Broadly defined, a mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop professionally. An effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual respect, trust, understanding, and empathy.
In its 1995 publication "A Conversation About Mentoring: Trends and Models," the Council of Graduate Schools cites Morris Zelditch's summary of a mentor's multiple roles:
"Mentors are advisors, people with career experience willing to share their knowledge; supporters, people who give emotional and moral encouragement; tutors, people who give specific feedback on one's performance; masters, in the sense of employers to whom one is apprenticed; sponsors, sources of information about and aid in obtaining opportunities; models, of identity, of the kind of person one should be to be an academic."
The intent of the Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award is to reward excellence in a wide variety of mentoring functions.
Nominees must have taught at the University of Iowa for at least 5 years and have mentored at least 3 doctoral students through completion of the Ph.D.
The following criteria are intended as general guidelines for the Award Committee.
Excellent research guidance
- Thesis or dissertation direction
- Guidance on non-thesis research
- Assistance in developing conference papers and publishable works
General assistance to graduate students
- General coursework advising
- Advocacy and conflict resolution
Impact on students individually, and as a group
- Providing opportunities for students to present their work outside of class
- Supporting student attendance at professional meetings
- Nurturing and supporting students from underrepresented groups and nontraditional students
- Organizing and participating in programs to orient new graduate students
Preparation for career decision making and advancement
- Development of professional preparation materials
- Organization of professional preparation workshops
- Individual job search advising
- Preparation of students for job interviews
- Support of student progress/development after graduation.