IMPROVING ADVISING AND MENTORING

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1 Advising and Mentring IMPROVING ADVISING AND MENTORING OF GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS Advising is a key cmpnent in the successful cmpletin f a graduate degree. A gd advising relatinship crrelates psitively with student achievement, retentin, and satisfactin. A successful advising prcess ultimately reflects well n the department and the institutin and helps t build the prgram, attract high- quality students, recgnize faculty cntributins in this critical area, and cnserve scarce departmental resurces. The fllwing easy- t- implement prcess can help ensure that high- quality advising is a part f yur graduate prgrams. Clarify Expectatins Clleges and prgrams ften have different understandings f advising and mentring and it is becming increasingly cmmn t use advising teams. Clarifying expectatins in yur unit is an imprtant first step in prmting best practices in advising relatinships. Take steps t ensure that students in their prgrams receive high- quality advising and mentring; prgrams may wish t designate a persn t crdinate this effrt. The fllwing checklist ffers suggestins t cnsider: Hw ften are advisers expected t meet with their advisees? What are the key functins f an adviser? What are the bundaries f the relatinship between an adviser/advisee? What challenges d faculty face in prviding high- quality advising? Hw d cnflicts between students and advisers get reslved? We have nt discussed this in ur prgram. We have an infrmal understanding. We have a written plicy. A useful resurce, SUCCESS fr Faculty Mentrs and Graduate/Prfessinal Students, is available at May 2010

2 Strategies fr Imprving Advising and Mentring f Graduate and Prfessinal Students Prvide Orientatin Once yu have determined standards fr yur department, yu may want t develp written dcuments fr faculty and an rientatin prgram fr new students. Prviding an rientatin fr students and new graduate faculty will supprt students and their advisers as they wrk t establish a mutually beneficial cllabrative relatinship. In develping an rientatin prgram: Determine the infrmatin that students need within yur department. Things t cnsider: Academic requirements Criteria fr satisfactry prgress Culture Successful adviser- advisee relatinships Survival strategies Custmize by level: Years 1-2: strnger fcus n academic plan and GA/TA/RA expectatins Year 2-3: fcus n research and career Year 4 and n: fcus n career Integrate existing resurces, including the Graduate Student Virtual Cmmns. Utilize experienced students in planning, evaluating, and delivering rientatin sessins. Remember that rientatin need nt be a ne- time event; yu may wish t ffer shrter sessins n varius tpics thrughut the year. Cnsider ther methds f delivery, such as nline. Evaluate Prcess and Outcmes Satisfactin with advising, bth n the part f the student and f faculty, is als imprtant t assess. The Cuncil f Graduate Students (COGS) survey is a gd place t start. Reprts are available by unit fr thse with large enugh ppulatins. Yu may als want t cnduct yur wn assessment f advising. Cllecting baseline data and establishing quality indicatrs can help prvide a snapsht f yur advising prgram and identify areas fr cntinued develpment. 2

3 Strategies fr Imprving Advising and Mentring f Graduate and Prfessinal Students Indicatrs t cnsider are: Number f students wh graduate each year, nting Ph.D. track students wh master ut Number f, and circumstances regarding, students wh withdraw each year Number f, and circumstances regarding, students wh change advisers Feedback frm faculty n their advising rles Feedback frm students n the advising relatinship Belw is a sample template f the type f evaluatin frm that can be used t gather feedback frm students. Please feel free t mdify this template t fit yur individual prgram needs and take steps t ensure that the students in yur prgram feel cmfrtable sharing infrmatin n their advising experience. Specifically, if yur prgram departs significantly frm the ne adviser mdel, r if students d nt have an assigned adviser, be sure t edit the questins t accurately reflect the advising practice used by yur prgram. If there are very small numbers f students in the prgram, cnsider reprting the results in a larger aggregate summary. Cnsultants frm the Center fr Teaching and Learning (CTL) can help yu design an assessment plan that will be cnfidential, apprpriate t yur prgram, and simple t implement. They als wrk with prgrams t prmte the best use f findings. Finally, review annually with faculty any data that has been cllected t get their feedback, review expectatins, and cnsider ideas fr imprvement f current practice. Resurces Center fr Teaching and Learning Suite 400 University Office Plaza 2221 University Avenue S.E. Phne: Web: The Graduate Schl 322 Jhnstn Hall 101 Pleasant Street S.E. Cntact: Karen Starry Phne: Web: 3

