Workshops on Succeeding as a Graduate Student
Mark Andrew Borden
Roughly half of all incoming doctoral students in universities nationwide will drop out, two-thirds of whom will do so during their second and third years . This high attrition rate is often ascribed to a lack of the "academic mentality" in some students - that is, they fail to make the necessary transition from rote memorization in undergraduate education to creative research in doctoral training.
The Ph.D. process is demanding, but there are time-proven practices that can help. During my own doctoral work at UC Davis, I identified three skills that I found lacking in unsuccessful doctoral students, including personal initiative, creativity, and proposal writing ability. These skills are expected by the faculty, yet they are seldom explicitly discussed until it is too late. My project aimed to provide a formal venue for informing graduate students about these skills and how they can be developed through a series of workshops.
The goal of the first workshop, "Strategies of the Self-Starter," was to inform students about the personal freedom and self-confidence that stems from taking initiative over their graduate research. This theme was taken from the century-old book Advice for the Young Investigator by Santiago Ramon y Cajal. We then discussed the strategies that a self-starter might employ, including methods to define the research project, devise and implement a workable plan, and evaluate the results. The attendees were enthusiastic – even though the workshop was held on a Monday night – and I received positive feedback.
The second workshop involved a series of weekly meetings on grant writing over the course of Spring Quarter. Rather than make this a lecture series, I decided to focus the workshop on peer-to-peer assessment. We first identified possible funding sources, such as nationwide fellowships and on-campus grants. We then scheduled the remaining six weeks to cover the main topics required of a typical grant proposal. Although attendance was high the first week due to general interest in the subject, the workshop steadily shrank to ten highly motivated and insightful students who were actively writing proposals that they intended to submit. The smaller numbers meant more emphasis on each proposal and, thus, made it more effective workshop, and the students made remarkable progress.
Finally, I conducted a seminar entitled "Creative Problem Solving" that was based on the techniques discussed by H. Scott Fogler and Steven E. LaBlanc in their book Strategies for Creative Problem Solving. Emphasis was placed on the issues of problem definition, solution generation and deciding the course of action. I presented a real research problem in order to provide context and engaged them to participate actively. Free pizza was provided to boost attendance.
 S. Smallwood, "Doctor Dropout: High attrition from Ph.D. programs is sucking away time, talent, and money and breaking some hearts, too," in The Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 50, 2004, pp. A10.
Facilitating University-Community Relations Using the Spoken Word
By virtue of the time and effort that it takes to compete in the academy, academics are often isolated from the community outside of the University. And yet, it is this outside community that ultimately provides the academic community with support. For example, since much of the funding for academics comes in the form of government-based grants, and the public votes these governments into power, the opinions held by the community can influence how successful we are in our respective fields.
We have international meetings where we learn how to relate to others in our field but we receive little training to learn how to portray often complex, esoteric work to the community at large.
Additionally, Universities are on the cutting edge of research across all disciplines. The community surrounding the University would benefit greatly from the sharing of this information. In turn, having to explain our work or our field to the community would help develop our presentation skills, which ultimately increases our value in the academic community.
To decrease the distance between the University and outside communities, I completed a two-part project. First, I led a series of workshops where graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from a variety of fields met to discuss how we can give successful presentations to the community. I brought in experts from UC Davis to lead these discussions. The first was Gary Sandy, the Director of Local Government Relations for the UCD Office of Governmental and Community Affairs. We also were joined by Lisa Lapin, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Communications at UCD and Paul Pfotenhauer, a Reporter/Producer with Broadcast Media Operations at UCD. These experts shared their knowledge of how to give clear presentations, with particular emphasis on giving presentations to the non-academic community. In addition to these experts, we were joined by members of the local community, who discussed the particulars of giving presentations at their specific sites. These community members included, Mike Leahy (Sacramento START program), Lorraine Beaman (Davis High), Jay Gerber (Davis Rotary) and Tara Barbier (Explorit Museum).
Comments from workshop attendees were very positive, and I am currently implementing the second phase of the project, where I am acting as a facilitator between workshop attendees and community members. The goal is to get graduate students and post-docs out into the community to make these presentations. I am also going to continue to organize these workshops in the future because the interest of the graduate and post-doc community is high, as is the interest level of local community members. Clearly many people on both sides are interested in improving the flow of information.
