School of
Graduate Studies

Mentoring and Advising Practices

Equal access to high-quality advising and mentoring is essential to excellence in graduate education.

The Council of Graduate Schools (2010) identified the following “Promising Practices” for mentoring and advising (p. 36):

Regularity and uniformity of progress review

  • Implement regular advisor/advisee meetings and progress reports
  • Encourage programs to set up annual student performance review systems
  • Develop “best practices” for tracking student progress in relation to the amount and type of student financial aid
  • Institute a modified report on students’ plans for the remainder of the academic year to be completed immediately upon their advancement to candidacy

Early advising

  • Require each first-year student to have an advisor or advisory structure; conduct regular evaluations of progress
  • Encourage the participation of graduate students of color and women in programs that support members of underrepresented groups in graduate education
  • Initiate a “Navigating the System” seminar program to address the theme of inclusion and diversity
  • Establish administrative structures for the early identification of, and interventions aimed at retaining students
  • Create omsbud position to support first-year students

Resources for faculty

  • Offer workshops for faculty on mentoring
  • Make such workshops part of the new faculty orientation
  • Develop materials / handbooks and online resources for faculty on mentoring
  • Offer mini-grants to help faculty develop initiatives aimed at improving the quality of mentoring
  • Recognize excellence in mentoring through faculty awards

Other mentors

  • Train peer mentors and ensure that all new students are assigned a trained peer mentor
  • Provide students with external mentors


Council of Graduate Schools. (2010). Ph.D. Completion and Attrition: Policies to Promote Student Success.

Guidelines for Effective Graduate Student-Faculty Mentorship