4 Strategies fr Imprving Advising and Mentring f Graduate and Prfessinal Students Graduate Student Adviser Evaluatin Thank yu fr taking this survey, which seeks t gather infrmatin abut yur experience ver the past year abut yur advising relatinship. This imprtant feedback will be used t help imprve the quality f advising a critical functin f prgrams. Please answer as many questins as yu wish, and return the frm t (lcatin) by (date). Yur adviser will nt see this frm; the faculty in yur prgram may be infrmed f the summary f respnses. 1. Abut hw many times have yu met with yur academic adviser in the current academic year? mre than 5 2. Have yu talked with yur adviser abut any f the fllwing tpics? Please check all that apply. Prgress t date Academic curse planning Funding Publishing Attending cnferences Teaching Research Yur career gals The jb search prcess 3. My adviser is available when needed. Strngly Agree Strngly Disagree 4. My adviser has a thrugh understanding f my verall prgress. Strngly Agree Strngly Disagree 5. My adviser listens t my cncerns and questins. Strngly Agree Strngly Disagree 6. My adviser prvides cnstructive feedback. Strngly Agree Strngly Disagree Please indicate yur year f study: mre than 7 Please use the back f this sheet fr any cmments yu wish t make. 4

5 Advising and Mentring ORIENTATION PLANNING GUIDE: GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS Overview A successful rientatin prgram establishes a welcming and supprtive departmental culture fr students, and prvides them with the infrmatin, tls, cntacts, and cnfidence t thrive academically, prfessinally, and persnally. Orientatin can begin prir t yur students arrival n campus, and cntinue as they mve thrugh each stage f their academic careers. Orientatin prvides departments with the pprtunity t: Welcme and invite students t jin yur cmmunity f schlars; Fster an envirnment in which students feel empwered t ask questins, express cncerns, and seek assistance; and Prvide infrmatin abut the department s expectatins fr satisfactry degree prgress, as well as realistic strategies fr navigating thrugh the graduate/prfessinal student experience. Orientatin prvides students with the pprtunity t: Establish cnnectins with departmental faculty, staff, and students; Learn abut bth the fficial requirements and unfficial expectatins/cultural nuances f the department; Identify departmental, cllegiate, and university supprt services, as well as infrmal avenues fr assistance; and Ask questins and/r express cncerns.

6 Orientatin Planning Guide: Graduate and Prfessinal Students Planning Yur Orientatin Prgram Ensure that yur department s expectatins fr satisfactry degree prgress are clearly articulated and easily available t yur students. Empwer yur current students in the planning prcess. Cnsider asking the fllwing questins: Hw wuld yu describe a successful rientatin experience? What infrmatin was mst crucial fr yu t knw upn entering the prgram in rder t thrive during yur first year? What is the mst effective rientatin frmat fr sharing that infrmatin with students? Cnsider incrprating ne r mre f the fllwing best- practice elements int yur rientatin: Peer mentring, which prvides structured pprtunities fr experienced graduate/prfessinal students t meet with and assist new students. Small grup discussins, t share infrmatin abut hw graduate/prfessinal students fit int the academic culture, and abut their new rle(s). Recgnitin f yur students diversity f cultures, values, and experiences, and hw this diversity may, fr example, infrm their sense f belnging in an academic envirnment, and hw they best interact with faculty, staff, and ther students. Onging frmal and infrmal pprtunities fr peer and faculty interactins, thrughut the students first and subsequent years, that address their nging needs. Sessins fr mre advanced students might fcus n research methds, thesis/dissertatin writing, funding, and career ptins. Delivering Yur Orientatin Prgram Prir t students arrival n campus: Send a welcme letter t yur incming students, if yur department des nt already d s. The letter culd include infrmatin abut imprtant dates, funding and appintments, selected readings n academia and/r persnal and prfessinal develpment, infrmatin n the necessities (parking and transit ptins, lcal fd, husing), and cntact infrmatin fr students if they have any questins. Take advantage f the MyU Prtal fr admitted students, which prvides university- wide infrmatin, and (fr mst departments) a cell fr yu t prvide prgram- specific infrmatin, such as rientatin date(s), links t faculty bis, links t student rganizatins, and links t prgram pages fr Facebk, Twitter, etc. Early in the first semester: Prvide an initial rientatin sessin that incrprates any/all f the elements described abve, as well as any elements yu identify as imprtant fr yur students. 2

7 Orientatin Planning Guide: Graduate and Prfessinal Students Byntn Health Services Phne: (Clinic) Web: Prgrams t Partner with in Orientatin Delivery Center fr Teaching and Learning Phne: Web: www1.umn.edu/hr/teachlearn/ University Cunseling and Cnsulting Services Phne: Web: Academic cunseling Persnal cunseling Dissertatin supprt grup University Libraries Web: Other surces, as apprpriate 3

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