Key Traits of a Faculty Mentor
- Forwardness – Students may be hesitant about approaching faculty with a feeling that they don’t know much yet or they are in fear of being dismissed. Faculty can recruit students that have an interest in the classroom, or reach out to those that don’t feel capable of seeking out to their own mentor.
- Persistence and repetition – Nothing is easy the first time…or, perhaps, even the fourth. The ongoing contacts with undergraduates during research projects allows faculty to give students the opportunity to struggle and eventually to emerge from those struggles with hard-won success..
- Emotional honesty – We all entered our career paths because of some particular motive, often hard to state rationally but still at the core of why we do the work we’ve chosen. Our being open about the joys and challenges we find our work will help our students see how they might partake of the particular pleasures of our discipline.
- Recognizing and locating alternative mentors – As students grow and become more focused in their work, they may well want to take their research into areas with which we’re less familiar or less capable of strong guidance. In this, faculty should be willing to assist in reaching out to contacts that are able to assist their student to further their research.
A publication of the Council on Undergraduate Research
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