Mentoring and Advising Graduate Students in a COVID-19 Environment
As campus prepares for remote work and instruction, graduate programs will also need to transition to providing remote advising and mentoring. Below are some resources to help faculty and staff adjust to advising students online and guidance on topics to discuss as we face new challenges with the Corona Virus.
Advising Resources for Graduate Program Coordinators and Graduate Program Advisors
Graduate program coordinators and graduate program advisors can provide advising to graduate students through virtual appointments. UC Davis Academic Advising Enrichment has put together the below Zoom resources that may be helpful as graduate programs adjust to remote advising needs.
- Zoom offers a help center, video tutorials, and live and pre-recorded training webinars
- Also helpful:
- Create (and personalize) your own personal virtual meeting room. To remain FERPA compliant, use the Waiting Room feature to dismiss one appointment before admitting the next appointment.
Tips for Faculty Mentors
We encourage all faculty mentors to reach out to their graduate students regularly and be a source of support during this stressful time. Below are some suggested topics to discuss with your mentee.
- Ensure your graduate student has access to basic needs, medical, and mental health resources. Campus does support online counseling sessions for remote support. Concerned about your student? Submit a CARE report and a campus case manager will reach out to the student to help. Additional wellness resources can be found in Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus. Resources for parents can be found at COVID-19 Student Parent Community Resources.
- Let your mentee know you are supportive of accommodating any personal or medical needs. It may be difficult for students to ask for accommodations directly.
- Discuss any financial or employment concerns. What will their employment duties look like for Spring Quarter? If needed, additional information on paid leave can be found on our Graduate Education Guidance page.
- Set up a communication plan. How will you check in with each other? Can you meet via Zoom or Skype? Schedule regular updates and outline communication expectations. Try to also conduct virtual group or lab meetings so students (and you!) can maintain a sense of community. You may consider using Slack to communicate more informally. Slack is a collaboration tool that allows teams to communicate in real-time via chat in public or private channels. More resources can be found at Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success.
- Discuss academic and research expectations. How will their quarter be impacted by online courses or limited lab work? What challenges might they face working remotely (access to technology, childcare responsibilities, etc.)? Adjust expectations fairly and appropriately. Document plans so you can both refer to the agreement throughout the quarter or adjust as needed. We recommend Some Advice for PhD Students and Their Mentors in the Time of Coronavirus for guidance on how to adjust to working remotely and Writing Techniques for the Socially Distanced Grad for students in the writing phase.
- Plan ahead for any remote qualifying exams or defenses. A faculty member recently put together helpful tips on how to best manage these oral exams remotely. Additional advice for students can be found at Defending a Dissertation by Videoconference.
Questions? Graduate Studies Can Help.
For more information about provisional changes to graduate education policy, leave options, and degree progress, visit our COVID-19 Graduate Education Guidance page. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org