Building a Mentoring Relationship

Some practical suggestions for research mentors:

  • Lay out expectations clearly and early. Set regular meetings with your scholar and hold them accountable for making these meetings. Don't expect the scholar to adhere to unspoken or unwritten rules that may be second nature to more experienced researchers.

  • Clarify expectations. Explain how much time and effort is necessary to complete the research.

  • Be an active advisor. Talk about your graduate school, career and research experiences. This can open the lines of communication between you and your mentee.

  • Help your scholar network. Introduce your mentee to other faculty members and more advanced students. This helps the scholar feel welcome in the research milieu. This is especially important for members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

  • Suggest and discuss readings. Help your scholar become familiar with the literature in their field of interest.

  • Tell people about your mentee. Contact potential graduate schools and former colleagues about your mentee. Make formal or informal recommendations for your scholar to faculty at other institutions.

  • Assist with graduate school applications. Aid your mentee in defining and articulating goals in preparation for writing a personal statement for applications.

  • Meet informally too. Have lunch or coffee to discuss research or graduate school plans.

Mentor Resources

Are you interested in becoming a faculty mentor for the McNair Scholar Program?

To be added to the pool of prospective mentors, please fill out the:

Prospective Mentor Intake Form