Principles of Mentoring

Primary Principles

  1. Students should have access to faculty (or mentoring teams) for sufficient time to allow development of personal and professional relationships.
  2. Students should be involved in programs and processes wherein scholarship and central academic activities in its several forms constitutes the core of their experiences.
  3. Students should be given the opportunity to grow in skills and increase in responsibility in the project or experience in which they are involved.
  4. Students should be taught integration of spiritual and secular understanding.
  5. Mentored experiences should be pertinent to the students' future discipline.

Supporting Principles of Mentoring

  1. Mentored experiences may involve many differing forms (study abroad, etc.) where environments are clearly learning–centered and engage BYU faculty and qualified adjunct faculty with students.
  2. Mentoring in teaching activities should extend well beyond the routine tasks associated with teaching to the development of new concepts of learning.
  3. Class projects may qualify as mentored environments where they continue and expand after the academic term.
  4. Mentoring environments may facilitate faculty development and should contribute to the university in meaningful ways.
  5. Where appropriate, students should become co-authors or co-creators of some significant work and make a public presentation of their project's results.

Description of Mentored Environment

Mentored environments in the sciences often involve a number of undergraduate and graduate students in laboratory settings. They may involve one faculty member as the primary mentor or groups of faculty members (as may be found in some inter-disciplinary centers). The environment typically brings new students into an existing group where they are taught basic skills under senior or graduate students. They participate in regular laboratory meetings and seminars and eventually assume some independent experimental work. Students generally are expected to participate in national or regional meetings and to publish their work along with the others in the group.

In other disciplines, mentored environments may be as simple as a one-on-one relationship with a faculty member where significant responsibility and opportunity are given to the students in a research or writing environment. Such relationships differ from regular employment as research assistants in the level of responsibility and independence required of the students. In other situations, students may become part of larger, continuing programs where they are assigned individual parts of the larger project and meet with their mentor(s) and fellow students to share experiences and findings. These projects often lead to published reports or journal articles.

Projects in some disciplines may involve extended preparation of groups of students through specific classes followed by travel to study sites (museums, archaeological sites, etc.). Such experiences may result in joint reports, presentations, or publications by the group.

In other cases, students in a particular discipline might practice theory and skills learned in class while in a field setting. Here several faculty members would interact with students to assist and critique the students' expressions or creations. Students may produce such things as works of art, literature, film and theater productions, business plans, and tangible products under the mentoring of faculty.

Relationship of Students and Faculty in the Mentoring Process

While the focus is on undergraduate students, we recognize that graduate students and post-graduate students participate in mentoring. Involvement of the advanced students enriches their skills and allows them to contribute to the research or project, thus benefiting themselves, the faculty, and the undergraduates. BYU encourages faculty to bring undergraduates into their professional work to help the student have an advanced educational experience and to help the faculty in their academic pursuits. The Office of Research and Creative Activities promotes this by offering Mentoring Environments Grants (MEGs) to BYU faculty. The benefits to the students that result from a mentored project include: