Skip to main content

Jump start your mentoring journey!

Use the guides, resources, and instructional forms below to help build strong mentoring relationships.

The use of mentoring tools is mutually beneficially for students and faculty. By helping graduate students make professional and personal connections for success, faculty simultaneously expanding their own network and colleagues.

Tools for Success

Mentoring Circles

Mentoring circles are groups of faculty and students who meet regularly in a comfortable, informal setting to discuss specific topics of interest. These circles can occur virtually or in person.

Why lead or participate in a Mentoring Circle?

  • To create networks and connections that students and faculty can turn to for support.
  • To address specific issues being experienced by a number of people.
  • To give students and faculty access to influential peers and senior leadership.
  • To integrate diverse populations and support cross-departmental connections.

How do you start a Mentoring Circle?

  • Identify 5-8 participants, with 2-3 mentor leaders for each circle.
  • Identify a theme or topics for discussion
    • Examples include: time management, professional relationships, ethics, handling conflicts, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, career development, life/work balance, communication.
    • Encourage all participants to propose and own their topics of interest.

How do you structure a Mentoring Circles?

  • Consider introducing scenarios to begin a discussion.
    • Ask participants to contribute scenarios from their personal experiences.
    • Include discussion points, such as: What implicit assumptions do the student and adviser have? What cultural differences might be influencing the actions of the professor and advisor? What questions or concerns need to be addressed? How do you approach this situation? How should the student approach the adviser? As the adviser, how would you respond?
  • Hold multiple meetings to develop trust and relationships.
    • At the first meeting identify group norms. e.g. how will you handle confidentiality within the group; commitment to the group (attendance, being on time, not speaking too long or too frequently, process if a member must cancel); scheduling meetings and choosing discussion topics; person responsible for ensuring that a member is not “attacked” within the group; conflict resolution within the group.
    • At each meeting group leaders should instill a process and guidelines so everyone has the opportunity to talk and express their opinions.

TED Talks

Further Reading

  • Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Graduate, Research, Education, and Teaching. (2006). Compact between postdoctoral appointees and their mentors. Retrieved January 7, 2009, from AAMC Article: Compact Between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors
  • Council of Graduate Schools. (1990). Research student and supervisor: An approach to good supervisory practice. Washington, DC: Author.
  • Crutcher, B. N. (2007). Mentoring across cultures. Academe Online.
  • Hesli, V., Fink, E., Du y, 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), 457-460.
  • Johnson, W.B. (2016). On being a mentor: A guide for higher education faculty (2nd ed). New York. Taylor & Francis.
  • King, 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. Nature447, 791-797. 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). Adviser, teacher, role model, friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  • Nettles, M. T., & Millett, C. M. (2006). Three magic letters: Getting to Ph.D. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • 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.
  • Tenenbaum, H. R., Crosby, F. J., & Gliner, M. D. (2001). Mentoring relationships in graduate school. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 59, 326-341.