Students in successful bridge programs have multiple mentors that include research advisors, academic advisors, and peer mentors. Establishing a network of mentors and maintaining a regular meeting schedule with students despite a busy semester are essential to keeping students on track and to provide specific troubleshooting if problems arise.
- Establish frequent weekly meetings with faculty research mentors to discuss research progress and interactions at group meetings
- Establish biweekly or frequent meetings with faculty academic mentors to discuss current progress, upcoming exams, participation in group work sessions, etc.
- Meet regularly to build comfort level and trust for interactions that require a deeper understanding of some more personal situations or problems
- Actively solicit information from students on challenges they are facing, successes, future goals, etc.
- Encourage peer mentor relationships, including spontaneous ones that may be outside the department.
- Follow-up to ensure things are progressing well and to identify mismatches in all mentoring relationships
- Offer a professional development course or seminar, if available, to introduce students to skills they will need in the future (e.g., efficient use of the scientific literature, grant writing, communication, ethical responsibilities).
- Seat students as a cohort in graduate student office spaces to help provide a better sense of community.
- Create as wide a mentoring network as possible so that if students do not mesh well with their assigned mentor, they will have other avenues of support. Introduce students to faculty, staff, Graduate Student Council leadership, research advisors, and Bridge and peer mentors. Pair students with a senior graduate student mentor for rapid induction into the graduate student social network. Have upper level graduate students lead lab tours, and coordinate peer mentors in order to increase interactions.
- Build mentor awareness and skills by offering mentor training to faculty.