Skip to Content

From the Dean: Improving the mentorship experience for all

The Graduate School has undertaken several steps in the last year to improve our mentorship offerings for graduate students and faculty

The Graduate School has undertaken several projects over the past few years to improve the graduate student experience. Among the most important of those is the work we’ve done, and continue to do, to improve the mentoring that our students receive. 

Scott Adler Headshot

Mentorship is a concept thrown around a lot in higher education these days—and for good reason. Studies from multiple organizations, including a recent one from the American Council on Education, have shown that it can enrich the graduate student experience by improving students’ satisfaction with their programs; demystifying processes and pathways; expanding students’ social networks by getting them more involved in professional organizations; and giving them a stronger sense of professional identity. 

Universities are not the only ones making mentoring a priority. Federal agencies are also increasingly requiring principal investigators whose projects include funding for postdocs or graduate research assistants to have formal mentor training and/or a mentoring plan to be considered for funding. 

To that end, we have undertaken several initiatives this past year to better prepare both our students and faculty: 

  • We hired Natasha Shrikant, an associate professor of communication, as faculty director of our, a new initiative that seeks to build educational opportunities and community support for those who strive to excel at mentoring graduate students. This effort is partially supported by a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Grant from the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 
  • We from the Sloan Centers for Systemic Change initiative to further develop our faculty and student mentoring programs.  
  • We partnered with the Center for Teaching and Learning to provide for both faculty and graduate students, which can lead to inclusive research mentoring micro-credential. 

Additionally, we have worked hard to enhance and expand our, which pairs established graduate students with peers who are new to graduate school to provide support, guidance and connection.

I’m excited about all of these efforts that have been undertaken by the Graduate School and for all of the ones to come.

If you’d like to get involved, more information is available on our newly revamped .