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. Below are some suggested topics to discuss with your mentee with links to relevant resources.
The NIH 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.
Tips for Discussion:
- 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 academic, personal, or medical needs. It may be difficult for students to ask for accommodations directly. The Student Disability Center is offering daily drop-in hours for faculty and students as a resource on technological accommodations during this time or watch their latest webinar.
- Discuss any financial or employment concerns. What will their employment duties look like for the 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. Review tips for both faculty and students. Additional advice for students can be found at Defending a Dissertation by Videoconference.