An advisor helps to evaluate students’ skills, talents, and performance as well as assists in the selection of coursework and other academic and training programs that will further their academic and professional development. Advisors play a central role in supporting the development of a dissertation project as well as supervising the student’s progress on the dissertation. Advisors also support a student’s career post-completion. Advisors collaborate with the graduate program’s Director of Graduate Study (DGS) to make sure that all parties are aware of relevant expectations for progress through the program.
Mentoring is an active process by which faculty establish and foster relationships with graduate students by offering guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing their competence and character. Mentors listen actively to mentee’s concerns and care about their personal and professional well-being. Mentors want to help graduate students further develop their strengths, work through challenges, achieve academic excellence, and advance professionally in career paths of the student’s choosing. Mentors act as advocates and role models for their mentees and are committed to helping graduate students meet their personal and professional goals.
While a student should always have an “official” advisor, graduate students generally benefit from having a broader network of mentors with complementary strengths. Graduate students are encouraged to build a network of mentors.