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Several students and faculty member sit at a table and discuss a blueprint


For faculty members, aligning their mentorship with specific learning objectives is critical in shaping a student’s development. The following mentoring practices are offered as ideas to help empower the student, build healthy research habits and ensure success.

Establish clear expectations

  • Articulate the goals, scope, and expectations of the research project.
  • Discuss the student's role, responsibilities and anticipated outcomes.
  • Set realistic timelines and milestones to keep the project on track.

Define learning objectives

  • Establish learning objectives that align with the student’s academic and professional goals.
  • Identify skills and knowledge areas that the student should develop through the research process.

Provide research training

  • Offer training sessions on research methodologies and tools relevant to the project.
  • Introduce the student to ethical considerations and guidelines in research.

Communicate regularly

  • Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and goals.
  • Create a supportive environment for the student to share ideas.

Encourage independent thinking

  • Foster the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Empower the student to take ownership of the project and make independent decisions.

Provide networking opportunities

  • Introduce the student to relevant professional networks and research communities.
  • Encourage participation at seminars, workshops and conferences to broaden the student's understanding of the field.

Provide constructive feedback

  • Offer feedback that will help the student develop research proposals, methodologies and findings.
  • Guide the student in refining work.

Celebrate achievements

  • Acknowledge milestones and achievements.
  • Provide a positive and motivating environment to help build the student's confidence.

Promote collaboration

  • Foster interaction with other researchers.
  • Encourage the student to engage in interdisciplinary discussions and collaborative projects.

Support professional development

  • Assist the student in preparing research presentations, posters and papers for conferences or publications.
  • Offer guidance on crafting a strong curriculum vitae and pursuing further academic or professional opportunities.

Address challenges and make adjustments

  • Provide guidance on overcoming setbacks. These are opportunities to adapt during the research process.
  • Regularly reflect on the mentoring process and be willing to adjust strategies based on the student's evolving needs.



Center for Research and Creative Discovery
Leslie G. Cecil, director