How can I support peer mentoring initiatives in my department?

  • Establish a formal peer-mentoring program with clearly written expectations and guidelines, or
  • Encourage the student organization in your department to develop a peer-mentoring program, providing them with necessary support.
  • If you will use peer mentors as part of the recruitment process, encourage them to promote a positive image of the program and the university. Mentors should provide the assigned prospective /new student with information that will help them best learn about the program and the university.
  • Help match current students with incoming students who have common interests or might work in the same lab or office.
  • Make sure that both current students and incoming students are notified about the mentoring match and provide mentoring guidelines and resources.
    Implement the mentoring contract as you see fit. While a “contract” may seem overly official for a “peer” mentoring program, making good practices and expectations explicit can be useful for new students and also new mentors.
  • Encourage new students to consult with their peer mentors on a regular basis in order to take advantage of the mentors’ experience and understanding of how to succeed in the program.
  • Have some official meeting that brings all mentors and mentees together at the start of the fall semester.
  • Encourage mentors and their mentees to socialize in addition to discussing academic issues; for instance, encourage them to meet over coffee/lunch, etc.
  • Provide or suggest meeting places for mentors and mentees.
  • Help establish appropriate boundaries for mentors and mentees (appropriate times to call, number of times pairs are expected to meet, need for confidentiality, etc.).
  • Inform mentors about the peer mentoring workshops and resources provided by SIGS.