The PFTF program has been beneficial in many ways. Having the opportunity to interact with fellows from other disciplines has been invaluable. Additionally, the meetings we have had have given me great insight into the workings of the University in general. This insight will surely benefit me in the future.
Peer Mentoring: Advice from Experts on Succeeding in the First Year of Your Graduate Program
Many of the PFTF fellows entered this year concerned about the twin problems of attrition and extended time to degree. Each of these problems would seem to avoidable; graduate students are admitted to UC Davis based on the talent and determination they have already displayed.
One of the reasons that graduate students leave programs without a degree or find their time to degree extended beyond past norms is a lack of good mentoring in the first year of graduate school. In particular, many first year graduate students arrive with a mistaken set of expectations about graduate school and very little is done in most programs to help them adjust from the norms of the undergraduate years to the norms of graduate school.
As a small step towards remedying this, I have designed a peer mentoring program set to begin next fall which will pair first-year graduate students with a more senior graduate student in the same program. The premise behind this is that some very good advice about overcoming difficulties in the first year of a given graduate program will come from an individual who has recently overcome some of those very problems. The program is limited in scope, of course; it will not replace faculty mentoring or counseling services or any of the other fine services offered already at UC Davis. Rather it seeks to provided a structure through which experienced graduate students can pass the benefits of that experience to new graduate students.
I will survey both the mentors and mentees next year in hopes of making this program a productive and permanent fixture at UC Davis. As one part of the program the peer mentors will create 'secret handbooks' for their programs—short guides about what first year graduate students should do early on to get a good start in their programs. I hope that these guides, written by successful graduate students, will be passed on year after year within each department and be revised periodically by future peer mentors.
This work would not have possible without the knowledge, support, and positive attitude of Hector Cuevas, Ann Kelleher, Teresa Dillinger, Liz Constable, and all of this year's PFTF fellows.
Thriving in the Ivory Tower: A Group Mentoring Series for First Year and Advanced Graduate Students
The importance of helping first-year graduate students make a successful transition to the graduate school environment cannot be underestimated, since half of all graduate student attrition occurs after the first year.
In response to this problem, Valerie Vaughn, the Graduate Student Outreach Coordinator for the Women's Resources and Research Center, and I re-instituted a workshop series first begun by the Center in 1999-2000 entitled "Thriving in the Ivory Tower: A Group Mentoring Series for First Year and Advanced Graduate Women." The workshops brought together representatives from various campus units, including Counseling and Psychological Services, Child Care and Family Services, and Cowell Student Health Center, as well as campus faculty and graduate students, to share information and insights on critical issues faced by graduate students at UCD.
The first workshop focused on mentoring. We wanted to provide practical advice to graduate students seeking a mentor, and to assist those currently experiencing a difficult mentor/mentee relationship. The second workshop addressed the difficult task of raising a child while pursuing a graduate degree. This workshop was especially well received by the graduate student population. One prospective graduate student traveled all the way from Hayward to attend the meeting. This workshop was paired with a third, which focused on graduate students who are not parents, but who still find it difficult to maintain fulfilling relationships with friends, family, and loved ones due to the time commitments and pressures of graduate school.
We conducted a survey after each of the three workshops. The responses were overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and included numerous requests to receive more information on each of the topics through a website or other medium. Perhaps the most fulfilling moment of all three workshops was when I witnessed two participants, who had come to the workshop as strangers, but, as a result of an intense discussion on isolation and loneliness in grad school, were making plans to play soccer together. Probably the most important aspect of running workshops like "Thriving in the Ivory Tower" is to help graduate students understand that they are never alone in the obstacles they face.
I would like to see "Thriving in the Ivory Tower", and especially the perennially-important workshops on parenting and mentoring, become a regular part of the services offered by the Women's Resources and Research Center and other participating campus units.
Assessing the Needs of UC Davis Graduate Students Conducting Field Research
Graduate student participation in field research projects outside of the UC Davis campus is an integral part of many students' educational experience and a valuable opportunity for university collaborative research and service. Field research is extremely rewarding, but also creates additional challenges.
The academic calendar and fee structure may restrict a student's ability to conduct field research. Furthermore, students working in the field face additional health and safety concerns, especially if working internationally. Grant writing for field projects may be difficult for students not familiar with the additional logistical costs. Also, staying connected to campus while in the field can be challenging.
In order to gain a better understanding of what challenges face graduate students working in the field, and how the University might better support these students, I conducted an electronic survey. The survey was constructed as a web page using Survey Monkey software available at SurveyMonkey.com. The electronic link to the survey was e-mailed to all UC Davis graduate and professional school departments for distribution to students on April 10, 2005, with a reminder e-mail sent shortly before the survey response period ended on May 1, 2005.
Survey response was better than anticipated with 173 respondents representing 44 graduate programs in both the sciences and humanities. The majority of respondents are in PhD programs (78%), with Master's degree students comprising the remaining 22% of responses. Survey results show that the length of time respondents stay in the field ranges from less than two weeks to well over six months, often with multiple visits per year. Most respondents conduct research inside the United States, but 30% work internationally. Additionally, 63% percent of respondents have more than one field research site.
Survey results indicate that the two main challenges facing our sample of UC Davis graduate students are 1) obtaining funding to cover research and educational expenses and 2) balancing coursework responsibilities with research commitments. Although respondents financed their research using multiple sources (grants, advisor funds, fellowships, RAships and TAships), 42% reported using personal savings/funds or loans to help finance research. Most respondents (63%) did not complete coursework prior to starting their field research, and reported problems with arranging class absences, adjusting assignment due dates, and receiving low or incomplete grades. These issues were especially problematic during spring quarter when many field projects need to be conducted. Additional challenges identified included housing/transportation/field logistics, balancing family needs, managing field assistants and exceeding university PELP limits while conducting research. Students with advisors who regularly conduct field research were less likely to use personal funds to finance their research and more likely to report that their grants adequately budgeted for their projects. Respondents reported that they would definitely use a campus resource for field researchers, and would prefer a web page format with opportunities to exchange ideas and advice with other field researchers.
Results from this survey will be formally analyzed and made available on-line. Challenges identified by survey respondents will be used to create a campus website to assist future students in preparing to conduct field research.
Completing at Ph.D. Dissertation: Departmental Policies that Help and Hinder
Graduate programs in the physical sciences present students with an approach to learning that is distinct from their prior educational experience, requiring that they produce a lengthy thesis based on their own original research. This is a significant change from students' previous, experience, which is limited in duration, with regular coursework, exams, and a fixed end date. The lack of structure in graduate school often leads to confusion, lack of direction, and difficulty in setting benchmarks and then achieving them.
An additional obstacle to graduation is the tension between timely completion of the student's own thesis research, and their desire to maintain a positive working relationship with their advisor by becoming involved in the advisor's other projects. All of these issues can seriously impede the timely completion of a doctoral thesis.
My project examined the policies of graduate programs in the physical sciences at UC Davis to see how they affect Ph.D. completion times. I collected the stated requirements, timelines, and penalties from departmental websites and pamphlets. I then constructed an online survey asking students about these policies, their enforcement, and what they found to be significant obstacles to their degree progress. Over 150 students in the math, physics, biology, ecology, and chemistry divisions/departments responded. These responses were compared with the official departmental guidelines, as well as among the various programs. I found clear differences between programs, both in their presentation of graduate requirements, and in students' perceptions of these requirements and their degree progress. For instance, one department website states that "It is impossible to predict the length of time needed to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree as it varies from student to student." This department also had one of the highest rates of respondents who felt that requirements and timelines were unclear (25%), and that there were no penalties for slow progress (60%). In comparison, another department provides very specific expectations; nearly 100% of these were happy with their progress and felt that the program timeline was clear. Respondents from all of the programs suggested that improved supervision, earlier and more focused research, and better funding would reduce their time-to-degree. These results suggest that while most students in these graduate programs can finish a timely manner regardless of departmental policies, a clear, detailed, and enforced set of milestones can reduce the number of "stragglers" who take much longer than average to obtain their degrees. These results will be collected into a detailed summary to be distributed to the graduate office, administration, and department chairs, outlining the findings, with suggestions for policies that can be implemented on a departmental basis to speed graduate progress.
Researcher Wanted: Fulfilling Research Needs for the Public and Private Sector.
