Who on campus can I go to for help if I am having serious mentoring problems?

Problems between mentors and proteges can arise for a variety of reasons, including a mismatch in expectations or perceptions of the mentoring relationship, personality or work style differences, and faulty mentor-protege matching, among other causes (Johnson and Huwe 2002). If a mentoring relationship becomes dysfunctional, Johnson and Huwe provide recommendations for faculty that can be nicely adapted for students:

  • Honestly evaluate personal contributions to a dysfunctional mentorship.
  • Consider your professional obligations as a mentee.
  • Be proactive, cordial, and clear when communicating concerns to mentors.
  • Seek consultation.
  • Document your experiences and rationale.

    As part of the above approach, students should direct concerns first and foremost to their department chair, Director of Graduate Studies, and/or a trusted faculty member in their department. If you have an issue that you do not feel comfortable addressing with faculty in your home department, consider contacting the Mentor Advisory Board with your question by going to the MentorConnect page on this site. These experienced mentors can provide guidance and advice for students across the disciplines.

    If you experience serious problems with a mentor, the University of Louisville has many offices dedicated to ensuring that all students receive a rewarding, fulfilling, and equitable educational experience. If you have serious concerns about your mentoring relationship that you want advice about, or personal concerns that affect your life or scholarship, you should first consider consulting with your department chair or Director of Graduate Studies. If you do not feel comfortable discussing your concern with faculty in your department, or if your issue is not resolved, the Graduate Deans, Dr. Beth Boehm and Dr. Paul DeMarco, act as resources and advocates for graduate students.

    If you think you are facing a serious mentoring issue that might involve a breach of university policies or guidelines, please familiarize yourself with the policies as outlines in the U of L Redbook and, if necessary, contact one of the following offices for advisement and support: