Mentoring Toolkit

Mentorship is a central aspect of our scientific community in PBS. All graduate students in PBS are assigned a Mentoring Team: a committee of two faculty members and a senior peer graduate student who provides team-based, holistic support throughout the early years of grad school. This Mentoring Toolkit was designed to support Mentoring Teams, and to orient  those who mentor graduate students in PBS to information and expectations around mentoring.

Within this Toolkit, there are three forms which all graduate mentors/mentees in the department are required to submit to the department at various points. There are also a number of outside resources relating to knowledge and skills around mentorship in STEM.

Mentoring in PBS

Mentorship is an essential component of science. Principal investigators will likely train and mentor individuals at various stages of scientific development: undergraduates, lab technicians, research assistants, graduate students, postdocs, and career research scientists. While the focus of training is to support the advisees in their formal responsibilities to progress towards academic and scientific goals, the focus of mentorship is the personal and professional growth of an advisee. Mentors share knowledge, experience, networks, and resources to guide, sponsor, and advise students in their development.

Successful mentoring is essential for the career satisfaction, research productivity, and personal development of a mentee. It forms the fabric of our scientific community. The skills and knowledge to effectively mentor must be continuously practiced and refined. Thus, the department pairs all tenure-track faculty in PBS with senior mentors both inside and outside of the department to guide in their development.

Mentoring Teams


What is a mentoring team?

All graduate students in PBS have a mentoring team. The role of this mentoring team is to provide an early-career graduate student with guidance and support as they get off the ground in graduate school (Years 1-2). This Mentoring Team is comprised of the student's PI, one secondary faculty member in the PBS graduate program, and one peer (a senior graduate student, called your "senior peer"). Although formal meetings aren't required after a student's second year, the secondary faculty mentor and senior peer can still serve as mentoring resources for a student. In later years students also have committees focused on their research (e.g. specialist and dissertation committees) who would also serve as mentors.

When do mentoring teams meet?

By December 15 of their first year in the program, all mentees in PBS should have an orientation meeting with their PI as well as an initial introductory meeting with the other members of their mentoring team (their secondary faculty mentor and their senior peer, together). Secondary faculty mentors should reach out to their mentee and the senior peer to schedule this introductory meeting during fall term. After that, mentees should schedule an annual individual meeting with their secondary faculty mentor and their senior peer to discuss personal development, career goals, and any hurdles each year (Years 1 and 2). These meetings can occur at any point throughout the year. This flowchart illustrates the standard mentoring meetings and timeline.

What is the structure of mentoring meetings?

Below, you will find forms created to guide the conversations in each of these meetings. Each form also has a signature page to document the meeting.  Graduate students are responsible for submitting each form to the PBS Department Administrator after the meeting takes place.

Outside Resources

How Can I Learn More About Mentoring?