The University of California's mission stresses the importance of education, research, and public service. While these are attainable, they often exist in isolation from one another. Through my career and academic experiences, I have observed a need for pragmatic approaches to real world problems (i.e., research that fulfills multiple aspects of the university's mission).
Farnsworth  (2004) discusses potential problems and solutions for research between academics and their agency counterparts within the field of conservation biology. Agencies and organizations have research needs, but often lack the resources to complete the research. Similarly, there are a number of graduate students who enter their graduate programs without a research project. By creating partnerships between agencies and/or organizations and the university, it is possible to fulfill the university's mission through research projects that provide a public benefit and are contributing to the student's educational experience.
With the above in mind, a seminar was organized to enable representatives from various agencies and organizations to provide a presentation of their agency's or organization's research needs, sources of funding, contracting and research policies and procedures, and case studies of existing research projects as appropriate. Of the agencies and organizations that were invited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yolo Basin Foundation, and the California Indian Basketweavers Association agreed to present their information. Research topics addressed included endangered species genetic research, development of environmental education curriculum, and toxicity studies on plant resources. Seminar attendees included 18 graduate students and at least one university staff member. Based on discussions during the seminar, a variety of academic disciplines were represented.
Questionnaires were provided to all attendees, of which 11 responded. Based on the responses, it appears there is interest in holding this type of seminar on a regular basis and developing a web site with postings of agency/organization research needs and contact information. Unfortunately, the seminar did not fully cover the breadth of academic interests represented in the audience. Thus, if this type of seminar were held in the future, I would recommend organizing the panels by disciplinary themes. Aside from the lack of panelist representation for all audience members, I would conclude that the seminar was successful, and has a demonstrable need.
 Farnsworth, E.J. 2004. Forging Research Partnerships across the Academic-Agency Divide. Conservation Biology 18(20): 291-293
Pursuing Excellence in Teaching
Most UC Davis graduate students anticipate teaching in some form as part of their careers, and many are hoping for guidance in this exciting but daunting endeavor. For my project, I organized an informal pilot, lunch-time seminar series entitled, "Outstanding Teaching: Ideas from Accomplished Professors." This project gave graduate students and postdocs across campus the opportunity to hear multiple perspectives on teaching.
The goals of the series were to draw attention to the importance of teaching as a professional skill, to highlight the range of successful teaching philosophies and techniques, and to provide role models for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars interested in teaching. UC Davis has a great number of outstanding teachers who have received teaching awards and recognitions. I invited several of these teachers to participate in the series, ensuring that a broad range of academic disciplines, teaching styles, and teaching philosophies were represented. These guests included:
Dr. John Constantine, Lecturer of Agricultural Economics, former Director of the Teaching Resources Center, and 2004 ASUCD Educator of the Year Recipient
Dr. Vijaya Kumari, Assistant Dean of Medical Education, Professor of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, and 1998 Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient
Janet Papale, Lecturer of English and recipient of 1992 Academic Federation Award for Teaching Excellence
Dr. Peter Rodman, Professor of Anthropology and 2001 Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient.
At each meeting of the series, the speaker provided a presentation on his/her teaching area and why he/she likes to teach. Each presentation was followed by an interactive discussion wherein he/she addressed the individual interests of the graduate students and postdocs present. The series was a success, averaging over 12 participants per meeting. In addition, it attracted many different participants than have attended other teaching events through the Teaching Resources Center, so it reached a unique audience.
I also expanded my project to include the continuation of another PFTF project—the Teaching Partners Program established by Beth Deitchman in 2003-2004. The TA Consultants (especially Chris May) continued the program by intensively mentoring the Teaching Partners, and I expanded the web site to make it more enticing and user-friendly. Finally, Chris May and I have worked together to ensure that the Outstanding Teaching Seminar Series and the Teaching Partners Program continue as long as they are useful to graduate students and post-docs on campus who are interested in teaching.
Science Writing for the Public
Communicating ideas and discoveries to others is a vital step in the scientific process, but is often neglected outside of peer-reviewed publications and professional talks. Many graduate students and postdocs have some experience with technical writing through our graduate and postgraduate careers, but haven't been exposed to science writing for a general audience.
Last year, a PFTF member organized a highly successful seminar series in which students discussed issues relating to science writing and heard from scientists on methods of communicating scientific ideas to the public. I wanted to build on this seminar series for my own project, this time giving graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to hone their science writing skills.
