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Mentorship: A Success Key for Graduate Students PACES Workshop Saturday, Oct 11 th, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Mentorship: A Success Key for Graduate Students PACES Workshop Saturday, Oct 11 th, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mentorship: A Success Key for Graduate Students PACES Workshop Saturday, Oct 11 th, 2014

2 By the end of this session you will understand…  The importance of mentorship for your graduate program success  The characteristics and qualities that make for a good mentor  What qualities you possess/need as a mentee  Your goals for graduate education  The importance and role of your values and beliefs  The issues that may affect the mentor/mentee relationship  How to select the right mentor for you  What the issues are for you as a mentee  How to make mentorship work well for you

3 What does it take to be successful as a graduate student?  Motivation  Perseverance  Love of learning  Good time management  Leading a balanced life  Financial support  Emotional & intellectual support  Encouragement  Valuable, useful feedback  Resilience  Others?

4 How do you access most of these?  Family and friends  Other students  Faculty  Other professionals  Within yourself  How about mentors?  Can any or all of these be mentors for you?

5 Mentorship – what is it?  Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey (Mentor was Odysseus’ trusted friend and advisor)  What is a mentor?  One who is committed to help others achieve:  A better understanding of themselves, their place in the world, and their search for meaningful living  How does that differ from a “coach” or “advisor?”  A coach is someone who helps us acquire skills  An advisor is someone who may provide sound guidance but may remain removed or aloof from the individual  Mentorship is a role that is more ‘a calling’ than part of one’s job description

6 Characteristics of a Mentor  Respect  For a student’s uniqueness as well as capacity and preferred mode of learning  A mentor never compromises the student’s dignity  Commitment  To excellence in process and outcome  Demanding  Have quality standards; push students to their potential  Availability  Within reason, at the disposal of their students  Students feel welcome to appts; boundaries set clearly

7 Characteristics of a Mentor  Encouraging  Motivator through behavior, optimistic outlook, provides explicit encouragement  Ethical  Mentor is a role model for students; behavior is beyond ethical reproach  Trust occurs when students are secure in belief that they will be treated with dignity  Philosophical  Have ‘big picture’ in mind when counseling  Openness  Open to discovery, new ways of thinking, to new possibilities

8 What about characteristics of the Mentee?  Respectful  Cardinal virtue of any relationship is to respect the other’s dignity  If not present relationships deteriorate into mutual use and abuse  Committed  To course of study and an academic standard of excellence that exceeds the ordinary  Passionate  Need to have “fire in the belly”; stubbornness not to succumb to challenges  Philosophical openness to discovery  Needs to take chances; be open to challenges to perspectives

9 What about characteristics of the Mentee?  Ethical  Conduct themselves with utmost concern for ethical scholarship & honest interaction with mentor(s)  Is it surprising that the characteristics are nearly the same for both the mentor and mentee?  Both parties are part of the same relationship  Both parties should be ‘on the same page’  Both parties mutually benefit from the relationship

10 What is the purpose of graduate education?  Succeed in completing the degree?  To receive as much funding as possible?  To publish results?  To develop the mentee and mentor to a higher state of cognitive awareness?  To facilitate an environment in which the mentor and mentee can flourish?  The ultimate goal…  To flourish as individuals – better thinkers, better decision- makers, better writers, better professors… better people.

11 Mentorship Audit: Questions for Students and Professors  Do you know yourself?  How would you describe yourself to your professor?  Take 3-4 minutes to compose your own description…  “I am intellectually curious… I appreciate learning new things (skills, knowledge, processes, results, etc.) whether in- or outside of my disciplines. I’m a visual learner and want to know more about the ‘why or how’ than the ‘who or what.’ I value commitment to excellence and try to strive for it whenever possible. I value having a few close friendships over many acquaintances. I don’t suffer foolishness very well, either in ideas or people. I’m more of a ‘loner’ than a ‘joiner’, but I do enjoy working as a team.”

12 What are potentially critical personal issues that may affect my mentorship?  Personality traits (list yours)  Work ethic (what’s your level?)  Life priorities (list yours, in rank order)  What is your background knowledge level?  What external issues are important to you? (list yours)

13 What are my goals and objectives?  Beyond completing the degree? (list yours)  How do you expect completing the degree will contribute to your over-arching life goals?

