Making the Most of Mentorship as a Graduate Student (GSC Session) (Roundtable)


Pedagogy & Professional / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Dana Gavin (Old Dominion University)

Graduate students know they will have, at minimum, a chairperson for their dissertation, but the extent to which that relationship is cultivated as a mentorship, or the availability of other formal and informal mentorships, if often unknown or at best variable. Even within formal, department-directed mentorships, “[w]hile mentorship relationships can be generative and supportive of excellence, they often reflect the hierarchical boundaries of a traditional academic culture” (Dorland et al).

And yet, having a fruitful (and potentially diverse) experience with mentorship may be critical to developing as a consummate, and employable, professional (for positions outside of academia or within). Graduate students may have little control over some aspects of formal mentorships, there are many avenues over which they may have more control but are unaware of paths to choose.

This Graduate Student Caucus-sponsored round table invites participants to address the role of mentorship for graduate students. While this session is focused on graduate student issues, we eagerly welcome scholars from all demographics, including contingent and independent scholars as well as full-time faculty and graduate students, to address these topics.


Topics might include (but are not limited to):

Finding effective mentors

Navigating a challenging mentor/mentee relationship

Leveraging a mentorship in the job search

Interdisciplinary mentorship

Departmental best practices


Please submit an abstract, with a short biography of 100 words or fewer, on how you would address one of the topics above or a similar topic.


Dorland, AnneMarie et al. “Movements in mentorship: Exploring shifting boundaries and roles in a faculty-graduate student –undergraduate student mentorship micro-community.” Papers on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching: Proceedings of the University of Calgary Conference on Learning and Teaching, vol. 3, 2019, pp. 111-119.

This Graduate Student Caucus-sponsored round table invites participants to address the role of mentorship for graduate students. Having a fruitful (and potentially diverse) experience with mentorship may be critical to developing as a consummate, and employable, professional (for positions outside of academia or within), and while graduate students may have little control over some aspects of formal mentorships, there are many avenues over which they may have more control but are unaware of paths to choose.