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How To Grow Your Graduate Students: Mentoring Tips For New Professors

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Mentoring Women and Minorities

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.643.1 - 8.643.6

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Paper Authors

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Julie Jessop

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

Session 2355

How to Grow Your Graduate Students: Mentoring Tips for New Professors

Julie L. P. Jessop University of Iowa


In the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa, tenure-track assistant professors are evaluated on their “effectiveness in directing undergraduate, M.S., and Ph.D. research to completion.” This statement assumes that, along the students’ paths to degree completion, the faculty adviser has engaged them in effective mentoring relationships. Unfortunately, good mentoring skills are not innate, and the average assistant professor has had little or no training in these skills prior to accepting a tenure-track position. How then does a new professor, whose time, resources and energy are at a premium, successfully mentor their graduate students so as to cultivate productive, competent members of the scientific community? Here, mentoring tips from various resources are shared, along with personal mentoring experiences.


Taking on graduate students as a new assistant professor is akin to adopting a child. You do not have the benefit of starting at square one—the child has been molded by others before you, and you have not developed parenting skills along the way. There is one big difference of course— you cannot and should not play the parent to your graduate students (you are all adults after all). So, how do you navigate this budding relationship to help your students grow into the scientific professionals of tomorrow? The Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy has published an excellent resource on mentoring that includes a top-ten list of mentoring tips for new assistant professors:1

1. Listen patiently 2. Build a relationship 3. Don’t abuse your authority 4. Nurture self-sufficiency 5. Establish “protected time” together 6. Share yourself 7. Provide introductions 8. Be constructive 9. Don’t be overbearing 10. Find your own mentors

Each of these tips touches on an essential aspect of the mentoring relationship. This paper presents practical applications of this advice in defining expectations in the mentoring

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Jessop, J. (2003, June), How To Grow Your Graduate Students: Mentoring Tips For New Professors Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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