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Mentoring Resources for Mentees

Mentee Resources

Research shows that positive mentor-mentee relationships benefit graduate student success and well-being. Graduate students also benefit from multiple mentors and should create a mentorship network to guide them during graduate school.  Rather than seeking comprehensive mentorship from one sole mentor, graduate students should create a collective of mentors to guide them on their various needs and goals.  Resources for creating positive mentor relationships can be found below.

  • Choosing a Mentor 

  • How to Pick a Graduate Advisor
    This article by Ben Barres explains what to look for in a faculty mentor, particularly in a STEM field. 

    What to Ask in a PhD Advisor Guide
    This guide has questions you should consider before choosing a lab or faculty mentor.

    Interview Questions to Help Assess Fit
    Questions to consider and ask to find a mentor that is the right fit for you.

    Questions to Ask When Choosing a Graduate Advisor 
    This blog post includes questions to ask a potential mentor. 

  • Setting Expectations

  • 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 mentors.

    Get to Know Your Mentor
    A tool from Duke University on topics to discuss when setting expectations with your mentor.

    Your Expectations
    Use this tool from Univeristy Nebraska-Lincoln to clarify your expectations of a mentor. 

    Planning Your First Meeting
    Use this checklist from Univeristy Nebraska-Lincoln to plan for your first meeting with your mentor.

    Sample Mentoring Agreement
    A sample mentoring agreement to complete with your mentor. 

  • Career and Professional Development

  • Individual Development Plan
    Fill this out with your mentor to formulate goals and timelines that best meet your professional and career development needs.

    Professional Development Plan
    This tool helps you articulate your professional goals and work with your mentor on how to achieve these goals.

    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.

  • Conflict Management 

  • Graduate Studies Problems and Dispute Resolution
    Graduate Studies is here to help you navigate and overcome obstacles to your academic success. 

    Office of the Ombuds
    The UC Davis Ombuds Office is a confidential, independent, impartial, and informal problem-solving and conflict management resource for all members of the UC Davis and UC Davis Health campus communities. 

    We Have to Talk: A Step-By-Step Checklist for Difficult Conversations
    A checklist by Judy Ringer on how to prepare and have a difficult conversation.

    Conflict Styles Assessment 
    This assessment helps mentors identify how they respond to conflict and how to be more aware of the implications of each style.

  • Further Reading

  • Mentee Responsibilities - 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.

    Great Mentoring in Graduate School: A QUICK START GUIDE FOR PROTÉGÉS
    A guide from the Council of Graduate Schools on creating positive mentor relationships and networks.

    How to Get the Mentoring You Want: A Guide for Graduate Students
    A guide from Rackham Graduate School of University of Michigan on setting up a successul relationship with your mentor.

    Rethinking Mentoring
    This article provides an overview of mentoring, mentoring structures, benefits, and how to set up a successful relationship.

    “Mentoring Up: Learning to Manage Your Mentoring Relationships”
    Mentoring expert Steve Lee wrote this book chapter with colleagues Rick McGee, Chris Pfund, and Janet Branchaw to equip and encourage mentees to be pro-active in their mentoring relationships. 

    Book Chapter: Beyond “Finding Good Mentors” to “Building and Cultivating Your Mentoring Team”
    The same set of colleagues (McGee, Lee, Pfund, Branchaw) wrote this book chapter, which touches on mentoring up also, in the book “Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook” by the National Postdoc Association.

  • Tools

  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) 
    Creating an Individual Development Plan or IDP allows graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to set professional development and career planning goals and take the steps necessary to complete them. 

    Mentoring Network Map
    This tool encourages mentees to find multiple mentors based on various areas they may need support.  

    Mentor Assessment
    This tool from UCSF helps you assess your mentor and find areas that need additional support.

    5-15 Template
    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.

    The National Research Mentoring Network
    This is a part of a major NIH-funded initiative to enhance the diversity of the biosciences. 

  • Workshops and Programs

  • GradPathways
    GradPathways offers many workshops that relate to mentoring relationships, communication, self-assessment, project management, etc.

    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.

    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 the GSADC, (, for more information.