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Resources for Mentors

Mentor 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. Faculty may also register for additional mentor information by subscribing to the graduate mentoring email list.

Subscribe to the Graduate Mentoring Email List

Mentoring During COVID-19

We encourage all faculty mentors to reach out to their graduate students regularly and be a source of support during this stressful time.  Visit our Mentoring During COVID-19 page for suggested topics to discuss with your mentee with links to relevant resources.  The NIH also recently offered a helpful webinar Supporting Yourself and Your Trainees During the Coronavirus Pandemic, which focuses on mental health and can be applied across discipline.  


It is helpful for mentors to have a general understanding of mentoring best practices. The resources below provide mentors with definitions of mentoring, guides on how to be a positive mentor, and how to asses their mentoring:

  • 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 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

  • Mentoring Competency Assessment (MCA)
    The MCA is a validated instrument for mentors to assess their own mentoring.  This can help mentors to identify their strengths and weaknesses.  


    Center for Improvement of Mentored Experience in Research
    CIMER offers mentor and mentee training and resources for all career stages of post-secondary researchers.

  • Webinars

  • Maximizing Mentoring Relationships
    Led by Sharon Milgram of the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education, this workshop provides best practices in mentorship including topics such as setting expectations, stereotype threat, and imposter syndrome. 

    Culturally Aware Mentorship
    Offered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences training community, this webinar discusses the impact of cultural awareness on effective mentorship.

    Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health 
    A webinar from the Council of Graduate Schools on supporting graduate student mental health. 

    Tips for Effective Conversations with Trainees
    Discusses best practices for communication with mentees.

    Additional webinars can be found on our Mentor Workshops page (listed as recordings). 

Communication & 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

  • Tools

    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 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.

    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.

    Sample Mentoring Agreement
    A sample agreement for mentors and mentees that establishes basic expectations.
  • Supervising Employees

  • You’re the Boss: Managing Your Team
    This presentation from the Academic Affairs Brown Bag Series provides advice on supervising teaching assistants and graduate student researchers.

    Managing Multigenerational Teams
    This article from Science includes advice on how to manage teams of diverse ages and how to avoid generational bias.

    The Supervisory Role of Life Science Research Faculty: The Missing Link to Diversifying the Academic Workforce?
    This article discusses the role of faculty mentors as supervisors and best practices for running a lab.

    Academic Personnel
    Information and links to resources for employing postdoctoral scholars and graduate students as Teaching Assistants, Associate In_, Readers and Tutors; and Graduate Student Researchers.  Additional questions can be sent to Tracey Pereida at

  • Communication & Conflict Management

  • 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. 

    Communication Hacks for Promoting Learning
    This document outlines tips and questions to use for having a difficult conversation or offering support to a mentee.

    10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation
    A Ted Talk  by Celeste Headlee on how to have better conversations.

    Brené Brown discusses the value of empathy to foster connections.

    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.

    Mind Matters: Managing Conflict in the Lab
    This article provide strategies to minimize conflicts in a lab environment, but the strategies are helpful for other working environments as well.

    Recognizing and Responding to Bullying and Abrasive Behaviors
    This presentation offered through the Academic Affairs Brown Bag Series provides an overview on bullying and how to respond. 

    Policies and Guidance Related to Bullying and Faculty Behavior
    This document compiles the current policies and UC guidance on bullying.

Academic Success & 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
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Program
    The Office of Research offers a Responsible Conduct of Research program that covers information, training, and tools to address the increasingly complex issues.

    Supporting the Research Process
    A guide from University of Minnesota on how to mentor through the research process.

    Fieldwork Safety Program
    UC Davis resources for fieldwork safety. 

    Safe Fieldwork Strategies
    An article from Nature on how mentors can support at-risk individuals conducting fieldwork. 

  • Graduate Student Writing 

  •  Working with Graduate Student Writers Faculty Guide
    Created by Purdue University, this resource guides faculty on how to better support graduate students with their writing.

    Mentoring Research Writers
    A guide from University of Wisconsin-Madison with strategies on how to mentor trainees with their writing, including tips on the drafting and revision phases of writing.

    Guidelines for Facilitating Publication of Graduate Student Work
    UC Davis guidelines regarding authorship and publication. 

    Conventions of Scientific Authorship
    An article about author attribution and what to consider. 

    Preventing Plagiarism 
    Strategies for preventing and detecting plagiarism in student work.

    Writing and Publishing Resources
    GradPathways provides writing and publishing development in partnership with the University Writing Program.

    Professionalism and Ethics Resources
    GradPathways Institute for Professional Development has workshops and compiled campus resources for research skills and ethics.

    UC Davis Library Workshops
    The Library offers workshops on topics such as, citation managers and avoiding plagiarism.

    Citation Styles
    The Library offers guides on how to cite properly for every style.

    Avoiding Plagiarism 
    A video that defines plagiarism and how to avoid it.

  • 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. 


  • Teaching

  • 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 & Support 

Resources below can help mentors provide support to their mentees in an individualized manner: