Faculty report that working with undergraduates keep them motivated to continue their own scholarly pursuits outside the classroom. Most faculty gravitate to academia because they enjoy inspiring young people. Incorporating students in your research or guiding them on their own projects can be rewarding and inspiriting to you as well.

Best Practices for Mentors

The following tips come from undergraduate students at the University of Central Florida.

Make Yourself Available

Time is the one of the most valuable assets you have; this can build comfort with the skills and material, aids in student clarity of the research, builds a trusting relationship and builds confidence. 

Be attentive

Maintain continuous communication with students through the modalities you are comfortablewith. This helps with ensuring accountability and letting students know your expectationsregarding quality of work.

Be understanding

Understand the context of the undergraduate: stresses, transitions into adulthood, time constraints and sometimes unaccommodating schedules. Many students are also very concerned about failure-ensure that your feedback in supportive and corrective but not demeaning.

Encourage Participation in the Broader Research Community

Exposing students to the larger discipline through conferences, internships, new connections, webinars and the like can open students’ eyes to options and excitement for their career.

Foster Community

Through team meetings, social outings, journal/book clubs, students can find a community on campus. They build lifelong relationship and learn how to make decisions and strategize as a team.

For other tips on mentoring schedule a department or 1:1 discussion with CURS Director.