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Experiences Of Graduate Student Mentors Mentoring Graduate Student Instructors

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.596.1 - 9.596.13

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Paper Authors

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Timothy Hancock

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John Norton

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3555

Experiences of Graduate Student Mentors Mentoring Graduate Student Instructors

Timothy M. Hancock, John W. Norton Jr.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan


This paper describes the graduate student mentor (GSM) program at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. The GSM program is an innovative way to enhance the quality of the instruction provided by the graduate students in their paid instructional roles. Graduate students who teach, called graduate student instructors (GSIs), go through an orientation at the beginning of their first semester of instruction. The GSM program complements the orientation and training that the GSI receives by providing mentoring and support throughout each semester that the GSI teaches. This paper will elaborate on the details of the GSM program at the University of Michigan College of Engineering from a mentor’s point of view and will provide some examples of typical GSM/GSI interactions. In addition survey data from GSIs will be presented to characterize the overall effectiveness of the GSM program.

1 Introduction

The Chronicle of Higher Education has reported that many colleges are making efforts to better prepare their graduate students to teach in the classroom1. These efforts are generally focused on instructional programs which provide Ph.D. students with pedagogical knowledge2. In addition to formal training programs, it has been proposed that faculty mentoring of graduate students can be an effective way to provide graduate students with feedback about their teaching3. Although faculty mentoring can be an invaluable resource for graduate students, this can be logistically difficult to implement for all graduate students that will be teaching in the classroom or laboratory. The logistics problem of organizing faculty to formally mentor GSIs at the department or college level is circumvented at the University of Michigan College of Engineering (CoE) by providing GSIs with mentoring services from a small pool of senior graduate students that have teaching experience and are interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Graduate student instructors (GSIs) are an important component of the CoE teaching staff. There are 318 faculty, including assistant, associate and full professors, as well as 62 non-tenure track instructors. An average of 215 GSIs supplement the instructional faculty each term, along with an untold number of graders. The duties of a GSI are varied and range from leading

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Hancock, T., & Norton, J. (2004, June), Experiences Of Graduate Student Mentors Mentoring Graduate Student Instructors Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015