During the first month in the program, the student and adviser will identify an Academic Mentor, a faculty member in EARTH who is familiar with the student’s general research area. For MS students, the Academic Mentor will be one of the readers of the MS thesis. For PhD students, the Academic Mentor will be a member of the student's Qualifying Exam Committee and can become a member of the Dissertation Committee.
The adviser and mentor ensure the student's academic progress and well-being, but they have different roles. The adviser directs the student's research and is responsible for student funding. The mentor guides students more informally through graduate school, helping them to
- demystify graduate school in Year 1.
- understand the unwritten or vague aspects of departmental and Rackham's procedures and policies.
- understand academic expectations.
- identify barriers to progress.
- explore career development opportunities.
Changing the mentor – It is possible to change your academic mentor. The Academic Program Manager can help to coordinate this. If the mentor is unavailable (e.g., sabbatical, administrative, or personal leave), the Grad Chair, Academic Program Manager and advisor will help find solutions.
Planning Meeting in Year 1 – The first-year student and advisor must identify a mentor and schedule a Planning Meeting as soon as possible (ideally in the first term). This meeting should be used to review the student’s academic preparation and to develop a two-year plan for research (e.g., experiments, field work, research travel), course work, and GSI assignments until the student takes the Qualifying Exam or submits the MS thesis. This plan should be included as Section G on the IDMP Form.
We encourage that the student, academic mentor, and research advisor continue to meet at least once per semester. The meeting in the Winter semester could be coordinated with the Annual Review and the Individual Development and Mentoring Plan (IDMP).
The Department will reimburse the cost of "coffee" up to $25 if the meeting is off campus.