14 What are my values and beliefs?  Critical components of who you are  Prioritize your life and dictate what is most important to you  Allow you to keep life in balance, preventing burnout & distraction  Integral parts of what you produce throughout the mentorship process  Knowing them in advance will help guide the process, avoid biases, and produce work you’re proud of

15 Stretch & Bathroom Break

16 Why do I need a mentor?  If you see graduate education as more than credentialism, mentorship can be a medium to attain a deeper sense of flourishing  A mentor is familiar with alternative paths and whether they lead to success or failure  Provides objective insight, advice, and can bolster student’s confidence in the graduate process

17 What do I look for in a mentor?  Expertise in your field of choice  Experience in the mentorship process  Interests compatible with your own goals  Shared values and beliefs  Advice: don’t discount compatibility of your personality with that of a possible mentor

18 Who do I really want and need to go through the journey successfully?  Compromises are inevitable  Prioritize your list of mentor traits; some may be needed while others are wanted  Don’t sacrifice the needed traits  Don’t be overly influenced by a mentor’s popularity

19 What do mentors usually look for in a potential mentee?  Top quality?.. Dedication  Process of mentorship is long & arduous  Involves tremendous investment of energy & time  Mentors look for students who are highly committed to their own success  Manifested as knowing his/herself and having clarity of purpose  Next, having compatible interests and personalities

20 Advice for Your First Meeting  For the mentor…  Can take the initiative in describing their beliefs and values to the student  Values, beliefs, and vision in life feed one’s passion  Guidance, experience, and advice help clarify priorities  For the mentee…  Share your beliefs, values, and commitment to the process  Communicate what you need and want out of the mentorship in order to meet your long-term goal(s)

21 Before leaving the meeting you need to know…  Your respective rights and responsibilities in topic selection, committee selection, timely submission and response to student writing  Regular meeting times, reports, and feedback  When and where the next meeting should be  What the student needs to prepare and produce before the next meeting  What the mentor needs to provide at the next meeting  Let each other know how you feel about your first meeting

22 Mentorship Issues for Professors  View issues and problems as challenges and opportunities  Find/build common interests  Mentoring students is not for the purpose of advancing your career  Socratic ignorance (‘knowing that you don’t know it all’)  Mentoring is a process to build confidence and esteem, as well as giving to others and acknowledging weaknesses  Socratic questioning (answer questions with questions)  Don’t ‘fix’ everything or ‘take care of’ the mentee  Listen… and listen with empathy and compassion  Set achievable goals and realistic expectations

23 Mentorship Issues for Professors  Be like bamboo – firm & flexible  Know when to be firm and when to allow bending of the rules  Leap ahead  Help mentee remove or go around the barriers (emotional, financial, academic, relationship, procedures, etc.)  Sometimes students need a gentle hand to push and/or pull  Share your knowledge, skills, and experiences with the mentee  Research shows that employees who have a close relationship with their supervisor are 2.5 times more likely to be satisfied with their job

24 Issues for Students as Mentees  What are my own responsibilities?  Be an eager and active participant in your own academic development  Seek out new information, ideas, develop a critical thinking style  Keep a journal of your reflections  How could I help my mentor to help me?  Have a clear idea of what it is that you would like to see develop from your relationship  Explicitly communicate your personal and professional goals  Be clear as to the goals of your mentor

25 Issues for Students as Mentees  What constitutes a healthy debate?  Both parties are active listeners and respond to each other’s comments in a respectful and thoughtful manner  Maintenance and expression of mutual respect  No obligation to agree with mentor, and differences in opinion can lead to productive, healthy discussion  When should I hold my ground?  Reaching an impasse based on fundamental differences in values or beliefs… ideally, two people agree to disagree  Opens up opportunity for conflict resolution

26 What happens when conflict(s) cannot be resolved?  Discuss how both the mentee and mentor would like to proceed beyond an impasse  If emotions become involved, a cooling off period may be required before proceeding  If still in conflict, an outside mediator may be required  A mutually-respected 3 rd -party

27 In summary…  A mentorship relationship can substantially add to the experience of graduate education, a process and outcome that benefits students and faculty alike  The quality of the experience can ‘make or break’ the potential for a lasting professional relationship, so ‘shop wisely’  Not every mentor is right for every student (and vice versa)  ‘Goodness of fit’ should feel right to both parties  Mutual respect is key  Relationships are organic, ever changing and maturing  Provide important developmental steps to degree success  Source of lasting memories and satisfaction of helping others

28 Questions? Please complete a session evaluation before you leave & enjoy the rest of the weekend!


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