Academic Integrity.

The transition to graduate school can be challenging to even the most academically advanced graduate scholar, as it signifies not only a higher level of learning and research, but an entry point into the professional world. In working with graduate students, it is important to support their non-academic growth and development, too. Strong academic mentoring not only benefits graduate students during their studies and transition to professional life, but can have resounding implications throughout their careers.

In What Do the Best Mentors Do?, (Inside Higher Ed., August 24, 2017), Joya Misra and Jennifer Lundquist spoke to faculty about best, most impactful practices in mentoring graduate students. Among key factors, graduate faculty advised other mentors to recognize the whole person, maintain regular contact, provide timely and constructive feedback, and to embrace the often time-intensive mentoring process as not challenging, but nourishing. Skillfully deployed, they note, mentoring is not only impactful in the long term to the graduate student, but can be among the most meaningful or rewarding parts of the mentor's job as an academic.

For a doctorate student perspective on the mentoring needs of graduate students, see W. T. Ling's Science article The Ideal PhD Mentor -- A Student's Perspective.

Graduate College recognizes and rewards outstanding mentoring by faculty.

Mentoring excellence and resources

As part of its commitment to and acknowledgement of mentoring as a vital component of the graduate student experience, the Graduate College recognizes and rewards outstanding mentoring and strives to demonstrate the essential nature of mentoring to student success and professional development. The Graduate College recognizes and supports excellence in mentoring institution-wide through its annual Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awards.

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awards

Every year, outstanding faculty are recognized for the Graduate College’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award based upon nominations from the graduate student and postdoctoral scholar communities. Read more about our current and previous Outstanding Faculty Mentors, their mentoring philosophies, and their inspirations on the awardee highlight page. For more information about the nomination process or to nominate a faculty member, visit the OFM page.

Graduate faculty search tool

The Graduate Faculty search tool encourages graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to identity and connect with graduate faculty resources at ASU, including research professors, scholars, and ASU research affiliates.

Mentoring resources and best practices

Effective and meaningful mentoring starts with making the right mentoring connections. Before exploring the mentoring resources below, download the GCMN quick reference guides, The Mentoring Connection: Choosing a Mentoring Program and The Mentoring Connection: Peer Mentoring, to learn more about:

  • Choosing the right mentoring program within that structure;
  • Evaluating mentoring goals and outcomes;
  • Selecting a mentoring structure that best fits your needs;
  • Types of mentoring programs.

ASU mentoring programs (undergraduate)

ASU mentoring programs (graduate)

Connected Academics (Department of English; languages and literatures)

Thunderbird Mentor Program (Global management; alumni mentoring)

Graduate Nurses Organization Mentoring Program (College of Nursing and Health Innovations graduate DNP program; peer to peer)

Mentoring opportunities are available university-wide.

Community engagement programming

The GradConnect mentoring network provides specialized mentoring and community engagement support for all graduate students, but more specifically for underrepresented minority student (URM) populations. The Gradconnect community engagement programming offers workshops, panel discussions, and community dialogues allowing students to seek out peer connection, support, community-building, and inspiration from other graduate students. 

Whether you are a member of the SHADES, HUES, or 1GPS mentoring programs or a general member of the graduate student community looking for greater community engagement with other students, GradConnect invites you to join us at our community engagement programs!

Previous programming

Mentoring Panel: Support and Success. As we start off a new semester, join the mentors of the GradConnect mentoring initiative as mentors and mentees representing various academic and identity-based mentoring programs talk about the importance of mentoring in their academic and interpersonal success at ASU.  Memorial Union La Paz (Room 242).

Resilience-Building for Personal and Academic Success. Resilience, or the ability to overcome or cope with life’s challenges or stressors, is a critical component of both academic and personal success. Students from underrepresented communities (first-generation students, students of color, and LGBTQ+ students) face unique challenges. In this session, ASU Wellness teaches strategies for resilience-building and overcoming obstacles in the path of success.

Resilience in Action with Lesley Smith. Lesley L. Smith is a filmmaker, novelist, activist and graduate student who was at the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in the 1990s and watched as the epidemic shook the LGBTQ+ community. Join HUES as Lesley speaks about growing up in a very different era for LGBTQ+ individuals, lessons he’s learned, and how resilience can be a powerful force within the LGBTQ+ community.

Solving Wicked Problems: Interdisciplinary Collaborations & Action Research. Interdisciplinary collaboration and action research allow for novel applications of research in the service of new solutions to persistent problems. A panel of interdisciplinary graduate researchers discuss how they collaborate and create unconventional partnerships – with other fields, with communities and research constituents -- to solve some of society’s most challenging problems.

LGBTQ+ Changemakers: Coming-out Stories. October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Join HUES and the LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Association as student, faculty and staff panelists discuss their individual journeys toward disclosure, their experiences and processes in coming out, and how these experiences have shaped their lives.

First-Generation Graduate Success Panel. For first-generation students, navigating the graduate school environment can be especially challenging. A panel of first-generation master’s and doctoral students discuss their experiences, challenges, and the support systems that allowed them to successfully navigate and thrive in their graduate careers.

LGBTQ+ Issues: Healthy Relationships and the LGBTQ+ Community. The Sun Devil Support Network leads a conversation about sexual violence and the LGBTQ+ community, a prevalent but underreported phenomenon with significant impacts on LGBTQ+ student persistence and academic success outcomes.

Spring 2019 programming

Building Social Capital and Support Networks. Panelists from the HUES LGBTQ+ mentoring project, the Black Graduate Student Association and other minority student groups discuss how social capital and support networks help them navigate interpersonal and academic identities.

Communities of Practice and Group Affinity. Join GradConnect as we discuss the importance of individual and community identity, culture and affinity in navigating educational, interpersonal and career spaces.

CANCELLED: Graduate Education for Social Change and the Unconventional Crusader. In a socially and politically engaged climate, graduate school can be a pathway toward social activism, sharing (and shaping) powerful discourses and inspiring actions. Students from Urban Policy and Development, Educational Leadership and Innovation, and Justice Studies discuss action research and community change.

LGBTQ+ Changemakers: Out @ Work. Panelists from HUES, the LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Association and the ASU Devil’s Pride alumni group share their perceptions, challenges, opportunities and advice as they speak about navigating the workplace and professional relationships as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

CANCELLED: Solving Wicked Problems: Knowledge Mobilization in the Sciences. For graduate students who want to inspire change and impact the world, strong knowledge mobilization is critical. This panel of graduate researchers from STEM fields discuss how they mobilize research to solve some of our most challenging social and environmental problems.

LGBTQ+ Changemakers: The Meaning of Pride. Panelists from HUES, the Rainbow Coalition, and the LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Association reflect on the meaning of the Pride season, what LGBTQ+ community means, and how this community can address the ongoing challenges facing it.