The PhD program director serves as the advisor for all students during the first three semesters, and for those students beyond the first three semesters who have not yet identified a major professor. Once confirmed, the major professor serves as the student’s advisor. The advisor meets with students regularly and offers suggestions and guidance regarding courses and research opportunities, and helps to prevent, mitigate, or resolve academic issues. The advisor also assists the student in forming the membership of their advisory committee. During the first three semesters, it is important for the students to initiate planning for their committees by seeking the advice of their advisor as well as other faculty.
The faculty member for whom the student works as a research assistant serves as the research mentor for the student in the first two years. The research mentor provides clear and focused mentorship to the students as they develop their research skills and capacity. The research mentor provides feedback, which identifies the student’s strengths and encourages performance improvement.
The teaching practicum offers students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty teaching mentor in a classroom setting. The teaching mentor, who is responsible for the course in which the practicum takes place, meets with the student regularly, help develop/plan/prepare course sessions, and provides feedback on course development (e.g., preparation of syllabus, assignments, and bibliography), assignment grading, and teaching skills and competencies.
Upon entering, students are matched with peer mentors who are upper class students. The peer mentor serves as a knowledgeable guide for new students, a thoughtful facilitator who provides access to people and resources and ultimately a role model and advocate.