This section addresses how to create strong programs for advising and mentoring students in your department. Advising refers to helping students successfully navigate the path toward their degree, identify and overcome obstacles, and select course sequences. Advising includes both prescriptive advising, in which an advisor provides advice on a student’s academic schedules and requirements, and developmental or proactive advising (formerly called “intrusive advising”), in which an advisor proactively addresses the broader needs of a student as a whole person, which must be met for that student’s success. Mentoring includes supporting students’ physics skills development, professional growth, career preparation, access to institutional resources, and psychosocial well-being. Many faculty serve as advisors; however, only some faculty serve as mentors, and those who do will need to practice more advanced skills to effectively support students. Training is available for both. This section begins with practices that all advisors should know, continues with practices that can improve advising and are critical for mentoring, and finishes with details of setting up a strong mentoring program. This section does not address mentoring of faculty, which is addressed in the section on , or mentoring of research students, which is addressed in the section on Undergraduate Research.
Advising and mentoring play a critical role in student success and happiness. Proactive and informed advising and mentoring enable a climate of support and caring that is critical to ensuring that students see themselves as competent and are prepared, successful, and happy in your program. These factors can dramatically improve outcomes for students and graduates. Advising and mentoring can improve student retention and success by providing mechanisms to learn about and address barriers to student success that span academic, interpersonal, and social interactions. Strong mentoring also supports students from marginalized groups in integrating into the academic community.
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Two National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study reports include summaries of the benefits of mentoring:
- National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM,” The National Academies Press (2019). See Chapter 6, in the section on “Mentorship Outcomes.”
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, ”Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM Students: Successes, Challenges, and Opportunities,” The National Academies Press (2017). See Chapter 5: “The Role of Mentoring.”
General resources on advising:
- V. N. Gordon, W. R. Habley, and T. J. Grites (editors), Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook, 2nd Edition, National Academic Advising Association (2008).
- NACADA: an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students working to enhance the educational development of students. NACADA provides a Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources including an overview of theories of advising and a collection of advising syllabi resource links.
- Berkeley Advising Matters: a website that provides resources at the University of California, Berkeley, many of which are general resources that are useful for supporting advisors elsewhere
- Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS): standards for academic advising programs
- E. K. Ohrt, “Proactive Advising with First-Generation Students: Suggestions for Practice,” The Mentor: Innovative Scholarship on Academic Advising 18 (2016): an overview of how to implement proactive advising
General resources on mentoring:
- Reference 1 in Evidence above provides guidelines for effective mentoring in an online format and a pdf report.
- APS National Mentoring Community Resource Library: a part of the APS National Mentoring Community providing references to a variety of mentoring practices and links to other organizations that support improved mentoring
- B. W-.L. Packard, Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students: A Research-Based Guide for Faculty and Administrators, Stylus (2015): a book that provides practical research-based advice for faculty members and individuals building mentoring programs, with an emphasis on practices that can recruit and retain underrepresented students.
Mentoring training and education programs:
- See the Undergraduate Research section Resources for a list of training programs for research mentoring, which all contain content that is also applicable to other kinds of mentoring.
- Culturally Aware Mentorship (CAM) Training: a program from the National Research Mentoring Network that supports mentors and mentees in addressing cultural diversity matters. The program includes a one-hour online module, a six-hour intensive training, and a skills survey for self-assessment.
- Peer Mentoring in STEM: training from the Canvas Network
Validated assessments of mentoring:
- M. Fleming, S. House, V. S. Hanson, L. Yu, J. Garbutt, R. McGee, K. Kroenke, Z. Abedin, and D. M. Rubio, “The Mentoring Competency Assessment,” Academic Medicine 88(7), 1002–1008 (2013): The Mentoring Competency Assessment (MCA) includes surveys for mentors and mentees to assess the skills of mentors.
- R. A. Berk, J. Berg, R. Mortimer, B. Walton-Moss, and T. P. Yeo, “Measuring the effectiveness of faculty mentoring relationships,” Academic Medicine 80(1), 66–71 (2005): The Mentorship Profile Questionnaire (MPQ) is a survey for mentees to evaluate the mentoring relationship, and the Mentorship Effectiveness Scale (MES) is a survey for mentees to evaluate the mentor.