UC Davis faculty member with graduate students

Resources for Mentors

How to Use These Resources

Faculty mentors guide graduate students on their academic and professional growth and support them in finding resources to meet their personal needs and goals. An investment in mentoring enhances graduate student retention and well-being, allowing graduate students to successfully navigate and thrive in graduate programs. Below are tools and resources to assist faculty in their own development as mentors.

Contact Us

If you have questions about particular resources, please contact Elizabeth Sturdy, Director of Mentoring and Academic Success Initiatives. 


Mentoring Guides

  • UC Davis Graduate Council Mentoring Guidelines: Graduate Council recognizes that the mentoring of graduate students by faculty is an integral part of the graduate experience for both. The responsibilities of the faculty mentor are broad and diverse. They include, but are not limited to serving as a role model, advising a student as to course work requirements, and providing formal instruction in a given discipline as well as helping students identify and achieve their individual short and long-term educational goals.
  • How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty: A guide from University of Michigan's Rackham Graduate School that provides an extensive overview of mentoring and general guidelines.
  • The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM: An online guide from The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine. 
  • Nature's Guide for Mentors: This article outlines the qualities of good mentors and tips for creating a successful relationship with your mentee. 
  • Rethinking Mentoring: This article provides an overview of mentoring, mentoring structures, benefits, and how to set up a successful relationship.
  • Entering Mentoring: This material from the University of Wisconsin provides a valuable framework for mentoring relationships and has many useful exercises. Their 1st edition is available as a free pdf.

Additional Tools


Communication and Relationship Building

The key to a successful mentoring relationship is to establish expectations early, communicate regularly, and address any conflicts swiftly. We have resources and tools in the following areas to help mentors:

Setting Expectations


  • Student Progress Assessment: The Student Progress Assessment (SPA) allows major professors and/or graduate advisors to evaluate a graduate student's progress and provide future goals and expectations.  
  • Student-Advisor Expectations: This document outlines key areas every mentor and mentee should consider and discuss to ensure their expectations are aligned.
  • Questionnaire for Aligning Expectations in Research Mentoring Relationships: Managing expectations between mentors and mentees can be challenging and is a common source of conflict in mentoring relationships.  This tool has been designed as a discussion starter for use by research mentors and student mentees. The goal of using this questionnaire is to provide a framework for a fruitful discussion about each person’s expectations, and how to decide on appropriate ongoing actions as the relationship develops.
  • Developing Shared Expectations: A tool from Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan that provides suggested topics to discuss with mentees.
  • Advice for Structuring the Mentoring Process: This document outlines how to manage expectations differently for each phase of the mentoring relationship.
  • 5:15 Tool: This tool helps students prepare content for a meeting with their mentor and it should take roughly 15 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes for the mentor to read prior to the meeting.  The template includes sections on accomplishments, plans, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. This could help structure update meetings, document discussions, and allow for more efficient use of meeting time.

Sample Documents

  • Mentoring Compacts: Faculty mentors may want to consider developing a mentoring compact, which is similar to a syllabus that lays out the expectations and goals for both the mentor and mentee.
  • Advising Statement: Ad advising statement outlines how a faculty member approaches the mentoring relationship and establishes expectations for the mentee. An example is provided here.

Supervising Employees

Communication & Conflict Management

Academic Success and Professional Development

Mentors provide invaluable guidance and feedback on a student’s writing, research, professional development, and teaching. We have resources and tools in the following areas to help mentors.

Graduate Student Research

Graduate Student Writing 


Career and Professional Development 

  • The Mentor Mirror: Created by Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Renetta Tull, the mentor mirror outlines a reverse IDP for mentors to plan how they will promote professional development in their mentees.
  • Individual Development Plan: Fill this out with your mentee to assist them in formulating goals and timelines that best meet their professional and career development needs.
  • CV of Failures: This articles shares how one Princeton professor created a document of his so-called failures to normalize rejection and failure for his students.
  • Creating Developmental Networks: An exercise based on the Developmental Network Model by Professor Kathy Kram, this helps you map out your own mentor network.


Career Management Resources: GradPathways, Counseling Services, and the Internship and Career Center provide workshops, one-on-one advising, and other resources to assist with career exploration, finding positions, and forming networks. 


Center for Educational Effectiveness: The CEE offers faculty workshops on promoting and supporting effective learning for all students.  The CEE offers TA training and resources for graduate student teaching.

Awareness and Support

The resources below can help mentors provide support to their mentees in an individualized manner.

Historically Excluded & First-Generation Students and Scholars

  • Mentoring BIPOC in a University Setting: A guide from UC Davis graduate student Veronica Padilla Vriesman on mentoring Black graduate students and graduate students of color. 
  • Safe Fieldwork Strategies: An article from Nature on how mentors can support at-risk individuals conducting fieldwork. 
  • Graduate Students of Color Mentoring Program: Organized by the Cross-Cultural Center, this 2-quarter long program pairs a faculty mentor with a graduate student.  Through faculty mentorship and other programming, the GSoC Mentoring Program holistically supports its graduate student participants as they navigate the rigors of graduate school. Contact the Cross Cultural Center for more information.
  • Diversity Initiatives, Literature, and ResourcesLearn more about the initiatives and resources, as well as scholarship on mentoring and diversity, put together by Graduate Studies Diversity Officers.



First-Gen Grads: The First-Generation Graduate Student Initiative is designed to address the needs of first-generation graduate students with a multi-pronged approach involving 1) peer mentorship, 2) professional development, and 3) a series of networking events. Contact Josephine Moreno for more information. 

Mental Health and Wellness

  • Responses for Distressed and Distressing Students: A handout that helps faculty know when and where to escalate issues when interacting with students in distress or cause distress to others.
  • Gatekeeping Training Study: Two separate mental health trainings are being offered on campus as part of a study sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs. These trainings are designed to help equip TAs, staff, and faculty with skills and the knowledge they need to comfortably and confidently speak to students about mental health concerns and then refer them to appropriate mental health resources.  
  • Case Management (Student Support): UC Davis non-clinical Case Managers, based in the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA), are here to provide support and assistance to students in need. Anyone can contact a case manager when they are concerned about a student. The student may be in distress due to emotional issues, health, family or personal relationships, grades, academic standing, or other problems.
  • Health and Well-Being Resources for Graduate Students and Their Mentors: This document includes a comprehensive list of mental health and wellness resources on campus. 



  • Wellness and Life Balance: GradPathways partners with Student Health and Counseling Services to provide workshops on topics such as stress reduction, physical activity and time management. 
  • Counseling Services: Graduate students can meet with Dr. Bai-Yin Chen, a psychologist specializing in college mental health and graduate student concerns and issues, at Graduate Studies.
  • Resources for Supporting Grad Student Well-being: The Inclusive Graduate Education Network's list of resources on mental health and wellness, imposter syndrome, and self care.