Graduate Mentoring Symposium
Monday, October 31
Schine 304

The event features concurrent session threads tailored respectively to grad students (Schine 304A), faculty (Schine 304B), and college/department administrators (Schine 304C), followed by a plenary session featuring Jan Allen (Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Cornell); Versatile PhD founder Paula Chambers; and Beth Boehm (Dean of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies and Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs, University of Louisville), all contributors to the Graduate School Press’s recent publication The Mentoring Continuum: From Graduate School through Tenure. A reception and book launch conclude the program.


1:00−2:15 p.m. Schine 304A
Getting the Mentoring You Need

  • Studies consistently reveal quality of mentoring to be the single greatest factor in grad student success and professional attainment. Developing and maintaining strong mentoring relationships is thus imperative for grad students in all programs. Two advisor/advisee pairs offer advice on such topics as approaching prospective mentors, realistic expectations on both sides, seeking multiple mentors, negotiating difference in mentoring relationships, the possibility of switching advisors, and how to raise concerns and ask for support.

Prof. James Henderson, Biomedical and Chemical Engineering
Ariel Ash-Shakoor, PhD candidate, Biomedical and Chemical Engineering
Prof. Christine Ashby, Teaching and Leadership
Prof. Carrie Rood, Foundations and Social Advocacy, SUNY Cortland (SU PhD, 2016)
moderator: Glenn Wright, Director of Programs, The Graduate School

1:00−2:15 p.m. Schine 304B
The Habits of Effective Graduate Mentors

  • You want to be a good mentor to graduate students. Your own professional advancement and reputation depend to an extent on the success of your students. At the same time, other priorities and deadlines loom. How can you best manage your mentoring commitments while making the most of your opportunities as a mentor? A panel of university leaders and decorated mentors considers such issues as engaging graduate students with teaching, publication, and grant-seeking; realistic expectations on both sides; sponsoring graduate students’ entry into their professions; mentoring time management; making your mentoring efforts legible; and mentoring students with different goals and attitudes.

Joanna Masingila, Dean, School of Education
Shobha Bhatia, Professor of Civil Engineering and Director, Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE)
Peter Vanable, Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Vice President for Research
moderator: Kristi Andersen, Professor Emeritus of Political Science

1:00−2:15 p.m. Schine 304C
Promoting a Culture of Mentoring

  • The mentoring graduate students receive can—indeed, generally does—make or break their graduate school experience and immediate career prospects. How can administrators and faculty leaders at the college, department, and graduate program levels promote quality mentoring and foster a culture in which it is valued? Drawing on her experience in graduate leadership positions at a range of institutions (University of Tennessee−Knoxville, Northwestern, Columbia, Cornell), Dr. Jan Allen describes some concrete steps that administrators can take, within realistic time and resource constraints, to help faculty grow in the mentoring role, engage graduate students actively in their own mentoring, facilitate degree completion (e.g., dissertation writing groups and “boot camps”), and appropriately incentivize graduate mentorship.

Jan Allen, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, The Graduate School, Cornell University

2:30−3:45 p.m. Schine 304A
Creating a Peer-Mentoring Program

  • The most significant development in graduate mentoring in recent years has been the widespread adoption of formal peer-mentoring programs and networks. Advanced grad students are among the most effective mentors for their junior colleagues, and the existence of such programs helps forge cohesion and purpose within graduate cohorts. The best way to organize a peer-mentoring effort, though, will depend on the size of the academic program, the goals of degree-seekers, and departmental/college resources. Grad students who have created or participated in peer-mentoring programs will discuss models and options, and advise on how to kickstart a program. Moderating the session is peer-mentoring advocate Dr. Beth Boehm (University of Louisville).

T.J. West, PhD candidate, English Jash Mehta, MS student, Information Management Scarlett Rebman, PhD candidate, History moderator: Dr. Beth Boehm, Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, University of Louisville

2:30−3:45 p.m. Schine 304B
Mentoring and Non-Academic Careers

  • Tenured and tenure-track professors are under increasing pressure to achieve ever more with ever less support. They know that many if not most of their graduate students will probably wind up in non-academic careers, and they want to help, but they don’t know how or they worry that it will take too much time away from their other responsibilities. In this presentation, Versatile PhD founder Dr. Paula Chambers presents a simple five-point plan for how to be a better mentor for graduate students in the area of non-academic careers. The plan identifies actions and adjustments that are doable without a major time investment, and stresses that even doing any one of the five points will make them a better mentor in this area than they now are. A short series of hands-on exercises will help faculty come away with actionable insights for helping their graduate student mentees get hired both inside and outside the academy.

Paula Chambers, founder and CEO, The Versatile PhD

2:30−3:45 p.m. Schine 304C
Facilitating Mentoring Networks

  • In this workshop, academic and program administrators will learn about various forms that mentoring programs can typically take, how they are structured and implemented, and the strengths and cautions associated with each. A network model of mentoring for professional development will be emphasized and participants will consider the elements of a successful mentoring network. Finally, participants will reflect on possibilities for structuring a network-based mentoring program within their academic units or programs.

Dr. Marie Garland, Executive Director, SU Advance
Sharon Alestalo, Program Director, SU Advance and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE)

4:00−5:15 p.m. Schine 304AB
Graduate Mentoring: Departures and Approaches

  • Graduate mentoring in the 21st century has seen the emergence of peer-, multiple-, and self-mentoring paradigms; web-facilitated mentoring; the increasing imperative of nonacademic career preparation in various fields; utilitarian logics at work in universities; and a shifting labor market for graduate degree-holders. A distinguished panel of contributors to The Mentoring Continuum: From Graduate School through Tenure will review the state of play in graduate mentoring, indicating promising approaches, challenges to be addressed, and opportunities for student/faculty/administrative collaboration.

Jan Allen, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, The Graduate School, Cornell University
Paula Chambers, founder and CEO, The Versatile PhD
Beth Boehm, Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs and Dean, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, University of Louisville
moderator: Glenn Wright, Director of Programs, The Graduate School

5:30 p.m. Schine 304


The event is supported by the Graduate Student Organization