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Advising & Mentoring

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Academic advising by Stanford faculty is a critical component of all graduate students’ education.

The nature of advising may vary across disciplines and degrees as well as at different stages in a degree program. However, certain shared values, goals, and responsibilities apply to all advising relationships, in addition to University policies, which can be reviewed here.

Consult with your department staff and faculty if you have questions about advising; additional problem-solving resources can be found here.

Faculty also serve in mentoring roles for students and postdocs, who themselves may act as mentors to others. Explore Mentoring Resources to help you become a more effective mentor - or to seek out the mentoring you need.

Shared Values

  • Educational excellence
  • Academic and research integrity
  • Spirit of exploration and collaboration
  • Respect and care for others
  • Professionalism in all aspects of advising relationships

Shared Goals

  • Academic progress and graduation of student or appointment completion for postdoctoral scholar
  • Mastery of the subject material
  • Advancement of knowledge and skills
  • Professional development and personal growth
  • Career success and satisfaction

Shared Responsibilities

  • Uphold and abide by department, School, and University policies
  • Maintain a respectful and inclusive learning environment
  • Abide by highest professional standards
  • Foster a culture of open and honest communication and collaboration
  • Use Stanford resources appropriately
Best Practices Useful Resources
Discuss shared values, goals, and responsibilities

Guidelines for Faculty-Student Advising at Stanford (PDF): elaborates the role academic advising plays in graduate students’ development and the responsibilities of students, faculty advisors, and departments.

Advising Policies: review relevant University policies together. 
Agree on expectations

Student-Advisor Expectations Scales (PDF): facilitates discussion between students and advisors about their approach to academic advising, particularly designed for doctoral students.

Faculty Expectations Document (PDF): faculty may explicitly outline their expectations in a document that they discuss with new students and postdoctoral scholars and in some cases, amend with input from advisees, creating a “living” expectations agreement.

Advising Agreements: departments may ask faculty and students to sign an advising agreement that outlines the responsibilities of each.
Review progress regularly and discuss future plans Annual Reviews and Individual Development Plans (IDPs): many departments have processes for faculty and their advisees to discuss and document progress and plans at an annual review meeting; some department faculty also review all students’ progress at an annual meeting. Annual IDPs are required for all postdoctoral scholars and in some graduate degree programs.
Seek out guidance and training

Advising Workshops: VPGE offers workshops on effective advising relationships for students as part of our professional development programs as well as for faculty in collaboration with the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, and at the request of Schools or departments.

Help: tap into and learn from the experience  in your department and School and in the other offices that support graduate students.