Information for Mentors

Characteristics of a Good Mentor

A mentor should be:

  • A consummate professional, who
  • Is a role model in activities associated with being a scientist – research, collaborating, teaching, reading the literature, writing and presenting
  • Engages the mentee in level-appropriate activities, easing the mentee into the research process
  • Understands the importance of networking and helps the mentee build his or her own network
  • Models the highest ethical standards
  • Works to guide an individual toward independence and career success
  • A good listener – attentive, perceptive, unbiased, and diplomatic
  • Accessible and available – willing to get to know the mentee and keep in touch, understanding that the frequency depends on the mentee’s needs
  • Sensitive to diversity – aware of differences such as physical disability, gender, culture, or life circumstances that may require special accommodations; aware of campus and local support groups that can help the mentee; and aware of one’s own limits in dealing with diversity issues
  • A team player – receptive to the mentee’s need for other mentors
  • A character builder – providing the mentee with an honest assessment of his or her strengths and weaknesses and helping the mentee acquire the confidence and tools to function in the competitive world of science.

- Adapted from presentation by Tuajuanda Jordan, Xavier University of Louisiana