Welcome to the Oregon State University Graduate School's section on mentoring. The intent of this site is to make available information on how to improve faculty mentoring of graduate students. Many graduate students state that they are looking for a mentoring relationship within their field of study that helps them in school and in starting their professional career. On this first page we will define what we mean by "mentoring" and then provide links to resources that may help expand your knowledge of mentoring for implementation and inclusion in your own practice.
So what is mentoring and is it different from advising? Though people could define them in different ways, for our purposes, mentoring goes beyond advising. While advising tends to focus on more programmatic elements of the university experience (e.g. what classes to take, the steps required for the degree, etc.) mentoring is a more holistic approach that includes both functions and behaviors. Essential functions and behaviors of a mentor include:
Essential Functions of a Mentor
- Information Provider - providing reliable information on courses/programs/research issues.
- Socializer - to department, discipline, and the profession.
- Role model - of academic professional serving the functions of research, instruction, and service.
- Advocate - of the welfare of graduates academically and politically.
Essential Behaviors of a Mentor
- Trusting and maintaining a positive relationship throughout the student's period of study.
- Reliable, consistent, good listener
- Accepting of adult development needs of their graduates, recognizing, the student's needs for self-determination and independence.
What is clear from the above lists is that mentoring offers students a personal relationship that goes beyond simply providing information.
Considering that books and manuals have been written on the subject of mentoring (see reference links), providing full exposure in this forum is probably not practical. We present a distilled version of some of the essential elements of mentoring in our training modules. In addition, we provide links to resources available on the Internet that may help guide a faculty member's pursuit of developing their mentoring skills.
Mentor Training Modules
Other Thoughts on Mentoring