During spring quarter, I organized a weekly seminar series for graduate students and postdocs interested in gaining some hands-on practice in translating scientific concepts and findings to a broader audience. In addition to reading and discussing articles on science writing, the focus of the seminar was to write three short pieces of our own. First, the students and I wrote an article on a current piece of research. By using the same source materials and exchanging papers, we were able to explore the many ways to approach the same topic and discuss what works and what doesn't. The second project focused on formulating good questions to obtain good quotes. A guest researcher, Megan Wyman, presented her work on bison communication to our group and answered questions posed by the class. We used this information to write our second piece. Finally, each participant spent the rest of the quarter developing an publishable article of her or his own choice. Some used this opportunity to work on a professional piece aimed at a general audience, while others chose to explore a topic unrelated to their own research. Participants also critiqued these pieces at multiple stages of development. The process of exchanging drafts helped to give the writer peer feedback on his or her work; in addition, the individual performing the critique can learn new techniques from other writers.
Participants found this to be a positive experience. They found the writing deadlines to be useful motivators and appreciated the peer review process. I was pleased to be part of this interesting project and hope it will be continued in future years.
Designing Effective Visuals for Presentations, Posters, Papers and Proposals
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, that statement is the extent of most students' knowledge of graphic design. Whether designing a presentation, poster, paper, or proposal, most graduate students can only guess at the best way to present information visually. If pictures are words, we as future researchers, teachers, and community leaders ought to learn our own visual language.
Much complicated research can be explained more easily by visual aids that tell stories directly. However, poorly designed visuals can mislead, frustrate, or rile one's audience. Having art skills isn't enough because often what is artistically appealing is not clear communication.
Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars can make themselves look like the professionals they are by learning a coherent set of design principles for visual communication. To teach these skills, in Spring 2005 I taught three interactive workshops: 1) Designing Effective Illustrations; 2) Designing Effective Graphs; and 3) Designing Documents For Clarity and Visual Appeal. The workshop series was advertised through GradLink, Dateline, and the creation of a website (http://pftf.ucdavis.edu/visuals.htm).
A total attendance of 52 persons was made by graduate students (54%), postdoctoral scholars (30%), faculty (5%), and staff (11%). The unusual time (1:00–2:30) and location (Kemper Hall) may have deterred broader participation, even though several committed persons came to more than one workshop. Of the 33 attendees who filled out an evaluation form, 95% answered "Yes" to the question, "Was the content useful?" Suggestions for improvement reflected the diverse needs of university scholars with different educational backgrounds. Some of the positive feedback included (paraphrased): good balance of theory and practice, helpful, and thoroughly organized and presented.
In addition, I completed a publication-quality, 51-page handbook that archives tips from the workshops and summarizes the best advice from more than 20 books on the subject. As our budget was insufficient to provide each attendee a printed copy, I have made this booklet available at-cost through a print-on-demand service (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/visuals), and am currently working towards having this handbook added to the permanent collections at Shields Library to serve as a reference for scholars-in-training through the many years to come. This project has validated the need for ongoing training in visual communication for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff at UC Davis. Personally, I'm grateful for it increasing my confidence as an instructor and honing my abilities to organize a curriculum.
Acing Your Qualifying Exam: Strategies for Success in Any Department
Surviving my qualifying examination was one of the most stressful and intimidating challenges in my graduate education. As a result of that experience, my PFTF project focused on improving the information available to graduate students and their advisors on qualifying exam preparation.
Using preparation strategies from Dr. Louis Grivetti (U.C Davis, Dept. of Nutrition), I developed a new website (https://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu/current-students/admissions-academic-services/acing-your-qualifying-exam) "Acing Your Qualifying Exam: the Five Golden Rules of Preparation," in addition to writing "Acing Your Qualifying Exam: Strategies for Success," a tip sheet for graduate students on exam preparation.
My website highlighted universal "strategies for success" that are valuable to graduate students in all departments. This in depth information on qualifying exam preparation is accessible through the graduate studies website. This web based information emphasizes five "golden rules" of preparation: 1. Understand the qualifying exam, 2. Know your examiners. 3. Prepare early and systematically. 4. Reduce your stress, and 5. Have an exam day plan. The new "tip sheet" is a summarized version of the website material and will be used to augment the existing information that graduate studies distributes to graduate students upon the acceptance of their qualifying exam application.
This information will help to demystify the qualifying exam, and empower graduate students with the skills and strategies to feel confident and prepared when the time comes for their qualifying exam. In addition, this information will be a resource for graduate student advisors to better achieve their mentoring goals.
Surviving the Summer: Finding Funding.
One of the obstacles most UC Davis graduate students face is finding funding during the summer months. The majority of departments do not guarantee employment over the summer, and avenues for funding are often not obvious to first year graduate students.
With increasingly limited departmental budgets for summer TAships and departmentally funded RAships, it is becoming even more vital for students at all stages in their programs to learn how to seek out summer funding opportunities.
I started the project by interviewing employees at several UC Davis resources like the Internship and Career Center, Student Employment Center, Graduate Studies, Summer Sessions and UC Davis Extension, and then compiled a three-page worksheet of resources for student funding. After advising students to try the traditional route of summer employment first (through their advisors and/or department), the handout gave tips for finding other on-campus and several off-campus resources for students to explore both this summer and in future years (when they might be able to plan further ahead and would be qualified for jobs such as Associate-In teaching positions). The worksheet included a short description of the employment/internship resource and web links or other contact information for each avenue they might explore.
Then I created a power point presentation that led students through the worksheet, showing what the various webpages looked like and walking them through the more common job and internship resources such as Aggie Job Links and the Student Employment Board. It encouraged students to be creative in their search, thinking beyond their department or area of interest, since their department's lack of summer funding or internships might have been the impetus behind their interest in the workshop.
The power point presentation and handout were presented to the participants of a workshop I held in April. The workshop was very well attended, including 1st to 6th students from 23 graduate groups, representing all three colleges. Over a dozen graduate students who were interested in the workshop but could not attend were sent the handout over e-mail, and the handout was later posted on the PFTF website so that other students could have access to it. The response to the workshop's presentation and handout were overwhelmingly positive, with most students rating it as very helpful, and several older students remarking that they wished this information had been distributed earlier in their careers.
It is my hope that this program could continue in the future, so that graduate students could be made aware of the many sources of summer employment in their first year of graduate school, helping everyone to "survive the summer".
Mentors Mentoring Mentors: Tips from Faculty for Faculty on Becoming a Better Mentor
Studies have continually identified strong mentoring as central to success in graduate school. Good mentoring can help alleviate a number of common problems in graduate education involving attrition, time to degree, and mental health.
Given how important mentoring is to graduate education, I believe that more resources need to be devoted to the development of faculty's mentoring skills. Mentoring, for most, is not a natural or inherent skill. Rather, good mentors must be taught and who better to learn from than one's peers? Therefore, my project consisted of a workshop for faculty that was designed to help identify techniques, qualities, and attitudes essential to good mentoring. The panel consisted of four past recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award. Based on their personal experiences, they were asked to comment on what makes a good mentor and ways to incorporate this into interactions with students. Their topics of discussions were chosen from a list of topics relevant to mentoring in academia ranging from mentoring diverse student populations to mentoring during the dissertation/thesis stage.
The entire faculty community was invited to attend. Personal letters from the Dean of Graduate Studies were sent to new faculty inviting their participation in the event. Approximately 60 faculty were in attendance representing a wide range of academic disciplines and professional schools. Each attendee was given a copy of the UC Davis Mentoring Guidelines approved by Graduate Council in 1999 along with a brief mentoring resource guide that included citation information and summaries of four important mentoring resources including The University of Michigan's Rackham Graduate School Mentoring Guide, a publication of the Council of Graduate Schools, an article based on survey results of UC Davis faculty, and a nationally recognized publication on mentoring in the sciences and engineering. Participants were also asked to fill out a survey to solicit feedback and suggestions for future mentoring workshops.
I have received overwhelmingly positive responses from faculty and panelist regarding this project. Participants were pleased with the opportunity to learn from their peers and repeatedly expressed interest in future workshops and discussions. Several graduate program staff also requested copies of information made available during the discussion to share with their respective programs. Overall, I feel this project is a valuable start to a much needed university-wide dialogue on mentoring.