Appendix C: Faculty Mentor Guidelines

The following Berkeley Social Welfare Guidelines for Faculty when Mentoring Doctoral Students are adapted from the Graduate Council (Appendix 11, 2006), amended by doctoral students and faculty. Faculty mentors should:

Guide students through degree requirements and the qualifying exam experience:

  • Understand the policies, procedures, and requirements for doctoral education in the School of Social Welfare and in accordance with the Graduate Division.
  • Welcome doctoral students into the program and assist their integration into the school.
  • Contact all advisees at the beginning of every semester to determine how they will structure the mentor / mentee relationship in terms of the timing and frequency of meetings and develop a mutual understanding of goals for activities and products.
  • Meet regularly with students enrolled in independent study units to discuss program progress, requirements, timelines for task completion, etc.
  • Complete a curriculum memo that lists statistics and methods courses the student plans to take each semester during the first three years of study and report it to the Doctoral Program Chair, student, and GSAO.
  • Consult with students on outside / elective course selection.
  • Conduct an annual, comprehensive review as part of the Student Progress Summary.
  • Ensure students understand eligibility and responsibilities in relation to various internal funding options (GSR, GSI, normative time fellowship) and proceed strategically.
  • Guide students to consider drafting at least one qualifying exam paper in a publishable format. (Including guiding students to conceptualize a doable, journal-length research question and hypothesis, identify an appropriate journal to target for the paper, and writing an exam paper that is 20-25 pages in length.)
  • Introduce students to faculty with whom their academic interests naturally align. Provide consultation for students around building relationships with faculty inside and outside the school and university, with particular attention to identifying other qualifying exam committee members from inside and outside departments, and connecting with other qualifying exam committee members.
  • Assist students in negotiating difficult group or interpersonal dynamics if faced in the process of the preparing for the qualifying examination. Advocate for the student as necessary and appropriate.
  • Assist students in developing the dissertation prospectus which clearly conceptualizes and motivates the research; articulates research questions, methods, and analytic strategies; and presents implications of proposed research for the profession.
  • Assist students in gaining access to the Disabled Students’ Program for those with extenuating circumstances.

Guide students through their dissertation research:

  • Assist student in selecting an appropriate dissertation topic that is meaningful, feasible, and valuable to the field.
  • Assist student in identifying additional committee members both within and outside of the School. Offer support in making connections with outside faculty as needed.
  • Help students develop approaches to building and engaging in research partnerships.
  • Provide training and oversight in the design and critique of research projects, rigorous research methodologies and analytic strategies, theoretical and technical aspects of the dissertation, and in professional integrity.
  • Provide regular and timely feedback on students’ progress and constructive criticism if the students’ progress does not meet expectations.
  • Encourage an open exchange of ideas.
  • Assist in the development of a research dissemination plan, including participation in both scholarly and public discourse.
  • Provide and discuss clear criteria for authorship of jointly authored publications.
  • Assist in identifying and applying for sources of dissertation funding.

Guide students through professional development:

  • Help students learn strategies for collegial and responsible engagement with scholars, students, practitioners, policy-makers, and other community members.
  • Review a student’s CV early and often, engaging in an honest assessment of student strengths as well as opportunities needed for further development.
  • Help students form right-sized goals and useful writing routines.
  • Work with students to prepare conference abstracts and presentations. As possible, help students secure funding to travel to conferences.
  • Help students make contact with faculty in other Schools of Social Welfare through networking opportunities at conferences and other settings.
  • Talk with students early and often about publishing (including reviewing and commenting on article drafts, offering advice about publishing outlets, helping to shape article ideas and structure, etc.).
  • Guide and support a student’s development as a teacher.
  • Consult with students in making strategic decisions around service roles (boards, committees, consultation, practice, advocacy, peer review).
  • Support students in their application for research funding, fellowship support, and other applications as appropriate.
  • Provide career guidance and support including writing letters of recommendation in a timely fashion, helping students prepare for interviews, and other recruitment procedures.
  • Provide guidance, if asked, to promote physical and mental health, navigate personal and professional responsibilities, find community in the Bay Area, and seek support / accommodation for a disability, including directing students to campus resources that may assist the student.
  • Guide students in acculturating to the overall culture of the academy and be alert to the identity transitions that happen during this acculturation process.
  • Help students prepare for leadership roles with competence, thoughtfulness, and humility.

Guide students through the job search process and thinking about post-PhD steps:

  • Meet regularly with students to discuss long-term professional goals. Respect students’ desires to change career goals, if necessary.
  • Assist students in determining whether a post-doctoral appointment would be beneficial to their career development and, if so, in seeking such a position.
  • Support students in developing their identity as a scholar, developing a research trajectory, and transitioning from doctoral student to assistant professor mindset.
  • Assist students in developing job search materials (cover letter, research statement, teaching portfolio), read drafts, and provide edits and conceptual feedback.
  • Connect students to faculty in schools they may be interested in.
  • Be present at social work conferences and help students network for jobs at conferences.
  • Assist students in preparing for interviews and job talks by participating in mock interviews and job talks.

Be thoughtful about each student as a unique individual:

  • Mentors should be reflective of power dynamics in the mentoring relationship.
  • Mentors should recognize and seek to understand the various cultures of their students.
  • Mentors should build trust and create a comfortable working environment, especially for students who identify with groups that have been traditionally excluded from, underrepresented, or marginalized in academia.
  • Mentors should consider the possibility that students may need extra support due to family responsibilities, but not assume that students with family responsibilities need extra support or are any less committed to their careers.
  • Mentors should consider the possibility that students identifying with groups that have been traditionally excluded from, underrepresented, or marginalized in academia may need extra support, but should not assume that students identifying in this way need extra support. It is helpful to ask the student what kind of support s/he desires, and be open to mentoring students in their preferred way.

Mentors should honor and leverage the student’s unique strengths such that s/he can contribute to the mentoring relationship, school, and profession in meaningful ways.