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Mentoring Manual

Communication with your major professor

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Surviving the departure of your mentor during your program

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How to choose a mentor (and tactfully change mentors)

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Communicating with your major professor throughout the placement

Communicate with your major professor throughout the placement. Make sure that he or she is aware of the success and challenges with a student - both the work and the process of the work. Plan regular communication for example: during your weekly meeting about your own research, or a weekly e-mail summary. During the beginning of the placement, make the planned contact more frequent, such as once a day or twice a week, depending on your experience with the students. Be clear with your major professor about your mentor role: you are there to help, but your major professor is the one primarily responsible for the student’s experience.

Ask your major professor how he or she wants you to communicate about mentoring issues that arise, and get specific examples of issues that range from mild to serious. Have your major professor clearly state the circumstances in which he or she will step in. With these routines and expectations set ahead of time, the communication during the placement will be smoother and more effective.

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General guide for graduate students in getting the mentoring you want

The Rackham Graduate School at University of Michigan has published an excellent guide to finding and establishing fruitful relationships with faculty mentors: How to Get the Mentoring You Want: A Guide for Graduate Students.

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